Bus stops, city toilets, benches, trash cans, infoboards ...

Urban furniture combined with outdoor advertising has determined the public space of metropolises for more than 30 years. The project ‘Hacking Urban Furniture’ explores the history, present and future of urban furniture in collaboration with artists, urban explorers, administrators, politicians, activists and researchers, exploring the potential of spatial public service Design in the city.

Kick-off Conference // 7 - 8 April 2017 ›


Hacking Urban Furniture explores the evolutionary history, present and future of urban furniture. In regularly published essays, urban researchers, architects, artists and citizens examine the legal, historical, political, cultural and social parameters of urban furniture and question paradigms by looking at perspectives from Brazil, India, Egypt and North America.

Mary Dellenbaugh

The physical and social normative properties of street furniture

Public space, in particular in cities, is an important backdrop for gatherings and everyday social life. The organization of public space and the objects in it, most notably street furniture such as benches, bus stop shelters, advertising pollards, and public restrooms, determine which uses are possible or allowed and help to create and confirm norms about how we should move through and use space and which persons or groups are welcome there. In this essay, two aspects of street furniture’s norming function will be discussed: its provision by various entities (public authorities, private...

Joanne Pouzenc

JCDecaux, Public-Private Space

When in 1964, the young entrepreneur Jean-Claude Decaux invented the “Street Furniture”, he couldn’t foresee the immense success of his company 50 years later. Present in every continent, in the...

Laura Sobral

Co-created Street Furniture as a Catalyst for Urban Culture and Public Life

In São Paulo Brazil, as in many cities throughout Latin America, public open spaces have for decades been neglected. Public open spaces in these environments are generally unattractive, dirty and...


Learning Reconfigured: Challenging and Negotiating Urban Perceptions

Streets in contemporary Indian cities are a confluence of formal and informal flows of human endeavour, with the informal moulding and wrapping itself around the “official” with varying degrees of...

Jan Bovelet

Corporate urban furniture, public space, and money. A sketch for an artistic research project

The basic idea of the project is a Marx-inspired analysis of the economic logic of corporate urban furniture with a focus on exploring it's spatial patterns. It's not about a rigid application of the...

Benjamin Cope

Post-Socialist Urban Furniture

Laying out some considerations regarding socialist urban furniture with a view to better understanding the context in which post-socialist urban furniture functions. The argument is that understanding...

Mobasher Niqui

Walls of Kindness

Untreated walls in big cities in Iran has become the field of expressive action for a society that is getting used to express itself indirectly. The walls are the screens of hackings and graffitis,...

Idea Contest

The International open single-phase idea contest “Hacking Urban Furniture – Urban furniture in Communal-Collective-Cooperation (CCC)” is looking for ideas for new forms, meanings and concepts of urban furniture. The focus here is on substantial conceptions of new economic models, functional expansions and civil-societal participation. Mere questions of design are not at the core of this contest; rather, it is about the collaboration of society, public function and formal solution.

Call for proposals (PDF) ›

Ausschreibung (PDF) ›

Kick-off Conference // 7th - 8th of April 2017

The ZK/U (Center for Art and Urbanistics) warmly invites you to the public opening conference ‘Hacking Urban Furniture’, a long-term research and practice project.

On the 7th and 8th of April 2017 artists, urban researchers, administrators, politicians, activists and citizens get together, to talk about the current state and future of urban furniture.

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Portable Polis

Berlin-wide public-participation project based on oral, close reading of texts by German-American thinker Hannah Arendt. One of Arendt's singular goals was to place serious thinking in the world where it is most needed. As such, readings will occur at sites around Berlin from texts related to the activities and focus of the site where each session occurs.

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