The Right to Public Space

A dynamic interdisciplinary exploration of the contemporary meaning of the public space.



Title Information

Edited by Barbara Hoidn

1st edition

, 2016


288 pages, 407 color and 85 b/w illustrations

21.5 x 27.5 cm

ISBN 978-3-03860-005-3

In cooperation with Akademie der Künste, Berlin, and University of Texas at Austin, School of Architecture


After nearly two decades of appropriating the Internet’s virtual public space, people are once again taking to the real public space of streets and squares to voice their opinions. Recent political movements like the Arab Spring and Occupy have led to a revaluation of public space by citizens and institutions alike. It has become a contested com­modity for different interest groups, from protesters fighting for equality to sports and music events, art shows, people watching, and commercial advertis­ing. The questions of who owns public space and how we negotiate its use are therefore at the heart of great political and public interest and debate.

Demo:Polis draws on architecture, sociology, and urban studies to offer a dynamic interdisciplinary exploration of the contemporary meaning of public space. Featuring exemplary projects—such as the High Line and Brooklyn Bridge Park in New York, Alexanderplatz and Tempelhofer Feld in Berlin, Trafalgar Square in London, the La Ventana del Mar park in Puerto Rico, and Madrid’s Campo de Cebada—as well as a range of recent, at times con­troversial, artistic and urban design in­terventions that reflect criticisms of the status quo, the book delves into various approaches to the design—and redesign—of public space. As its political, social, and cultural value rises, citizens increasingly demand to have a voice in the discussion on how to design and use public space. Innovative tools and ap­proaches facilitate these participatory processes, constituting a new dimen­sion of democratic stake holding—ur­ban design for, with, and by the public.

The book is published to coincide with an exhibition  at the Akademie der Künste Berlin in spring 2016.


With contributions by Ricky Burdett, Frauke Burgdorff, Claus-Christian Carbon, Susan Chin, Ruth Dalton, Barbara Hoidn, Christoph Hölscher, Andrew Keen, Carolina Leite, Regula Lüscher, Florian Matzner, Stefan Müller Arisona, Cordelia Polinna, Bernhard Schneider, Yuma Shinohara, Renata Stih, Michael Van Valkenburgh, Jörn Walter, Wilfried Wang, Blanca Zúñiga Alegría, and a foreword by Jeanine Meerapfel.


Demo:Polis was assigned the Julius Posener Exhibition Catalogue Award 2017 by the International Committee of Architectural Critics, CICA.


Designed by Cameron Kraus.


Deutsche Ausgabe

Authors & Editors

Ricky Burdett

Frauke Burgdorff

Claus-Christian Carbon

Susan Chin

Ruth Dalton

Barbara Hoidn

 is an architect and a principal with Hoidn Wang Partners in Berlin. She also teaches as Adjunct Associate Professor O'Neil Ford Chair in Architecture, University of Texas at Austin.

Andrew Keen

Carolina Leite

Regula Lüscher

Florian Matzner

Jeanine Meerapfel

Jeanine Meerapfel

Stefan Müller Arisona

Cordelia Polinna

Bernhard Schneider

Yuma Shinohara

Renata Stih

Michael Van Valkenburgh

Jörn Walter

Wilfried Wang

 is an architect and critic and a principal with Hoidn Wang Partners in Berlin. He also teaches as a professor of architecture at University of Texas’s School of Architecture in Austin.

Blanca Zúñiga Alegría