Relational Space / Relational Urbanism

Doctoral Summer School ETHZ/EPFL
June 11th – 15th, 2018
Lausanne, Switzerland

I organized this summer school, and obtained financing from the ETH Board along with my co-organizers: Thibault Romany of LAZUR and Eirini Kasioumi of ETHZ  Institut für Städtebau.

We were excited to welcome influential keynote speakers like Eduardo Rico, Ekim Tam, Jacques Levy and Alexandre Alahi. We worked with the participating students to develop diagrams of methodological and epistemological concerns central to their doctoral research projects.

EPFL/ETHZ’s summer school Relational Space/ Relational Urbanism empowers young researchers in urbanism and the sciences of the city to explore the spatial dimension of the social. The summer school revolves around the premise that urban complexity requires the deployment of new tools of assembling knowledge and new ways of translating knowledge into action; and that a relational understanding of space can profoundly change both.

Participants will be exposed to new epistemic movements (big data, bottom-up social theory) and state-of-the-art practices in urban planning and design. Working in trans-disciplinary teams, and benefitting from the guidance of our distinguished keynote speakers, they will refine the conceptual framework of their individual research projects and sharpen the relevance of their research questions.

The overarching theme: relational space

The guiding concept of the summer school is the notion of relational space– the complex space of interaction between human and non-human actors that characterizes today’s hyper-dense, hyper-connected urban landscape. How can we measure and map the increasingly intricate webs of interaction in our cities? How does the idea of relational space change our methods of studying and designing the city?