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and Policies/Practices

The anthropological analysis of policies and practices of publicness requires a multidimensional framing of the two Swiss housing complexes not only as a built structure but rather as a system, that is dynamic and performative, a system that is connected to local everyday experiences and narratives of people. Our analysis focuses on the conditions and material structures that are (re-)produced in the planning and management on site. But it also evaluates the prevailing discourses and regulations going along with power relations as well as the imaginations, transformations and appropriations of space in everyday life, that have the (subversive) potential to provide other meanings and visions than the ruling order suggests. This sheds light on the multidimensional spatial and social everyday production of publicness on site: on practices of participation, integration and civic involvement as well as on areas of conflict.


Publicness and Policies/Practices at Telli/Tscharnergut

Switzerland’s postwar welfare society built large scale housing estates in urban environments to mitigate the population growth and increased immigration both from rural areas to the cities, and from outside Switzerland. Owned and managed by municipalities, housing cooperatives and private investors (e.g. pension funds, insurance companies), these housing estates provided affordable and comfortable homes for workers families and the new (lower) middle-class, who started to earn regular and better salaries due to economic growth in these decades. Until today they represent a large share of Swiss cities’ affordable apartments and house residents with heterogeneous social backgrounds. Calling on an anthropology of policy in order to tease out publicness of spaces in large-scale housing estates means looking at how the ways of living together on site are produced, performed and negotiated as processes of governance and power. In the PUSH project our analytical lens anchors in an understanding that policies and practices form place and space over time in a dynamic and performative manner. Policies in this sense are seen as instruments that create or consolidate social, semantic and physical spaces. They structure action by connecting people, institutions and concepts into specific relationships. Vice versa, policies are being transformed, consolidated or questioned through the practices of different actors. As we are interested in “Publicness and Policies & Practices at Telli and Tscharnergut” we focus on how “people make sense of things, i.e. what policy means to them” (Shore, Wright et al. 2011). In what way does the diverse actors’ frame of reference affect their everyday lives, how do different people engage with different policies and what do they make of it? How have these policies evolved over time and which practices engage with them? From our theoretical positioning, we use the idea of publicness not as a designated “container”- public space, but rather as a situational spatial setting within the context of site-specific policies and practices, may they be formal or rather informal. Hence, publicness emerges where the interplay of policies and practices shapes space in Telli and Tscharnergut. These policies can manifest themselves at a formal national and city level, at the property/estate level, at the level of house rules, but also at the less formal level of unwritten policies in management and social work practices. Employing methods such as document analysis, expert and resident interviews, and media analysis, we filtered out which policies related to housing and neighborhood life have been at play in Tscharnergut, Bern and Telli, Aarau since the initial planning. In the context of increased economic and population growth and migration to cities during the years 1960s–1970s in Switzerland, social welfare has been further developed – highly influencing the creation of the policies at stake in the housing estates. On this basis, we have identified six policies relevant for the analysis of Telli and Tscharnergut. All of them have an impact on the social and the spatial dimension on site. These policies a re aimed at promoting:

1) social mix
2) family orientation
3) neighborhood participation
4) affordable housing
5) community building and
6) heritage preservation

Each of the policies is connected to local practices and narratives embedded in the multiple shared and collective spaces of the housing estates. We are “reading” these spaces in Telli and Tscharnergut through the lens of policies and practices to explore the tangible and intangible sites of publicness. By doing this, we aim to reflect upon the interdependency of built and lived space over the course of time and the changing meanings and relevancies of what is considered ’public space’. Our exhibition contribution is structured as follows: The identified policies apply to both Swiss cases and are described in a cross-case introduction. For each policy, the practices that engage with it and create sites of publicness in this interplay will only be addressed in depth on a case-specific basis, either for Telli or Tscharnergut.


Glaser, Marie (2013): Gemeinschaftsidee im Grossformat- Wohnüberbauung Grünau, in: Glaser, Marie (2013) Vom guten Wohnen. Vier Zürcher Hausbiografien von 1915 bis zur Gegenwart, Niggli, 184-207.

Pero, Davide (2011): Migrants’ Practices of Citizenship and Policy Change, in: Shore, Wright et al.(ed.), Policy Worlds. Anthropology and the Analysis of Contemporary Power, New York, p. 244-263.

Shore, Chris; Wright, Susan; Pero, Davide (Ed.) (2011): Policy Worlds. Anthropology and the Analysis of Contemporary Power, New York, 1-25.


