Urban design and public life: towards a territorological perspective

Mattias Kärrholm

Project Period: 2014-2015
Type: Senior research project
Program Area(s): Material Conditions


In studies of public life and urban design there has often been a tendency to address urban culture and use as a homogenous and general phenomena (e.g. Hillier 1996, Gehl 2010) where singular findings are made into universal truths: “doubling the amount of bench seating meant doubling the number of people seated” (Gehl and Svarre 2013:111). The main aim of this project is to develop territoriology as a discourse and methodology for investigations of urban design and public life. A territorological perspective here includes both a relational approach (distinguishing it from the more constituent approaches of, for example, Gehl 2010, Hillier 1996 and Whyte 2010) and a material approach (distinguishing it from the hegemonic and sociologically biased approaches on spatial difference, such as the discourses of segregation and
gentrification, Smith 1996, Hedin 2010). The territorologial approach will be developed in two parts. First, through a critical reading of existing discourses of urban design and use, and second, through suggestions of important key concepts and methods of this approach based both on earlier theory (see below), and empirical studies already made by the project leader during earlier years.

Researcher(s) Bio and Publications