Dwelling in times of crisis: reimagining the urban in the climate emergency

Paola Perrin de Brichambaut
Dwelling in times of crisis: reimagining the urban in the climate emergency

Block seminar, English, 2 SWS, 2 ECTS
4 sessions on Wednesdays, 16-19h: 3.5., 17.5., 24.5., 7.6.2023, Grunewaldstr. 2-5, room 311
1 weekend block, 10-17h each day: 17.6./18.6.2023, Grunewaldstr. 2-5, room 311

Registration on Moodle starts on the 17th of April / Anmeldung auf Moodle beginnt am 17.4.2023: https://moodle.udk-berlin.de/moodle/course/view.php?id=1876
Moodle Enrollment Key / Einschreibeschlüssel: transformation

Our current framing of dwelling is not fit for purpose. It reflects habits, values, and systems that are destructive of ecosystems and oppressive of persons and other living beings. The climate crisis is forcing us to adapt, expand, and question our understanding of the habitable. Cities across the globe, particularly in the so-called “Global South”, will face a range of interwoven challenges beckoning a reexamination of urban environments and their spatial politics.

This seminar series will be an interdisciplinary examination of the spatial politics of cities  and will aim to experimentally articulate new approaches to urban dwelling. The seminar will be based on critical engagement with theory, art works, and performance pieces. We will be focusing on discussions and questions around public space and the “right to the city”. We will then reflect on the implications of these theories/realities in light of the climate crisis, taking the case study of the city of Berlin. To do so, we will critically engage with the ways in which prevalent epistemic framings of the climate crisis are interwoven with extractivist and colonial histories and presents. We will seek to expand this framing through often excluded forms of knowledge, including indigenous, anticolonial, queer and feminist perspectives.

Building on this critical engagement with structures and discourses of power in cities, a block seminar weekend will open the space to creatively explore the ways in which cities could respond to and overcome climate-related challenges in just and inclusive ways. The reconceptualisation of urban dwelling holds radical potential - finding new ways to approach and articulate dwelling can help catalyse the transformation of how we choose to live and to organise our societies. This experimental part of the seminar will take place in various public spaces in Berlin.

Requirements for the ungraded Studium Generale credits: The students will be expected to participate in each seminar and to have done the preparatory readings. During the block seminar weekend, students will be left creative freedom in the format they wish to explore the seminar’s themes with (urban ethnography, manifesto, drawing…).

Paola Perrin de Brichambaut is a research associate at the Berlin University of the Arts. She holds a master’s degree in Social Anthropology from the University of Cambridge where her research examined the impact of urban policy on the human and cultural rights of a market community in London. In her role at the Berlin University of the Arts she is conducting transdisciplinary research within the framework of the Einstein Center Climate Change and Public Policy of Human Settlements (ECCC) preparation module (2022-2023). She is involved in the development of co-design methods to support the consultation of non-academic actors in climate-related transformations in Berlin and Brandenburg.