Issue 2/2021, 117. Volume Page 214–237
Multiplicity of encounters
On the encounter capacity of public space using the example of
The planning of urban districts involves ideas of how people in cities would like to and should best encounter each other. The term “encounter capacity”, which denotes social as well as material dimensions of enabling “social mix”, has emerged in the reflexive planning practice of Hamburg’s HafenCity to increase the realisation of encounters through planned public space. This article explores the conception and reality of encounter capacity. It is based on commissioned research in the districts of the urban development area which were completed in 2015. The term “multiplicity of encounters”, developed from ethnographic observation and borrowed from the work of Doreen Massey, refers to the multiplication of encounters within specific horizons of meaning: neighbourliness, eventfulness and trendiness. The high-priced housing and consumption possibilities, the image of an exclusive district and the group-specific rhythms of everyday life are selectively but never completely cancelled out by these factors.
urban anthropology, urban planning, encouter, social mix, urbanity