Nadia Charalambous
Sabine Knierbein


Over the past few decades, cities around the world radically and rapidly changed as regards scale, scope and complexity. This is mainly due to the increasing mobility of people, goods and information as a result of technological developments, liberalization of economic systems, economic fluctuations, wars, and climate change. These changes challenge the processes of production of built environment and create conflicts and contestations between different urban groups, who have contradicted claims on the decisions and processes influencing urban transformation.
Such situation brought the discussions on just/unjust urban transformation processes in urban research, policy and public debates. It raised questions on privileging the interests of affluent urban groups, while disadvantaging vulnerable communities. We see public space as central in these debates, as possible facilitator of a more just process of urban transformation. Public space is able to embrace different political, economic and cultural manifestations of urban groups, which allow them to voice their rights on the city. Public space can also submit encounters and interactions between different urban actors and perform as a place of negotiation between them. Public space is potentially able to promote fair allocations of wealth, resources, benefits and opportunities. Also, public space pedagogy helps us to reframe methods of understanding (un)just urban morphologies in urban research, planning and architectural theory as well as praxis. This special issue will thus focus on the question how urban (in)justices can be mapped, and which challenges and opportunities may arise from different approaches to mapping. Intercontextuality as well as intersectional research which combines an analysis of different forms of injustices (such as racial, social, religious, national, ethnic, etc.) will be discussed, alongside more practical and case-study based mapping experiences.
Different views on public space can provide us with ways of thinking to develop planning and design strategies, policy measures, civil initiatives, and social movements to oppose processes of unjust urban transformation. Yet, in the context of a rapid-shifting economic, political and social reality, it is more and more urgent for critical re-thinking of public space as facilitator of urban justice.


How to Cite
Charalambous, N. and Knierbein, S. (2023) “Mapping Urban Injustices in Public Space: Challenges and Opportunities”, The Journal of Public Space, 8(3), pp. 1–6. doi: 10.32891/jps.v6i3.1609.
Author Biographies

Nadia Charalambous, University of Cyprus

Nadia Charalambous is an Associate Professor at the Department of Architecture at UCY and Director of the Society and Urban Form (SURF) research lab. She studied Architecture at the Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London, University of London (BSc. in Architecture and Environmental Studies, M.Sc. in Advanced Architectural Studies, Diploma in Architecture) and completed her Ph.D. studies at the National Technical University in Athens. Research interests aim to address the inherently complex relationship between spatial configuration and social phenomena, both methodologically and theoretically. Past and planned research focuses on addressing issues of evidence-based urban design, urban inclusion and accessibility to public space, through a participatory framework and the ways the above are channelled to and inform architectural pedagogy. She is the Project Coordinator of the Erasmus + KA2 project, “EPUM; Emerging Perspective on Urban Morphology: Researching and Learning through Multiple Practices”, 2017-2020, of the Erasmus+, “Knowledge Alliances for Evidence-Based Urban Practices Project”, 2021-2023, of the Horizon Europe "Twinning Towards Research Excellence in Evidence-Based Urban Planning and Design", 2023-2026 and of the Erasmus+ KA2 project “Education in Living Labs: Participatory Skills for sustainable Urban Governance”, 2023-2026.

Sabine Knierbein, TU Wien

Sabine is an Associate Professor for Urban Culture and Public Space at the Faculty of Architecture and Planning,  TU Wien in Austria since 2016. Between 2008 and 2018 the centre was rooted as an Arbeitsbereich of the Department of Spatial Planning (E280.A1), while it operates within the Future.Lab of the Faculty for Architecture and Planning since 2019 (E285-02). As head of the Interdisciplinary Centre for Urban Culture and Public Space, and supported by an engaged team, Sabine realizes further activities such as academic networking, acquiring third party funding and publishing, editing and reviewing scientific publications and projects on an international scale. In spring 2020, Knierbein was appointed Visiting Professor for Urban Political Geography at the Social Geography Lab (LAGeS, www.lages.eu) at the Department of History, Archeology, Geography, Arts and Performance (SAGAS) of the University of Florence in Italy, where she has been affiliated as a guest researcher in 2021.  2022 she will be a guest research at Hafen City Universität in Hamburg. Based on her habilitation treatise entitled “Critique of Everyday Life in the 21st Century. Lived Space and Capitalist Urbanization”, Sabine obtained her venia in “Urban Studies ⁄ Internationale Urbanistik”.