How (do) we live together?

Migration has become more and more enmeshed with the future of many urban areas, and increasingly so in Europe, where cities and metropolitan regions persist as the main sites of arrival and passage for migrants. Contemporary representations of migration, for the most part negative, have precipitated struggles over space and rights for migrants. However, cities have been shown to play a crucial role in contesting global and national asylum and migration policies, as showcased by several projects and initiatives emerging since 2015. These local processes have been supported by urban practitioners who have also sought to reconsider the complicity of the disciplines of architecture and planning and
the role they can play in extending solidarity. In this light, the doctoral research enquires into ‘spaces of migration’ as spaces that favour more inclusive settings. These stand in contrast to urban planning and design approaches that contribute to and enhance processes of social marginalisation and spatial segregation as typical strategies in contemporary cities. Such practices are confronted with the refusal of migrants and others to conform to official rules governing the use of space, challenging mainstream urban development. Building on the concept of “acts of citizenship” (Isin 2009) the research questions how migrants actually engage in city-making and the extent of their contributions to an “everyday or ordinary cosmopolitanism” (Agier 2016) in the urban realm. These interrogations take place in the context of formal urban regeneration programs within ‘migrant quarters’ in the pre-2015 period in Berlin and Johannesburg, and in the peripheral areas of Berlin after 2015, including refugee camps. It therefore
looks at migrants’ spatial practices as a means also to contribute to discussions around ‘urban citizenship’ based on actual participation in the conception, construction, and management of the city. The importance of the role of urban space is emphasised throughout the text as a stage for the enactment of ‘everyday acts of citizenship’ and in potentially making space for pluralism and post-migratory societies, and which can be enhanced, supported and empowered through design-led practices of urban solidarity.