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Research Project


Towards a New Positioning of Art in the Context of Urban Development

Since the mid-1990s, many cities and regions in Europe (above all in Great Britain and Germany) have been strongly affected by the structural changes in the post-industrial situation (shrinking of cities, regeneration of former industrial regions). At the same time large-scale new urban developments (like in the Netherlands) continued to be constructed – both situations asking new questions how to deal with a shifted identity of a place/ a situation, or, in the latter case, how to create an identity of a place.

Thus architects and urban planners found themselves confronted with new topics that the conventional method of the masterplan could no longer address – especially since being orientated towards long-term objectives and perspectives, which are difficult to predict in times of not only economic uncertainty.
Along with architects and urbanists, it is increasingly artists who took a special interest in urban issues, and the new questions and challenges involved, like creating an identity, urbanity, and public-urban space, altogether building a community. Despite great ambitions, these urban artistic practices have hardly had the desired effects on urban space and its users, in terms of a durational “positively” recognized influence on urban development, since generally, artists are mostly activated to “solve” social or spatial problems in a short term project.
PLANNING UNPLANNED  is an arts-based research project which seeks to investigate possibilities how to emancipate and integrate artistic practices as "equal urban players" in the urban planning process.  What is the “function” of art in the context of urban development processes? Could the involvement of these practices on another, durational level lead to a new role, the role of the "new urban practitioner"?

PLANNING UNPLANNED uses the special chance to test the research questions (for example, how to define “success” or “failure” of urban processes?) on site in the future Vienna “Aspern-Lake City,” the largest and most ambitious urban development project in Vienna in the  next decades, using the concept of “research through practice.” Through a partner agreement with Aspern Development AG, the installation of a 1:1 test site in Vienna-Aspern has become possible, which as an iterative process can be carried out in parallel in different formats (case studies, workshops with stakeholders and experts from art and urbanism, think tanks, etc.); the planning process can thus be related to, enabling a continual reflection and evaluation of the production of knowledge and artistic practice.
On the basis of thematically relevant, tested practices, the question of whether and how the concept and implementation of a new role can be made useful in contemporary urban planning– that of the “new urban practitioner” –, by utilizing the potential of both artist and urbanist approaches.
PLANNING UNPLANNED offers a unique and at the same time urgent opportunity, to redefine the “function” of art in the context of urban developments and to develop new methods of how similar questions of urban issues can be confronted in other cities. is part of the research program PLANNING UNPLANNED. invites (public)art projects, programs and organizations of diverse cultural and geo-political backgrounds worldwide to contribute to this new platform for locating and connecting urgent urban issues and discussing critical and innovative approaches. is collecting information and data of public art organizations, institutions, biennials, as well as projects or initiatives by individuals, dealing with urban issues, in order to create a complex and comprehensive overview from the perspective of various or combined professional backgrounds like artists, architects, urban designers, sociologists, theoreticians. 
The projects/ initiatives/ organizations will be indicated on a map and linked through search aspects making the specific local context and issues visible, creating references to similar situations internationally and their current urban practices and approaches.

For more information and Submission Form see:
PLANNING UNPLANNED is a research project which is conducted by Barbara Holub at the Institute for Art and Design/ Prof.Christine Hohenbüchler at the Faculty of Architecture/ University of Technology, Vienna

Research team:
Univ.Ass. Dipl.-Ing. Barbara Holub
Univ.Prof. Christine Hohenbüchler
Univ.Ass. Dipl.Ing. Inge Manka
Ass.Prof. Dr.phil. Karin Harather
Dipl.-Ing. Bernadette Krejs

Christine Hohenbüchler
professor; head of the Institute for Art and Design, Faculty of Architecture, University of Technology, Vienna; developing a focus on art and public space and how to acknowledge artistic practices and architectural planning as an equivalent to scientific research. artist, working in a team with Irene Hohenbüchler since 1989; focussing on social processes and transforming them into art projects. Installations and exhibitions in galleries, museums, art biennials (Venice, 1999; Periferic, Iasi, 2006), various kinds of institutions and also in public or semi public spaces since the beginning of the 1990's.

Barbara Holub
artist; studied architecture at the University of Technology, Stuttgart; founded transparadiso with Paul Rajakovics (architect and urbanist) in 1999. Since 2001 member of the editorial board of dérive_magazine for urban research, Vienna. 2005-2007 member of the Public Arts Committee of Lower Austria. 2006-2007 president of the Secession, Vienna. 2007 Otto-Wagner-Award for Urban Design (transparadiso). Since 2010 research fellow at the Institute for Art and Design, Faculty of Architecture, University of Technology, Vienna

Inge Manka
architect; partnership in manka*musil, an architecture studio based in Vienna and Graz. Since 2000 assistant professor at the Institute for Art and Design, Faculty of Architecture, University of Technology, Vienna. Since 1990 wide range of projects dealing with urban (public) space (pirate radio station, making use of temporarily empty buildings for vagrant theater productions, installations, …). Research focus and publications on public and collective aspects of sites of memory.

Karin Harather
artist, cultural theorist, family expert with four children. Associate professor at the Institute for Art and Design, Faculty of Architecture, University of Technology, Vienna. Working since 1986 in research and education using a transdisciplinary approach involving art and analysis.
1985 M.A. at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna. 1991 Ph.D. at the Academy of Applied Arts Vienna. 1996-1998 member of the Public Arts Committee of Lower Austria. Main areas of expertise: public art and interventions, everyday aesthetics, architectural clothing („HAUS-KLEIDER. Zum Phänomen der Bekleidung in der Architektur“; Wien 1995, Böhlau).

Bernadette Krejs
studied architecture at the Vienna University of Technology, Technical University Berlin and Budapest University of Technology and Economics. Master thesis 2007: „Battles for Spaces – Processes of urban transformation between late capitalistic production of space and occupation of space, Budapest“. 2009 Start up grant for Architecture and Design from the Austrian Federal Ministry for Education, Arts and Culture. Since summer 2010 research assistant at the Institute for Art and Design, Faculty of Architecture, University of Technology, Vienna for "Planning Unplanned". Project assistant in various 1:1 public space projects.