Two Conferences with Workshops in Cyprus

Urban Design, Urbanism, Urban Policy – Towards a New Expertise

May 24, 2013
Home for Cooperation H4C, Nicosia UN Buffer Zone, Cyprus

Architecture and urban development have become spheres of work within an increasingly internationalized political and economic framework. The spatial design disciplines are assigned the task of developing new forms of planning able to offer the prospect of a ‘better life’ for this new spatial and power structure. This demands that planning (and architecture) be repositioned. Therefore the question arises, as to whether we will need to take new approaches in our education system. How can we combine the spheres of architecture and planning with the political and social sciences? We address this question specifically with regard to colleagues from universities in the region, who are dealing with the problems of urban transformation and post-conflict development. The aim of the conference is to establish a network and, in the longer run, a regional PhD program, supported by different universities.

The invited guests presented their existing programs and projects and contributed their ideas regarding a future PhD program on Urbanism and Urban Policy. The participants were: Kai Vöckler, HfG Offenbach University of Art and Design (moderator, opening); Petar Bojanic, Dir. Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory; PhD program Faculty of Architecture, University of Belgrade; Vladan Djokic, Dean Faculty of Architecture, University of Belgrade; Stephan Pinkau, Faculty of Architecture, University Anhalt, Dessau; Besnik Aliaj, Vice-Chancellor, POLIS University, Tirana; Sebnem Hoskara, Faculty of Architecture, Eastern Mediterranean University; Resmiye Alpar Atun, Faculty of Architecture, Eastern Mediterranean University; Socrates Stratis, Faculty of Architecture, University of Cyprus; Charis Psaltis, Department of Psychology, University of Cyprus; Stefan Ghenciulescu, Ion Mincu University of Architecture and Urbanism, Bucharest.

In cooperation with the Centre for Advanced Studies (CAS), Rijeka
Supported by ERSTE Foundation

Post-Conflict Development and Civic Imagination (Divided Cities)

May 25, 2013
Home for Cooperation H4C, Nicosia UN Buffer Zone, Cyprus

Cities are plagued by social and political problems but, often—since every city is confronted not only with such problems, but also with its own potential for future development—it nonetheless, proves possible to actively encourage the residents’ optimism, in ways that go beyond the provision of basic necessities. The pivotal meaning of the city as an agent for political and social change becomes particularly obvious in a post-conflict situation. In the cases of Mostar (Bosnia-Herzegovina), Mitrovica (Kosovo) and Nicosia (Cyprus) the bodies that come up with the idea of building a communication space, or of transforming an existing building and collective memories of its past into a neutral zone for communication are not governmental, but local organizations. Activities initiated by local civil society organizations gain great importance, since they are rooted in local society and have the capacity to start a dialogue by realizing a project. Developing community centers as meeting points and spaces for communication seems to be a very important way to begin overcoming any divisions in communities. But, as the examples show, this is not enough. Strategies should be developed in order to turn communication sites into more than just meeting places, by creating activities that, in the long run, have the potential to become part of everyday life in the entire city—activities which are themselves creating a new experience of space. This topic was intensively discussed with Kyriakos Pachoulides, Nicosia, Cyprus (H4C), President of the AHDR (Association for Historical Dialogue & Research); Valdete Idrisi, Prishtina, Kosovo, CiviKos Platform; Aferdite Syla, Mitrovica, Kosovo, Community Building Mitrovica /CBM; Tina Coric, Mostar, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Abrasevic Center; Stefan Ghenciulescu, Zeppelin Association, Bucharest, Romania; Christopher Louise, Director, United Nations Development Programme Action for Cooperation and Trust, Cyprus; , Charalambos Preicleous and Fevzi Ozersay, Kontea Cultural Heritage Foundation; Katerina Antoniou, Youth Power Cyprus; Esra Can Akbil, Giorgos Psaltis, Sebnem Hoskara Archis Interventions_Cyprus and Kai Vöckler, Archis Interventions_SEE.

In collaboration with Friedrich Ebert Foundation Cyprus
Supported by ERSTE Foundation

Organisation: Archis Interventions_SEE (Kai Vöckler)
Local organisation: Archis Interventions_Cyprus (Esra Can Akbil, Giorgos Psaltis, Sebnem Hoskara)