Learning from in-between territories: In search of expanding the practices of architecture

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Type and Duration

PhD-Thesis, since September 2017


Institute of Architecture and Planning

Main Research

Sustainable Planning and Construction

Field of Research

Architectural Design Theory


The reign of generic individualism in today's globalized environment has led to repetitive urban and architectural design based on transience rather than lasting impressions, resulting in what Marc Augé has described as "non-places". Despite the ephemerality and sense of dispersion that results from globalization, the human need for belonging and identification strongly remains and raises the following question: how can we situate ourselves in an everyday urban environment, that is characterized by continuous change and temporary commitments, the rise of mass-produced, and standardized "non-places"? The research project aims at finding answers to this question by way of an empirical study. The study explores alternative approaches to the reigning style of generic individualism and draws attention towards more situated design practices growing out of the interaction between the inhabitants and their surroundings. The project adopts qualitative empirical research methods in form of interviews and ethnographic research in order to gain a deep understanding of already existing practices that succeed to "de-generify" the present day global city. The purpose of this study is to explore deeper and more innovative modes of engagement with the surrounding urban environment and to consider the idea of a shared local community. The research will result in a portfolio of relevant practices and outline a theoretical foundation for future research in the field of architectural design.


non-place, generic city, sense of place, heterotopic space, community