Kunst- und Wissenschaftstheorie

Christina Schraml
Arts and Society, Social Design
2017W, Seminar (SE), 1.0 semester hours, course number S01613



What right? Whose right? What city? And how to exercise it collectively?

Theorizing Social Design – Reading and Discussion of Seminal Texts

Brigitte Felderer, Christina Schraml

„The right to the city is not merely a right of access to what already exists, but a right to change it.“ (David Harvey)*

In this course we will reflect on our common right to access, reclaim, use, shape and (re-)make the city and our urban surroundings. Key figures and positions in the right to the city and urban commons debate, ranging from Henri Lefebvre to contemporary voices and activists will be introduced and discussed. The input will be complemented by guests, movies and on-site visits.

*Harvey, David. (2003) “The Right to the City”, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 27 (4), 939.



I. YOUR PERSPECTIVE ON A COLLECTIVE UNDERSTANDING OF WHAT THE CITY IS  - What is (not) urban? Personal examples from your home cities.

Wednesday, 04.10.2017 // 14.00-17.30 // Social Design Studio


Lefebvre, Henri. Writings on Cities. Eleonore Kofman and Elizabeth Lebas (Eds.) Blackwell Publishers, 1996. (Read chapter 3: “Industrialization and Urbanization”, 65-86.)

Simmel, Georg. (1969) “The Metropolis and the Mental Life”, Classic Essays on the Culture of Cities, R. Sennett (Ed.), 47-60.

Wirth, Louis. (1938) “Urbanism as a Way of Life”, The American Journal of Sociology 44 (1), 1-24.

II. THE POWER OF THEORY IN SOCIAL DESIGN - Introduction to Critical Urban Theory

Wednesday, 18.10.2017 // 14.00-17.30 // Social Design Studio


Harvey, David. (2012) Rebel Cities. From the Right to the City to the Urban Revolution. Verso.

Lefebvre, Henri. (1974) The Production of Space. (Read chapter 2: Social Space, 68-169)

Marcuse, Peter. (2012) “Whose right(s) to what city”, Cities for People, Not for Profit. Critical urban theory and the right to the city. N. Brenner, P. Marcuse and M. Mayer (Eds.), 24-42.

Sassen, Saskia. (1996) “Whose City is it? Globalization and the Formation of new Claims”, Public Culture (8), 205-223.

III. PUBLIC SPACE AS BACKBONE OF DEMOCRACY – How to read it? How to claim it?

Wednesday, 25.10.2017 // 14.00-17.30 // Social Design Studio


Jacobs, Jane. (1958) “Downtown is for People”, The Exploding Metropolis. Fortune Classic.

Lynch, Kevin. (1960) The Image of the City. MIT Press

Whyte, William. (1980) The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces. The Conversation Foundation. (Read book excerpts)


Citizen Jane – Battle for the City (2017) directed by Matt Tyrnauer


Wednesday, 08.11.2017 // 14.00-17.30 // Social Design Studio


Burkhardt, Lucius. Why is Landscape Beautiful? The Science of Strollology. Ritter, Markus and Martin Schmitz (Eds.) 2015. (Read book excerpts)

Burkhardt, Lucius. Lucius Burckhardt Writings. Rethinking Man-made Environments. Politics. Landscape & Design. Fezer, Jesko and Martin Schmitz (Eds.) 2012. (Read book excerpts)

McDonough, Tom (Ed.) (2009) The Situationists and the City. Verso (Read book excerpts)

Mouffe, Chantal. “Which Public Space for Critical Artistic Practices?” (public presentation 2005)

Plant, Sadie. (1992) The Most Radical Gesture. The Situationist International in a Postmodern Age. Routledge. (Read chapter 1: “Now, the SI”, 1-38)


V. EXCURSION TO PLANQUADRAT PARK – Reality Check in Vienna’s History

Wednesday, 22.11.2017 // 14.00-17.30 // Planquadrat Park


Katrin Ecker

VI. URBAN COMMONS – the Costs of Sharing

Wednesday, 13.12.2017 // 14.00-17.30 // Social Design Studio


Kip, Markus. (2015) “Moving Beyond the City: Conceptualizing Urban Commons from a Critical Urban Studies Perspective”, Urban Commons: Moving Beyond State and Market. Dellenbaugh, Mary, Markus Kip and Majken Bieniok (Eds.) Bauwelt Fundamente (154), 42-60.

Kratzwald, Brigitte. (2015) “Urban Commons – Dissident Practices in Emancipatory Spaces”, Urban Commons: Moving Beyond State and Market. Dellenbaugh, Mary, Markus Kip and Majken Bieniok (Eds.) Bauwelt Fundamente (154), 26-42.

Schmal, Peter Cachola, Oliver Elser and Anna Scheuermann (Eds.) (2016) Making Heimat. Germany, Arrival Country. (Catalogue German Pavilion at the 15th International Architecture Exhibition 2016 – La Biennale di Venezia)

Stavros, Stavrides. (2016) Common Space: The City as Commons. Zed Books.


Bank für Gemeinwohl (tbc)

VII. GRANDE FINALE - Public Presentation of Curated Projects

Wednesday, 17.01.2018 // 10.00-17.30 // Location to be announced

Examination Modalities

  • Regular attendance, active participation, preparation of texts
  • Presentation of curated projects and contribution to the final output


A copy of texts will be provided in the first session.

Key Words

Social Design, urban theory


04 October 2017, 14:00–17:30 Social Design Studio
18 October 2017, 14:00–17:30 Social Design Studio
25 October 2017, 14:00–17:30 Social Design Studio
08 November 2017, 14:00–17:30 Social Design Studio
22 November 2017, 14:00–17:30 Planquadrat Park
13 December 2017, 14:00–17:30 Social Design Studio
17 January 2018, 10:00–13:30 Nordbahnhalle (tbc)

Course Enrolment

via email: christina.schraml@uni-ak.ac.at

Co-registration: possible

Attending individual courses: possible