Sigrid Verhovsek

Sigrid Verhovsek (2012), City: Relation(s) of Architecture and Politics at the Scene of Graz, Institute of Urbanism; 1st reviewer: Grigor Doytchinov, 2nd reviewer: Anselm Wagner; 297 pages, German.

Politics as an entity of institutions, processes, practices and ideologies defines our life’s framework, regulates social aspects and controls the government as superior community. Different aspects of architecture, the signification (function and intention), the space (geographical as well as cultural) and the shape (material and architectural style) may feature strong political references, either separately or jointly, which by no means run unidirectional: Architecture as an element and carrying matter of collective memories forms identity, ways of thinking and current cultural norms. The space created through architecture reflects on social contacts and people’s daily routines. The hence resulting conflicts as well as personal needs possibly ask for binding political regulations across society, which in turn might influence architecture in various ways. A biased examination, considering one side of the circuit only shortens complex procedures within the controversial fields of architecture and politics to a one-dimensional fragment. Through the given concentration of architecture and politics especially in the urban space, several overlappings of these relations occur. These are being analyzed by using the city of Graz as the scene. Mirrored in the normative regulatory systems of law, policies, building regulations and spatial planning, in decisions about locations as well as terms of subsidy and last but not least within the structure of the intermediary governmental and civil societal institutions of architecture and politics the ever changing needs of society show, so to speak filtered by the hegemonic political culture. Ideological visions and fracture lines connect with architecture and thus form an image of the city and its society.

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