Publicness Policies/

Practices at Fjell

At Fjell, we approach policies and practices in three overlapping strands: 1) how institutional policies affect planning practices that shape space, 2) how local policies and rules affect how people behave and their agency to represent their interests in
space, 3) resident practices that follow or break with norms and local rules. These strands are investigated in Fjell through the role of framework agreements in the planning system steering the estate’s renewal, the cooperative housing ownership
model, and suburban, modernist housing estate planning. We see a two-way relationship between policy and publicness. Regulative and normative framework conditions work together to affect material and psychological accessibility – what
people physically can and want to do at different physical sites. Simultaneously, what people do – resident practices and exercises of agency, or lack thereof – build norms that affect further local behaviors and potentials for publicness.In many cases, these conditions may reduce the potentials for publicness by narrowing the public at a specific site (to smaller and less-diverse groups) and reducing the possibilities for frequent uses, encounters, and interactions (through limited opening hours, space available, or motivation to use and engage with the sites).

Research Team:
Lillin Cathrine Knudtzon, Melissa Murphy, Inger-Lise Saglie, and Beata Sirowy, Department of Regional and Urban Planning, Faculty of Landscape and Society, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Norway.


Publicness Policies/

Practices at at Farum Midtpunkt

This contribution examines Farum Midtpunkt’s sites of publicness following two different tracks; First, we present some of the most significant urban and housing policies that have affected Farum Midtpukt over time. We ask how these plans have
affected Farum Midtpunkt and its relationship with the city and how people have acted in relation to these policies, formally and informally. This relationship between policies and spatial practices at Farum Midtpunkt cannot be reduced to a mere opposition between top-down and bottom-up. Rather, policies and people’s practices engage in
complex relationships, where for example, during the 1970s the residents of the then new neighbourhood became a strong voice in the local city council and acted as policy-makers in the municipality. The second track begins on the ground and examines
specific sites where practices and policies make way for particular ways of sharing spaces.
A special characteristic for Farum Midtpunkt is that there is a large number and extent of community spaces. These are used by a broad variety of different interest-groups who have grained the right to use these spaces through formal policies and regulations
by the tenant board and the municipality. Such uses can also have occurred because specific groups have simply been occupying particular space over time until it became habitual and accepted.

We have chosen three sites where such interest groups meet:
1: Clubs and hubs at the Main Street
2: Collaboration and exchange close to home
3: Community and garden at former school grounds
We ask what policies and practices, and what spatial structures have made the specialized uses of these sites possible. And what happens between them – i.e. how is different group’s and individual’s uses of space mediated spatially and what situations of negotiation and exchange are going on?

Research Team:
Bettina Lamm, Svava Riesto and Nevruz Cinar .zdil, Section for Landscape Architecture and Planning, Faculty of Science, University of Copenhagen, Denmark

Lotto O

Building memories in Lotto O as everyday life politics

In a fully planned neighbourhood such as Lotto O several unplanned outcomes and behaviours are noticeable. Material objects – public facilities, fences, street furniture and their combinations – are affected by processes of ruination in which the action of atmospheric agents coupled with institutional withdraw. Yet, practices of coexistence with the materiality of these ruining objects developed over time among the inhabitants. People interventions to both slow down ruination and give ruins a new life is the focus of our contribution to the exhibition, documenting how inhabitants build collective memories as a means to contrast abandonment and decay, to fight negative stigma attached to ruins through multiple and sometimes temporary socio-spatial configurations. In this perspective, building memories is a mindful practice charged

with a positive tension we termed as everyday life politics.

We understand ruination as a relational process combining both human and non human factors, in which perceptions, actions and joined efforts may change over time and eventually result in building a sense of community and place. Building collective

memories from ruins in Lotto O is a process based on different types of daily practices. We explored three kinds of process of local production of memories and how they are linked to different sites/places, based on a larger number of everyday practices.

• Material ruination as a spiralling-down process

• Reinventing ruins to build places of trust

• Building memories out of care and recognition

The exploration was conducted as a collective endeavour. Researchers and students in planning, architecture and design interacted with members of local NGOs and inhabitants, taking part in a twomonth workshop (as a PuSH trans-curricular internship

programme developed at DiARC) whose aim was to contribute to build part of the local collective memory while researching.

Research Team:

Laura Lieto, Maria Cerreta, Marilena Prisco and Maria Reitano.

Students: laria Bergamasco, Claudia Giordano, Carmela Napolitano,

Ramona Russo and Serena Scarano, Department of Architecture,

University of Naples Federico II, Italy

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