Professorship for Open Space Development and Society

Professorship for Open Space Development and Society

Terms such as social transformation, climate change, biodiversity crisis and transformation of our mobility sector have become part of our everyday language. At the same time, these issues are key drivers of planning. The guiding principles that have been effective for decades are being called into question which gives us the unique opportunity to rethink the city: as a communicative, green, and livable place for all where space is distributed fairly.   

The Professorship for Open Space Development and Society is concerned with urban open space development at various scales. We equip students with the theoretical foundations and design skills required for creating harmonious, dynamic and adaptable public spaces that integrate new concepts of urban nature. In this context, current issues such as climate change are included as the basic layer of our actions.  Our students are challenged to think critically, to be aware of the socio-spatial context of the design task, and to consider the political significance of landscape architecture.

Special attention is paid to the socio-cultural aspects of open space design and the social performance of urban open spaces: their suitability for everyday use, the needs of different user groups, the relationship between design and use, and participation processes. This is closely related to the search for contemporary aesthetics and a reflection on the message that the constructed environment sends out to people from different social backgrounds. Another aspect of central interest is how collective memories can be framed and brought to life through design.

Our research focuses on urban open space development in the context of social change. It has a social science and interdisciplinary orientation. Impact research is used to evaluate the long-term success of open space designs and to test the viability of the concepts and models behind them. As part of our cooperation in the interdisciplinary DFG network “Wirkungsforschung in Architektur und Städtebau: Interdisziplinäre Theorien und Methoden“ we are able to elaborate on the theoretical basics. A newly published book explores aspects of perception, participation, appropriation, and design of cultural diversity in urban open space and landscape.

Constanze Petrow
Prof. Dr. Constanze Petrow
Building 6701
Room 112
Phone +49 6722 502 750
Constanze.Petrow(at) Details


Creating vibrant public spaces (Sechseläuten Square, Zurich) © Constanze A. Petrow
Designing efficient open spaces for residential areas (Bruni-Kreisky-Park, Vienna) © Constanze A. Petrow
Building inclusive spaces, promoting ethnic-cultural diversity (Square Élisa-Mercœur, Nantes) © Constanze A. Petrow
Transforming remnants of the industrial era (High Line Park, New York) © Constanze A. Petrow
Turning graveyards into peaceful spaces for recreation (Assistens Kirkegard, Kopenhagen) © Constanze A. Petrow
Shaping transitions in urban mobility, reclaiming urban spaces (along the river Seine, Paris) © Constanze A. Petrow
Questioning governance structures (Bryant Park, New York) © Constanze A. Petrow
Providing space, facilitating participation (Tempelhof Airfield, Berlin) © Constanze A. Petrow