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CfP: Philosophy of the City Summer Colloquium 2019: “Urban Aesthetics” (Lahti & Helsinki)

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CfP: Philosophy of the City Summer Colloquium 2019: “Urban Aesthetics”

Philosophy of the City Research Group (PotC) and International Institute of Applied Aesthetics (IIAA) 

June 17–19, 2019 University of Helsinki, Finland
Locations: Lahti (17.–18.6) & Helsinki (19.6.)


Next summer, the international Philosophy of the City Research Group (PotC) joins forces with the International Institute of Applied Aesthetics (IIAA) of the University of Helsinki (FI) in organizing the 2nd PotC Summer Colloquium with the theme of “Urban Aesthetics”. The aim of the annual Summer Colloquia series is to bring together scholars within a specific domain of Philosophy of the City.
Urbanization is one of the key phenomena and challenges of the 21st century. Over half of the world’s population already live in urban areas and the proportion is likely to reach 70% of the population by 2050. How cities look and feel, is thus neither a simple nor an irrelevant issue. The underlying central theme of the colloquium is to outline what the term aesthetic means or could mean in relation to urban environments and lifeforms. One way to approach the question is through focusing on a city’s recognizable features, monuments, architectural character or even its brand identity. The other main strand concerns understanding the dialectical relationship of socio-economic, biological, and psycho-sexual components and the aesthetic and cultural conditions of the everyday lived experience of a city. A wide variety of phenomena, objects and activities relating to urban environments can thus be addressed through the lens of aesthetics.

A philosophical approach to urban aesthetics is part of a wider attempt to recognize topics with aesthetic relevance outside the traditional areas of philosophical aesthetics. It also aims to define conceptually many of the already existing practices of designing, maintaining, developing and using urban environments. Urban aesthetics thus not only concerns philosophy in the strictest sense but is a way of bringing together conceptual thinking and practices that deal with aesthetic values in contemporary cities.
This international and interdisciplinary colloquium welcomes contributions, e.g. from the fields of philosophy, architectural theory, literary studies, urban studies, sustainability studies and planning theory. The event draws attention to contemporary cities and urban environments as a vibrant and rich area of study from the perspective of philosophical and applied aesthetics.
To ensure an intense and in-depth discussion, we will accept a maximum of 20 papers. PhD candidates are encouraged to submit. Draft papers will be circulated one month ahead of the Colloquium. Each paper will be presented and discussed in a 60-minute time slot (30 minutes for presentation, 10 minutes for a formal response, and 20 minutes of discussion). Each participant will be asked to comment on one paper. A selection of papers will be published in the Special Volume on “Urban Aesthetics” (ed. Sanna Lehtinen) in Contemporary Aesthetics in Spring 2020.

Keynote speakers
• Even Smith Wergeland (Oslo School of Architecture and Design)
• Arto Haapala (University of Helsinki)
• Saara Vauramo (City of Lahti)

Possible topics
– Sense of place
– The urban sublime
– Philosophy of architecture/urban planning
– Philosophy of urban art
– Aesthetics of urban mobility
– Aesthetics of urban technologies
– Aesthetics of urban/public space
– Aesthetics of the urban everyday life
– Urban atmospheres
– Aesthetic approaches to urban sustainability
– Aesthetics of human relations in cities
– Urban utopias/dystopias
– The ethical relevance of urban aesthetics

February 15, 2019 Deadline for the submission of abstracts
March 15, 2019 Notification of authors, opening of registration April 15, 2019 Closing of registration May 15, 2019 Circulation of draft papers among participants
June 17–19, 2019 The Summer Colloquium in Lahti & Helsinki
October 15, 2019 Submission of papers to the “Urban Aesthetics” Special Volume in Contemporary Aesthetics Journal
Spring 2020 Publication of the Special Volume

Submission of abstracts
Send abstract (350 words, prepared for anonymous review) via EasyChair https://easychair.org/conferences/?conf=potcsc2019 by 15th February.
Questions to: Dr. Sanna Lehtinen, sanna.t.lehtinen@helsinki.fi
All abstracts will be reviewed by at least one member of the executive committee and one member of the programme committee.

The Symposium will take place in 2 different locations:
– Mon 17– Tue 18 June at the Scandic Hotel Lahti (https://www.scandichotels.com/hotels/finland/lahti/scandic-lahti ) in the city of Lahti (50 min. by train from Helsinki)
– Wed 19 June at the University of Helsinki City Centre Campus (https://www.helsinki.fi/en/city-centre-campus) in central Helsinki.

Travel and accommodation
Helsinki Airport has train and bus connections to the city of Lahti every hour. The train journey takes approximately one hour.
Rooms at the Scandic Hotel, Lahti, have been reserved for the participants and can be booked via email, once the registration has been opened. Price 99€ 1 person, 117€ 2 persons.
There are plenty of accommodation choices in central Helsinki: no specific conference hotel is reserved.

Conference fee
The conference fee of 200€ (150€ for PhD students) includes lunch and coffee and the evening reception on Mon 17 June. Opportunities for joint dinners will be provided, but dinner costs are not included in the conference fee.

Executive Committee
Sanna Lehtinen (Univ. of Helsinki), Michael Nagenborg (PotC; Univ. of Twente), and Jules Simon (PotC; Univ. of Texas at El Paso)
Programme Committee
Shane Epting (PotC, Univ. of Nevada, Las Vegas), Ronald Sundstrom (PotC, Univ. of San Francisco), Vesa Vihanninjoki (Univ. of Helsinki) & Executive Committee
Conference chair: Dr. Sanna Lehtinen
Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science HELSUS
University of Helsinki