Bernd Belina

Geographer, Goethe Universität Frankfurt/Main

Bernd Belina, geographer, professor at Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany. Bernd Belina has taught and conducted research at Goethe University’s Department of Human Geography since 2008.

He gained his doctorate at the University of Bremen’s Institute of Geography and then worked at the Institute of Geography at Potsdam University and the Leibniz Institute for Regional Geography in Leipzig. His research focuses cover urban geography, political geography, and critical criminology. He has written numerous articles and publications addressing questions of space and how to regulate it. His books include Raum, Überwachung, Kontrolle (2006, 2nd edn. 2011) and Raum (2013, 2nd edn. 2018).

Lecture: Politics of Open Spaces – The Urban Dimension

Thursday, June 7, 5:15 p.m.

Urban public spaces are a site of constant negotiation and struggle, concerning not only their material design, but also and foremost their access, regulation and symbolic meanings. Urban public spaces are political all the way down. This holds true for public parks just as it does for streets, sidewalks, plazas or playgrounds as well as the spaces outside inside of busses and trains, railway stations and airports, university campuses and schoolyards. What is it that makes spaces “public”? The easy answer – open access and public ownership –, as good as it is as a first approximation, gets complicated as processes of privatization, securitization and de-politicization progress in Western democracies. Trying to characterize where we stand, the talk uses a series of recent examples from the city of Frankfurt am Main, Germany. These include racial profiling in the gentrifying railway station district, regulation of street sex-work in that same neighborhood, policing of street protests (Blockupy), lawsuits about the right to demonstrate against deportations in the airport terminals and the design and politics around the new university campus.