The "Stadtlabor for Multimodal Anthropology" aims at developing ‘an anthropology of/as urbanism’. It critically explores governmental, everyday, insurgent and more-than-human practices of city making. It also experiments with ethnography as a more-than-textual, multimodal practice.



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Urban Development via Public-Civic Partnerships. Forms of Cooperation, Controversies and Modelling Attempts

01/2022 – 12/2023  

In the last decade, European cities have witnessed the timid, but promising emergence of new forms of cooperation between state and civil society actors in different areas of urban infrastructural provision. In these cooperations, the involvement of civil society actors in decision-making processes and design processes goes beyond legally prescribed levels of participation. To capture this development, the terms public-civic partnership and public-commons partnership (PCP) have been suggested. In our project, we inquire into two PCPs operating in Berlin’s urban development: Haus der Statistik and Rathausblock Kreuzberg. In 2016, the Berlin Senate designated these two inner-city areas as model projects for commons-oriented, cooperative urban development. Existing buildings are to be renovated and supplemented with new buildings to create affordable space for housing, administration, commerce, and socio-cultural uses. 

Building on literature from organizational studies, science and technology studies, and cultural and social anthropology, we explore the idiosyncrasies and characteristics of these model projects. These include the ways in which their forms of collaboration point beyond participation, the productive role of controversies around central concepts, and the practices and attempts to model these projects.  We conduct research using methods of multimodal and collaborative urban ethnography. We are developing two research devices specifically tailored to the model projects under investigation: a “model project archive”, and a “Zauderbude” (dithering booth). Processing of ethnographic results will be conducted in multimodal formats. Specifically, two formats will be developed: A “Glossary of Misconceptions” and a “How-To-Guide”.

This project is funded by ZUKUNFT-BAU (Bundesministerium für Wohnen, Stadtentwicklung und Bauwesen)