Budapest 2015


Urban Imagineering and the Construction of Cool Cities

CEU Workshop

September 30 – October 1, 2015



Image is everything. The way people, companies, causes and places are presented is increasingly deemed to be a key to success. City and neighborhood branding has become an urban policy tool; culture, history, aesthetics are consciously and creatively deployed in urban redevelopment projects. Many activities and places which had been considered uninteresting and better to hide have become ‘cool’ and sell well (street food, street art, slum tourism, red-light and entertainment districts, ruin pubs, lofts).

Image is everything. Or, perhaps not?

The Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology* in cooperation with the TACT network (International Research on Art and the City) is running a one-day workshop to critically engage with the discussion of urban imagineering—the process through which professional and non-professional urban actors actively generate specific images, narratives and symbols of the city and strategically use them in redevelopment,—the role of urban imagination in the construction of ‘cool’ cities, and its relationship with politics and economy.

Organizers: Juli Székely (CEU/TACT) and Judit Bodnár (CEU) * supported by Event Fund

Wednesday, 30 September, Monument Building, Popper Room

Keynote Lecture 17.30 – 19.00 Marina Peterson (Ohio University, School of Interdisciplinary Arts): Making Skid Row Cool: Los Angeles Poverty Department’s (Failed) Skid Row Walk of Fame

Thursday, 1 October, Monument Building, Popper Room

09.30 – 09.45 Welcome

Session 1. Politics of Urban Pasts

09.45 – 10.10 Pushpa Arabindoo (UCL, London): Madras/Chennai: Split Imaginations in the Renaming of a City
10.10 – 10.35 Oleg Pachenkov (St.Petersburg): St.Petersburg Trainspotting. What Prevents “Cultural Capital” from Becoming a “Creative City”?
10.35 – 11.00 Discussion, Vlad Naumescu (CEU, Sociology/Anthropology)

11.00 – 11.15 Coffee Break

11.15 – 11.40 Ayse Erek (Yeditepe, Istanbul): The Visual Modes of Imagining the City: Istanbul and its Cityscapes
11.40 – 12.05 Oksana Zaporozhets (HHSE, Moscow): Urban Technologies and Coolness of the City. Can an Aging Subway Stay Cool?
12.05 – 12.30 Discussion, Karl Hall (CEU, History)

12.30 – 13.30 Lunch Session

Session 2. Imagineries of Urban Change

13.30 – 13.55 Ben Campkin (UCL, London): Imaginaries of Urban Decline and Renewal
13.55 – 14.20 Judit Veres (CEU, Budapest): Constructing The Whale. The Promises of a Would-be Icon.
14.20 – 14.45 Alexandra Oanca (CEU, Budapest): Resistance and Branding: Counter- and Anti-Branding Strategies and the Production of Knowledge and Expertise
14.45 – 15.15 Discussion, Daniel Monterescu (CEU, Sociology/Anthropology)

15.15 – 15.30 Coffee Break Session

Session 3. Life is Elsewhere: Wishing for New Cities in Eastern Europe

15.30 – 15.55 Mary Dellenbaugh (Berlin): The Re-Imagining of Post-Socialist Cities and Public Space from a Cross-Sectoral Perspective
15.55 – 16.20 Lilia Voron (St.Petersburg): “Bubble city”: Branding the Non-Existing
16.20 – 17.00 Discussion and Summary, Judit Bodnár (CEU, Sociology/Anthropology)