Hybrid Public Spaces @ German Center for Research and Innovation New York

What are the changes in public (physical and digital) spaces that will last in the post-pandemic times?

And how can we influence developments? 

Lecture & Panel Discussion Hybrid Public Spaces @ German Center for Research and Innovation, New York, 10 June 2021

Pervasive Digitalization

The crisis induced by the pandemic has quickened and fueled several diverging contradictory trends. We are witnessing an accelerating, ever more pervasive digitalization, with a plethora of functions, services, products, and experiences shifting to the virtual realm, be they commercial, professional, cultural, educational, leisurely, political, or administrative. Parallelly, social interactions are increasingly relying on, developing, and unfolding in the digital sphere, at once shaping and being shaped by the latter.

Appropriation of Urban Public Space

On the one hand, in the physical environment, we are experiencing an increasingly intensive and multifarious use of parks and green areas and appropriation of public spaces such as streets and squares by city users, for walks, bike rides, play, and socializing, as well as cultural activities. On the other hand, we are witnessing a rise in the withdrawal of the urban population towards suburban homes and living, with private gardens or in the comfort and safety of purposeful intentional communities in co-housing or co-living arrangements, possibly contributing to further spatial segregation.


Furthermore, we can expand our outreach globally, digitally drifting off to more, and more remote locations, and yet the future looks more and more locally bound and organized, with more energy and resources pouring in the revitalization of neighborhood- and city-based social, cultural, and economic ties.

Hybrid Public Spaces

As digital spaces are continuously hatching and developing spaces of social interaction, any notion of the future of public spaces must account for both digital public space and physical urban spaces, for their blurring, mutual influence, and interaction.

Accidental Fortuitous Encounters

The quality of public urban space and its potential for serendipitous encounters, enabling exchange and accidental, fortuitous contacts is something deeply crucial. It allows us to meet the other and to learn from one another, breaking through the “bubbles” and echo chambers of highly personalized, tailormade digital existences, presences, and performances of identity.

The function of public urban spaces in contrasting encroaching gentrification should not be underestimated, either – truly inclusive public spaces have the capacity to welcome people with radically different backgrounds, offering the chance to grow and cherish a sense of belonging.

Future Public Spaces

The web talk (video) addresses the following questions, amongst other issues and themes: What are the changes in public (physical and digital) spaces that will last in the post-pandemic times? And how can we influence developments?



Dr. Harriet Harriss, Dean of Pratt Institute School of Architecture
Prof. Elizabeth Sikiaridi, TH OWL, Hybrid Space Lab
Dr. Mona Sloane, NYU’s Institute for Public Knowledge

Welcome Remarks

Yasemin Pamuk, Head of Cultural Affairs and Science, German Consulate General New York
Dr. Katja Simons, Executive Director, Campus OWL New York Office


Dr. Kathrin DiPaola, Program Manager, DWIH New York

related PROJECTS


The international travelling exhibition NatureTecture presents the fields of landscape architecture in all their breadth and relevance.
The exhibition is based on landscape architectural expertise from North Rhine-Westphalia and refers to examples of landscape architecture from NRW.
NatureTecture focuses on those fields of work that will become increasingly important internationally for the design of our living environments and formulates relevant questions for the future.
The NatureTecture exhibition is dedicated to the tasks and instruments of qualifying landscape in the post-industrial age.
The international travelling exhibition on the fields of work of landscape architecture is organized by the Chamber of Architects of North Rhine-Westphalia with the support of the Ministry of Building and Transport of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia.

Concept NatureTecture @ Chamber of Architects, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, 1 September 2009
Exhibition NatureTecture @ Chamber of Architects, Düsseldorf, Germany 11 Februar -17 March 2010
Exhibition NatureTecture @ Representation of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia to the European Union, Berlin, Germany, 9 June-12 July 2010
Exhibition NatureTecture @ Chamber of Architects of Jeollabuk-Do Province (KIRA Jeonbuk), Republic of Korea, 1 September- 4 September 2010
Exhibition NatureTecture @ Building Culture Fair Daejeon 2010, Republic of Korea, 14-19 October 2010
Exhibition NatureTecture @ Architecture and Urbanism Fair Gwangju, Republic of Korea, 3-7 November 2010
Exhibition NatureTecture @ Turkish Chamber of Architects of the Metropolis of Istanbul, Turkey, 26 November-10 December 2010
Exhibition NatureTecture @ 20th Anniversary of German Reunification, Busan, Republic of Korea, 8-14 December 2010