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City Link Symposium: Congress

HafenCity Universität Hamburg (HCU) Überseeallee 16, 20457 Hamburg, Germany

cities, culture & sustainability (registration necessary)

Friday, September 12 th 2014 in Hamburg, Germany
Entrance fee EUR 5,- (including lunch)
Location: HafenCity Universität Hamburg (HCU)
Überseeallee 16, 20457 Hamburg, Germany

Take the subway U4 to station “HafenCity Universität” and follow the signs. Further information and registration: city-link.org

Cities are urban. Cities are full of cultural controversies. Urbanity and cultural innovations emerge from everyday practices, lifestyles and the creativity of urban dwellers. To be sustainable, cultural and urban policies must take this into account. Current policies like the “Growing City” or the “Creative City” are not sustainable. They reduce the understanding of cities to investment locations and the meaning of culture to a location factor. Instead of strengthening the producers of culture and urbanity, these types of policies promote their exploitation.

Although the funding of the “creative and cultural economy” places its tenable focus on the producers of culture, its primary goal is to enhance economic efficiency. As a result these funding strategies rarely have an impact on social and ecologic levels. Indeed, their applications risks straining urban society by supporting the processes of gentrification, which in turn paves the way for the emergence of new elites. To deal with urgent challenges like demographic transformation, the post-Fordist world of work and the consequences of the snowballing climate disaster, policies are needed that strengthen social coherence. Many grass-roots initiatives have emerged around the globe to address these issues by implementing sustainable practices within the scope of individual projects. Within the framework of the City Link Symposium “Cities, Culture & Sustainability” we will present such projects from Hamburg and Copenhagen and will discuss questions like:

How can cultural and urban policies work together to strengthen urban societies? How can they contribute to making our cities more sustainable? How can they help to unfold the creativity of urban dwellers in general? What can we learn from urban communities and self-organised initiatives that evolve within the turbulent context of social changes? How can we foster such groups and where can we find space for more sustainable projects in our cities?

Dr. Heike Derwanz
(HafenCity Universität Hamburg)

Heike Derwanz is a cultural anthropologist coordinating the Low Budget Urbanity research network at HafenCity University in Hamburg. After studying in Bremen/Germany and Siena/Italy she wrote her PhD about street artists and their careers on the art and design market.
program of the day

10:00 – 10:30 Registration

10:30 – 10:45 Opening Words
Michael Ziehl (urban upcycling & Gängeviertel, Hamburg)
& Jesper Koefoed-Melson (givrum.nu, Copenhagen)

Jesper Koefoed-Melson initiated the City Link network 2012 as partner in the organization Givrum.nu. He is a cultural developer working to make cities more democratic. By engaging the civil society, NGO’s and the authorities in participatory processes of co-creation, he enables people to undertake their own projects in empty buildings and public spaces. Jesper is Master of Educational Studies and Performance Design from Roskilde University and has a diploma in Arts and Cultural Governance from the Danish Development Center for Performing Arts. www.givrum.nu

Michael Ziehl developed the concept of City Link Congress for “Cities, Culture & Sustainability”. He holds a Master of Science in the field of urban planning and is a graduate engineer in the field of Architecture. He operates independently under the name Urban Upcycling – Agency for Urban Ressources. His work focusses on the user-driven redevelopment and temporary use of urban spaces. He is the chairman of the supervisory board of the Gängeviertel Genossenschaft 2010 eG (Gängeviertel Cooperative). He co-founded leerstandsmelder.de and is co-editor and co-author of the book “second hand spaces—Recycling Sites undergoing Urban Transformation.” www.urban-upcycling.de


10:45 – 11:30 Keynote Sharon Zukin
Professor of Sociology (Brooklyn College and Graduate Center, City University of New York)

“Inequalities and Dependencies of the
Creative Ecosystem: A View From New York”

Sharon Zukin is professor of sociology at Brooklyn College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. Among her books are “Loft Living: Capital and Culture in Urban Change” (3rd edition, 2014), “Landscapes of Power: From Detroit to Disney World” (1991, winner of the C. Wright Mills Award), “The Cultures of Cities” (1995), “Point of Purchase: How Shopping Changed American Culture” (2004), and “Naked City: The Death and Life of Authentic Urban Places” (2010, winner of the Jane Jacobs Award for Urban Communication). She has received the Robert and Helen Lynd Award for career achievement in urban sociology from the Section on Community and Urban Sociology of the American Sociological Association.

I city and culture

11:30 – 12:15 Dr. Sacha Kagan (Leuphana University, Lüneburg)
“The Emergence of Creative Sustainable Cities”

Since 2005, Sacha Kagan has been a research associate at the Leuphana University Lueneburg, ISCO (Institute of Sociology and Cultural Organization). His main research and action area is the transdisciplinary field of arts and (un-)sustainability. He is a founding member of Cultura21 e.V. and founding coordinator of Cultura21 International. In 2010 he was the main organizer of the workshop “Sustainable Creative Cities: The Role of the Arts in the Globalized Urban Context” at ASEF (Asia Europe Foundation)’s 4th “Connecting Civil Societies Conference” in preparation for the ASEM8 Summit. www.sachakagan.wordpress.com

12:15 – 13:00 Dr. Oleg Koefoed (Cultura21, Copenhagen)

“Cultural Interventions in Cities:
Resilience in Connections of Policy and Micro-Innovation”

Oleg Koefoed works as an action-philosopher who is based in Copenhagen and runs Cultura21 Nordic (Nordic branch of Cultura21 International network). He develops new methods for connecting cultural practices with issues of sustainability, such as urban change, gentrification, strategies for cities and links between
implementation of policies and street-level practices of sustainable urban innovation. He has co-developed Social U, a method for the development of social and sustainable innovation, which is currently being used to teach, advise, and inspire individuals and organizations. He regularly assists the Nordic Council of Ministers in developing strategies for culture and sustainability and has recently edited the 2014 – 2020 strategy. He is part of Cultura21 International’s core group and collaborates with organizations, municipalities, networks and institutions for higher education in Denmark and around the world. He is father of 4 and lives on the island of Amager. 

