In 2008-2010, Chiara Dalla Libera wrote a wonderful dissertation as part of her Master Erasmus Mundus (Crossways in European Humanities), under the supervision of Dr Amanda Crawley Jackson (University of Sheffield), Dr César Domínguez (Universidade de Santiago de Compostela) and Dr Ana Gonçalves Matos (Universidade Nova de Lisboa).
The dissertation, entitled FROM NON-PLACE TO PLACE: A STUDY OF EUROPEAN PUBLIC SPACE AS A SPACE OF IDENTITY, is available to download as a pdf here.
In short, my research question has to do with the role some places have in forging bonds between people and cultures, focusing in particular on the example of the European context. I expect to identify the process of the ongoing transformation of such places from neutral zones to expressions of a shared culture through their appropriation by its users, leaving behind their functional aspect to embody the process of identification with European models of culture. In fact the study of the public space could be intended as a way to approach the study of the process of building Europe in its cultural sense, in order to detect the consequences that have determined or not a change in the relation and in the characterization of the public space itself and its social dimension. Above all I aim to analyse the mechanisms that build the identity of these spaces in order to change the vision we have of them, especially because, as they are increasingly more present in our daily movements, they should be experienced as environments where we do not just spend time, but where we actually live and make our time useful and pleasurable.
Chiara Dalla Libera (2010)