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The City and the Political II

Organizing Committee:


The City and the Political is an ongoing open class and research group at The Public School, Berlin, that invites anyone to join in discussions between theories and spatial practices of "the city" and "the political."

The city is home to modern man. This class begins at the scale of the city in order to open up all levels of discourse on spatial production. What is space? What is public vs. private space? What is democratic vs. controlled (neoliberal) space? How should architects, urbanists, politicians, developers create space? How should the people take back space?

The political hints to a wide range of concepts regarding man's relation to one another, institutional formations, and potentially radical acts of protest. The spatial production of our cities cannot be divorced from a serious theoretical understanding of our contemporary politics, as representative democracy, the social movements within our cities, and strategies of radical political emancipation.

The first rendition of this class consisted of fruitful, but perhaps distracted, conversations wherein architects and philosophers disagreed about definitions, strategies, and pedagogy. The second rendition of the class hopes to more rigorously define the terms within the texts, so as to come to some group understanding of definitions, and only then to unpack, critique, and mobilize the concepts towards new concepts or spatial practices.

The readings will be announced weekly. An open bibliography is listed below. If you're interested to become more involved in the facilitation of the course, please let us know. We also hope to move beyond conversation by developing a research group that can organize events or develop textual and digital output to articulate positions and further discussion on the city and the political.


1. Henri Lefebvre, "The Right to the City," Writings on Cities, page 147-159. Found here:

2. Samuel Mockbee, "The Rural Studio," 1998,

3. Jacques Ranciére, "Ten Theses on Politics." 

4. ... 

5. ... (we're open to suggestions)


Additional bibliography can be found on our blog:



hi christian, i didn't know about the facts you posted - it makes a difference; it's also sad, that we don't have the opportunity to have a room in the 'off-week' - that really limits our possibilities...

next monday is bank holiday, i won't be in town...
monday/tuesday, both fine for me, if necessary we could doodle?'s picture

i am pro-tuesday.

tracey, maybe you haven't noticed that the class is biweekly. the field trip in the off-week is open to everybody to organize. we clarified that in the class. i don't know if you have been present when we did that. and we don't have the altes finanzamt space in the off-week. so suggestions including video should as well include a possibility to see them.

by the way, i liked our first meeting on spreeufer without an "expert" pretty much. and maybe i shouldn't have tried to recap briefly what was suggested but never found its way to the TPS-site.

Hello all,

I would also love to view that exhibition with the group, and pre-18.00 is a little tight for me too. I have just written them an email to see if its possible for us to make a group visit next monday (28.5), at the usual time (20.00).

In terms of tomorrow, I cannot be there, but would gladly switch to tuesday if people are interested?

It would be good to catch up on thoughts of the last class, and plan our activity for the next. The weather will be good all week, so preferably outdoors somewhere! We could do mini-presentations / some reading of "The Ghosts of Berlin" at a fitting location (Palast Der Republik) too...

Hi Tracey,

These are totally fair points. I saw your proposal but was out of town until yesterday, and made the suggestion based on the thinking that to watch videos together we would have to get an ok from the altes finanzamt and a projector.

This is all a bit last moment, so in the absence of a massive burst of enthusiasm and organizational magic, this week may have to be skipped.

hey, i did post a proposal (17th of may)... i think doing a field trip and having no 'expert' isn't that interesting and organizing on a sunday is too late (especially if people organizing the class say 'sorry we won't be there tomorrow but you should meet anyway').
and the time issue: some people (me too) have to work till 6 and can't before 8.
i don't have any other ideas for tomorrow right now; if, i'll post them

The model for the future of the city is on display at the Senatsverwaltung für Stadtentwicklung which is at:

Am Köllnischen Park 3
UBahn/SBahn: Jannowitzbrucke

You can actually have a look online as well, but it's much more impressive in the exhibition space as the models are huge. Apart from the contemporary plan, there is also another model from the DDR from around 1980.

The website has a lot of information more generally, including a new section about the Berlin IBA

The space is open until 18.00 so if we were going o visit we'd need to meet at 17.00 I guess. Unfortunately I'm not informed about the background to the masterplan, perhaps Robert or someone else can help on that score?

If this sounds interesting we could also drop over to the site of the former Palast der Republik afterwards, as it's just a couple of minutes walk away.

hey citypeople, are there any suggestions for meeting tomorrow? will and i won't make it due to a first print run for some papers. but you should meet anyway. one idea was to visit the place of former "palast der republik". allan suggested to see two large urban models of berlin close by. where exactly would this be? is there anybody who could give a little input. it could as well be something like a chapter from "the ghosts of berlin" that was recommended earlier..

please feel free to (help) organize these meetings via the TPS platform. if there are no suggestions there will be no meeting. this would be a pity.

have a nice sunny sunday!

referring to the mouffe-text we could (instead of doing a field trip) watch clips on critical/political art practices and discuss them. everyone could bring material with 5 to 10 minutes length maybe?
here's a great overview on political activities (in german) by CCC:

Same guy is doing a talk also tomorrow at the Autonomous University (what is that?!)

Peter Marcuse: Occupy and Right to the City Presentation and discussion with Peter Marcuse, son of Herbert Marcuse and Professor of Urban Planning at Columbia University, about the Occupy movement, the Right to the City, and urban politics. Event Date: Sunday, May 13, 2012 - 19:00 - 21:00



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