Session 14

C4 Mapping the Socio-Spatial Transformation of Public Space

Cities as places are defined by the physical (i.e. urban form) and philosophical (i.e. imagination and representation) relationships between people and place. Exploring the transformation of urban places tends to describe and understand the continuous, complex and contested processes and dynamics manifesting in cities, as well as how these dynamics alter urban functions, local needs and interactions between cities and their surroundings.
Considering the city as a palimpsest suggests an image or text that has been erased many times over time and something new has been imprinted on it. The palimpsest piles up different layers of life. New meanings appear over and over again on previous meanings, distorting or erasing them, cutting and adding to them. Trouk (2011) describes the concept of palimpsest and accumulation in relation to the city, with the concept of ‘urban palimpsest’. In such an interpretation, when we look at the changes in the public arena of the city, as an arena of conflict between different social groups, we are facing a complex palimpsest in which, over time, different groups have each tried to engrave their meanings on its previous layers; Meanings that sometimes conflict with each other. On the other hand, exploring the changes of place over time connects with the notion of ‘history’ and how we approach studying the history of urban places. This session, considering the public space as a social construct, is inspired by Foucault’s view of history. Emphasizing the methodological contribution, this session aims to spark new conversations across the field of public space studies. With this intention, the session mainly addresses a methodological problem. Papers are invited to contribute to general issues of socio-spatial research methodologies, including qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods. Papers are invited on topics related, but not limited, to: genealogy and archeology of place; material and non-material traces of urban changes in public spaces; power, resistance and the politics public space; narratives, memory, and counter-histories; cartography and memory mapping.