Platform for City Culture and Public Debate


Public Space

With the city of Brussels as point of departure, Belgian philosopher and art historian Lieven de Cauter gives a lecture on the current state of urban public space. Central in his talk is the transformation of this space: from a homogeneous ‘sanctuary’ for exchange and encounter, and a pillar of democratic society, towards a more controlled and commercialised space. In conversation with Dutch sociologist Willem Schinkel, De Cauter discusses what these developments mean for the use and meaning of public space, in Rotterdam and elsewhere. To what extent can we still speak of a free public domain? And what is the importance of such a notion?


Lieven de Cauter

Lieven De Cauter (1959) is philosopher, writer and poet. He teaches Philosophy of Culture at the Faculty of Architecture of the KU Leuven, Luca and RITS School of Arts and is the author of various books on contemporary art, modernity, architecture, the city, and politics.

Willem Schinkel

Willem Schinkel is Professor of Social Theory at Erasmus University Rotterdam. He was visiting scholar at NYU (New York), the Institute for Public Knowledge (NYU), and Humboldt University Berlin. He publishes on a wide range of subjects, including social theory, social philosophy and the sociology of art.

Sereh Mandias

Sereh Mandias studied Architecture at the TU Delft and Philosophy at the Erasmus University Rotterdam. In her work she oscillates between theory and praxis, with a specific interest in the creation of the contemporary city. She works as an independent writer and researcher, is the founder of architecture podcast Windoog, editor of Journal for Architecture OASE and teaches at the Chair of Interiors Buildings Cities (Faculty of Architecture and the built Environment, TU Delft) and the Rotterdam Academy of Architecture.

Thijs Barendse

Thijs Barendse is an independent programme-maker and the director of De Dépendance. He worked for three years at De Unie, the former venue for debate and dialogue in Rotterdam. Since 2012 he also works as chief-editor of the monthly Rotterdam Late Night talkshow, as secretary of the Pierre Bayle Prize for Art Criticism, and as a board member of WORM, Institute for Avantgardistic Recreation.