13:00 – 14:00 Lunch

II self-organisation & sustainability

14:00 – 14:45 Levente Polyak (wonderland platform for european architecture, Vienna / KÉK – Hungarian Contemporary Architecture Centre, Budapest) 

“From Design to Mediation: Emerging Urban Practices in the Contemporary City”

Levente Polyák is an urban planner and researcher. He studied architecture, urbanism, sociology and art theory in Budapest and Paris, and worked on urban regeneration projects for the New York, Paris, Rome, Vienna and Budapest municipalities. A founding member of the Hungarian Contemporary Architecture Centre and board member of Wonderland Platform for European Architecture, he has been a lecturer at the MoME and BUTE (Budapest) and TU Wien, and currently is a PhD candidate at the Central European University. He was visiting fellow at Columbia University in New York City at OrangeLabs and the École d’Architecture Paris-Malaquais in Paris. Currently, he has been working on Lakatlan, a research program examining policies and methods of temporary use and revitalization of abandoned urban properties. It is specialized in urban regeneration, cultural development, community participation, local economic development and social innovation, with a main focus on building development scenarios on existing resources. His recent projects are published at

14:45 – 15:30 Elke Krasny
(Academy of Fine Arts Vienna)

“Growing the Seeds of Change. Counteracting Austerity and Precarity”

Elke Krasny is curator, urban researcher and writer as well as Senior Lecturer at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna and City of Vienna Visiting Professor at the Vienna University of Technology (2014). Exhibitions: “Hands-On Urbanism 1850-2012. The Right to Green” at the Architecture Centre Vienna and the 2012 Venice Biennale, “Mapping the Everyday. Neighborhood Claims for the Future” at the Audain Gallery Vancouver (2011-2012), “CityTelling Hongkong” (2011). Books: “Women’s: Museum. Curatorial Politics in Feminism, Education, History, and Art” (2013), “Stadt und Frauen. Eine andere Topographie von Wien” (2008). www.elkekrasny.at

15:30 – 16:00 Coffee Break

III best practice

16:00 – 16:45 Christine Ebeling & Hannah Kowalski (Gängeviertel, Hamburg)

“Gängeviertel, Hamburg: Collective Production of an Alternative Urban Space”

Christine Ebeling graduated as sculptor and designer at the Arts and Crafts School (Werkkunstschule) in Flensburg. In 1993 she opened her first studio and metal workshop in Hamburg. Since then she has developed concepts and managed culturally used spaces like galleries and artists houses. She became the chairwoman of different associations of artist groups, managed events, curated and organized exhibitions, festivals and exchanges. She has taken part in exhibitions across Europe and in Asia. In 2009 she was one of the
initiating members of the group that appropriated the Gängeviertel and continues to manage public relations,
negotiation, curating, organisation and coordination. From 2010 to 2014 she was the chairwoman of
Gängeviertel e.V. and 2010 she started the art project “Kulturschutzgebiet” (culture protection area) as a type of protection for important cultural spaces.

Hannah Kowalski holds a diploma in political sciences and studied stage direction and dramaturgy at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater Hamburg. During her years of study she worked as a performer, dramaturg and theater teacher. Furthermore, she implemented performances and theater projects – among others at the Forschungstheater (research theater) Hamburg and the geheimagentur (performer collective). Since 2009 she is involved in the Gängeviertel in the fields of networking and management. 2012 she started her Ph.D. in the graduate program “Versammlung und Teilhabe” (Assemblies and Participation) at the HafenCity Universität Hamburg.

16:45 – 17:30 Steen Andersen (PB43, Copenhagen)

PB43, Copenhagen: “Small Scale with Big Potential”“

Steen Andersen is the co-editor and author of “The City Becomes: An Urban Handbook” (2012), “The Fixroom that got wheels: A story of dignity” (2012), “Garage Culture. Heroes Wanted” (2012), “Urban Garden Culture. Heroes Wanted” (2013) and “Developing Architecture. Learing From Sierra Leone” (2013). He is the daily coordinator of the culture and entrepreneurial environment at Prague Boulevard 43 (PB43) in
Copenhagen, and the co-initiator of PB43 Publishing, Culture Hall Bygn.5, The Project Office and the award-winning Prague’s Garden (Prags Have). He is trained in urban geography, organizational and
developmental psychology, international marketing and also studied philosophy and film in London as well as computer art at Aarhus School of Art. www.pb43.dk

17:30 – 18:00 Coffee

panel discussion & finale

18:00 – 18:45 Panel Discussion with

Dr. Sacha Kagan (Leuphana University, Lüneburg)
Elke Krasny (Academy of Fine Arts Vienna)
Dr. Oleg Koefoed (Cultura21, Copenhagen)
Christine Ebeling (Gängeviertel, Hamburg)

18:45 – 19:00 Closing Words
Michael Ziehl (urban upcycling & Gängeviertel, Hamburg)
& Jesper Koefoed-Melson (givrum.nu, Copenhagen)

19:00 End