Modern high capacity infrastructure creates accidental space along its periphery, and in the shadow of its own spatial configuration respectively. It is kind of a shadow city that emerges from the peripheral space along motorways, train tracks, elevated highways, pipelines, cable tracks – urban space free from explicit definition and intentional design. In the very places where car parks, rubbish collection facilities, vacant lots due to setback requirements are evolving, the city dissipates its own realm to an unaccounted extent. This “waste” is rarely given a proper name or address: Under the bridges. At the car park. Along the train tracks. In the rear of the stadium. Next to the sewage plant. Descriptions of space that work just about anywhere and that could hardly be more unspecific.

Therefore dealing with infrastructural spaces in an urban context always has to involve dealing with their perimeters as well. Infrastructures, with the political-technical aim of supplying energy, resources, access and mobility to a certain space, do not structure it evenly, but create spaces of centrality and subsequently spaces that have a more lateral character. If the margins of these political-technically conceived space configurations are permeable and accessible – hence they allow a public acquisition of the commodities or services the infrastructural space is supplying – they generate public spaces and active spaces in between the infrastructural component and its environment.
The invariably increasing demand for infrastructural capacity and the therewith necessary increased efficiency of infrastructure resulted in the multiplication of its dimensions, the depletion of junctions and the shutting down of its perimeters. Designing these impermeable marginal spaces between infrastructure and city, and respectively landscape, requires plenty more ideas and conceptual thinking, especially in the prospect of a continuing increase in the density of the mobility infrastructure – a challenge that, particularly in the experimental field, design-orientated universities should raise to more emphatically.

The examination of these spaces in the scope of a symposium is not aimed at finding a recipe for the beautification of these infrastructural margins, but rather at developing their potential as public spaces, which carry an aesthetic expression of their own. It is exactly along these margins where public space can unfold its neglected potential as a space of heterogeneity, because public space is a spatial conception, a phantasmagoria, regardless of its functioning as urban public space or public space defined by landscape. It is capable of an ‘in-between’ state, of tolerating a clash and it provides contemporary urbanism a presence as a fragile state of superimposition. The ambiguity of public space between the poles of mobility and locality, and its disability to allocate itself to one or the other, and as well its disability to achieve reconciliation or compensation among the two poles and to escape the ‘in-between’ state, makes it an archetype for the phantasmagorial view of the ‘urban’ city.


Infrastruktururbanismus was a Symposium held on the 04th and 05th of February 2010 at the Technische Universität München, Institute for Urban Design, Urbanism and Landscape.

Based on a peer review of more than 100 abstracts, the scientific organizers selected an exceptional group of academics and practitioners from around the world to present papers in Munich.



In 2011 the book "Infrastructural Urbanism. Addressing the In-between" was published by DOM publishers Berlin which is conceptually based on the symposium.

Architecture and public spaces are well, if not prestigious accepted components of the urban realm, but what about technical infrastructure? Although the interdependence between infrastructure and urban development has been a central topic in urban planning, infrastructure as a design element plays a comparatively subordinate role.

The book discusses spatial design implications of technical and transport infrastructure. The authors introduce projects of various scales, from skate parks to urban motorways, located in many different cities such as Mexico City, New York, London, Paris, Zurich, Seattle, Barcelona, Stockholm, São Paulo, Antwerp, amongst others. They demonstrate that infrastructure generates its own category of urban territory.


Infrastructural Urbanism
Addressing the In-between

Thomas Hauck/Regine Keller/Volker Kleinekort (Hg.)

DOM publishers, Berlin, 2011
210 x 230 mm, 336 pages, Softcover
Isbn. 978-3-86922-131-1
EUR 28,00

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