Traditional approaches to understand space tend to view public space mainly as a shell or container, focussing on its morphological structures and functional uses. That way, its ever-changing meanings, contested or challenged uses have been largely ignored, as well as the contextual and on-going dynamics between social actors, their cultures, and struggles. The key role of space in enabling spatial opportunities for social action, the fluidity of its social meaning and the changing degree of "publicness" of a space remain unexplored fields of academic inquiry and professional practice.

Public Space and Relational Perspectives offers a different understanding of public spaces in the city. The aim of the book is to (re)introduce the lived experiences in public life into the teaching curricula of those academic disciplines which deal with public space and the built environment, such as architecture, planning and urban design, as well as the social sciences.

The book presents conceptual, practical and research challenges and brings together findings from activists, practitioners and theorists. The editors provide eight educational challenges that educators can endorse when training future practitioners and researchers to accept and to engage with the social relations that unfold in and through public space.


Cover image: KARO*

part 1|51 pages

Conceptual challenges

chapter 2|25 pages

The relational ontology of public space and action-oriented pedagogy in action

Dilemmas of professional ethics and social justice

chapter 3|22 pages

Public space as relational counter space

Scholarly minefield or epistemological opportunity?

part 3|75 pages

Research challenges

chapter 7|23 pages

Public spaces, experience and conflict

The cases of Helsinki and Tallinn

chapter 9|16 pages

From classrooms to learning landscapes

New socio-spatial imaginaries of learning and learning spaces

chapter 10|13 pages

Educational challenges