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Public Spaces, Urban Cultures and Spatial Practices in Multicultural Contexts – Nadia Charalambous, University of Cyprus

By on October 5, 2016
Lecturer - profile

Nadia Charalambous

Assistant Professor of Architecture

Main affiliation
University of Cyprus



European Union



Nadia Charalambous trained as an architect and has been working as an academic and researcher at the University of Cyprus since 2008. She studied Architecture at the Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London, University of London where she received her BSc. in Architecture and Environmental Studies, M.Sc. in Advanced Architectural Studies and the Diploma in Architecture. She subsequently completed her Ph.D. studies at the National Technical University in Athens, NTUA. Underpinning all research and professional activities is a continuous interest in the complex relationship between urban form and social phenomena, both in the education and in the practice of architecture. Recent research work investigates the relationship between urban form, segregation and inequalities through time, in the light of current fast and unpredictable changes in our built environment, in both residential and public space. The impact of such changes as well as considerable challenges on architectural education are also explored.

English Proficiency

Previous experience of recording video lectures

Experience of lecturing to large audiences

Experience of lecturing to large audiences

Frequency of lectures
Very often

Recording opportunities
Habitat III attendance and availability

Recording preference – not Habitat III
Record via own video team

Details of video team
UCY’s specialized team for recording lectures.


Main themes
Social Inclusion
Planning and Design

“Public Spaces, Urban Cultures and Spatial Practices in Multicultural Contexts”

“Public Spaces, Urban Cultures and Spatial Practices in Multicultural Contexts” aims at addressing public spaces in different world regions and their cities as key catalysts in the process of accommodating diverse urban cultures and values and inclusively meeting basic human rights and needs.

Issues which the lecture addresses
Public spaces in cities play an important role in urban experience, being the meeting spaces of cultures, politics, social and individual trajectories. Rapid societal, climatic, technological and economic changes among others, during the past decades also entail a respective transformation of public space, where the public life of the different groups inhabiting contemporary cities unfolds. An understanding of the role public spaces are expected to play in the continuous and fast transformation of cities, as well as the impact of these transformations on the nature of public space as a shared resource is needed. This lecture therefore addresses a number of important issues such as, is public space accessible to all and shared or is urban segregation evident? Are cultural differences and social inequalities spatially manifested? Who are the current public space actors involved in public place making in contemporary cities? How can actors from various fields intervene in improving the state of public spaces in terms of accessibility and inclusiveness in the current environment?

Short analysis of the above issues
-Equal accessibility to public space becomes a key issue. Empirical evidence from a number of case studies which will be presented suggests that urban form does play a vital role in the difference in spatial advantages or disadvantages each place affords. This suggestion opens for a more purposeful and active urban design practice as a complement and support to other interventions within anti-segregation initiatives.
– An understanding of urban segregation and use of public space by different ethnic and social groups requires a more nuanced approach that enriches our understanding that society leaves traces on its surroundings and that those surroundings have in turn an influence on how society is structured.

Propositions for addressing the issue
-setting a conceptual framework on public space as a shared resource,
-an understanding of urban segregation in public space as having a physical, a temporal as well as a social meaning and as such it needs to be considered with an interdisciplinary intent as a multi- scalar and multi-dimensional phenomenon that takes place in space and time,
-spatial form needs to be understood as a contributing factor in forming the patterns of integration and segregation in public spaces in cities.

Detailed analysis of the relationship between the spatial, social and temporal advantages of public spaces where activities, uses and users are ‘blurred’ will potentially enrich our understanding of the nature of public space as a shared resource.

Additional Reading Materials
– Gehl, J. (2010), Cities for People, Island Press.
– Hall, S. (2012) City, Street and Citizen: The measure of the ordinary, Routledge.
– Madanipour, A.(ed) (2009) Whose Public Space?: International Case Studies in Urban Design and Development, Routledge.
-Madanipour, A., Knierbein. S., Degros, A. (ed) (2013) Public Space and the Challenges of Urban Transformation in Europe, Routledge.
-Pullan, W. and Baillie, B. (eds) (2013) Locating Urban Conflicts: Ethnicity, Nationalism and the Everyday, Palgrave Macmillan.
-Tonkiss, F. (2013) Cities by Design: The Social Life of Urban Form, Polity Press.