You promised me a city

A conversation about assuming responsibilities

Judith Keller and Anne Morlock

Published in Issue 4.2 // Conversations

Keywords: Experimental urban studies, interventions, local initiative, creativity, bottom-up


You Promised Me a City—speaking with Lefebvre, it is simultaneously a cry and demand. But what city? Who made the promise? And to whom? This paper was inspired by two thought-provoking days spent in Hannover, Germany at You Promised Me a City, a conference for experimental urban development. Firstly, the conference wanted to produce tensions by bringing people from different fields, academics, practitioners, and artists together from various countries and diverse backgrounds. The goal was to turn confrontation and disagreements into a productive tension that is necessary in developing and reimagining our cities. Secondly, the conference moved away from traditional venues and embraced the cityscape of Hannover. Events such as a critical mass and public art exhibits were meant to engage the public but also have the various urbanists experience the reality of the city around them. Authors Anne and Judith participated in You Promised Me a City and want to share some of their personal experiences and insights. Their views are expanded by an interview with lead curators Ivana and Robin, which is at the heart of this article, and in which participants and organizers alike critically reflect on You Promised Me a City.

Judith Keller is a PhD Candidate at Heidelberg University, Germany. Her research interests comprise urban geographies, geographies of homes and housing, as well as geographies of inequalities. Specifically, she works with qualitative data to explore how (in)access to safe home spaces shapes the urban experience of vulnerable populations living within space-time constraints. Judith recently joined the RHJ Collective.

Anne Morlock is a Master Student of Geography at Heidelberg University. In her studies she focuses on the interdependence of the lived and build space and its transformative potential. She brings these interests together in her curatorial work for the Metropolink Festival for Urban Art.


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