Public Space: the Real and the Ideal

August 3, 2020 - August 5, 2020
International Society for the Philosophy of Architecture

Monte Verita
Locarno
Switzerland

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The 5th Biennial Conference of the International Society for the Philosophy of Architecture examines public space and its architecture in a rapidly changing societal, political, and technological context. Issues that might be tackled include (but are not limited to):

  • Public space and the collective ideal. Is the collective ideal that lies behind the social, humanistic and democratic perspective still relevant in such a context? How was this ideal realized in the past? Is it still accommodated by public spaces, or is there a need to look for other structures, spaces, spheres in society that can cater collectivity and serve social and political movements?
  • Public space and privatization. When cities, buildings and transportation turn into personalized services, what would be the ‘service’ of public space, and what does this mean for the planning, design and ordering of these spaces? How can public spaces embody collective ideals in a time of privatization and personalization? What are the implications of such developments for the relationship between public and private space, public and private interests, publicness and privacy?
  • Public space and participation. How can inhabitants and users be involved in the development of public spaces, alongside designers, planners, politicians, investors, and developers?
  • Public space and commodification. What does the commodification of public spaces in the economic competition of cities around the globe mean for their social and political role?
  • Public space and technological innovation. How do public spaces and their use change due to self- driving cars, Virtual Reality Applications or smartphones? What is the relevance of concrete public spaces facing the increasing impact of virtual public sphere of social media? How might the effect of the built environment on us change in the era of the internet of things, and what does this mean for the commonality of the world?

Philosophers, architectural theorists, architects, urban planners, urban designers and landscape architects and others are invited to consider such questions about public space, or re-draw the assumptions behind them. Theoretical analyses as well as case studies are welcome. Contributors are encouraged to give equal consideration to philosophical analysis and concrete structures of the built environment.

The conference will be held at Monte Verità, a former utopian-like hub of alternative cooperative life and now site for numerous formidable architectural works, standing in the beautiful landscape between the Alps and Lago Maggiore in the Swiss canton of Ticino.

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