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Department of Spatial Planning

Photography as a means of approaching space and place

A scene in Marzahn, Berlin © Liudmila Slivinskaya​/​TU Dortmund University

In October, our PhD student and research assistant Liudmila Slivinskaya presented a paper at the DOCONF2023 conference. The accompanying publication has now been published as part of the conference proceedings. The full paper, entitled "Using photography to approach space and place in mass housing estates", was presented in the thematic session "Mass Housing Neighbourhoods". The paper discusses a photography-based method for interviewing residents of mass housing estates. The method aims to investigate how residents conceptualise spatial environments and create meaningful places in this housing typology. The method is based on a performative approach to place and a conceptual analogy between the spatial extent of place and the photographic frame. The method serves to structure a conversation with the residents and to support their narratives about their perception of places. The method is intended for in-depth qualitative research and is of interest to human geography, social and urban research, urban design and other planning fields concerned with the human perspective on the urban environment.

Liudmila's contribution was written as part of her dissertation project on Marzahn, a large housing estate of the 1970s with over 100,000 inhabitants in the eastern part of Berlin. The work presented is thus part of Liudmila's current research on the role of spatial configuration in the perception of places and her focus on the residential typology of large housing estates. DOCONF2023 is the 5th International Doctoral and Postdoctoral Conference in Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Urbanism and Planning organised by the Department of Urban Planning and Design of the Faculty of Architecture of the Budapest University of Technology and Economics (BME). It took place on 6 and 7 October in Budapest, Hungary, and was aimed at researchers working in the context of post-socialist cities in Central and Eastern Europe and post-Soviet Asia. The conference addresses topics such as mass residential neighbourhoods, post-socialist transformations of public space, industrial sites, and leisure landscapes as well as post-socialist cultural heritage and monument protection.

Slivinskaya, L. (2023): Using photography to approach space and place in mass housing estates. In Proceedings of the 5th International Doctoral−Postdoctoral Conference DOCONF2023: Facing post-socialist urban heritage. Budapest, Hungary: BME Department of Urban Planning and Design, 338–349.