Katja Assmann is a German curator and cultural manager. Assmann, who studied architecture and art history in Bochum, is currently the artistic director of Urbane Kunste Ruhr
Explorations in Urban Practice is the first volume in the Urban School Ruhr Series. It draws from and reflects upon USR`s experiences to date, whilst also looking to the future of urban practice in contemporary cities. The book presents the reader with key current questions in the field such as * How can we learn city making? * How should we understand the political concept of commoning for this purpose? * How can we discuss intervention as a strategy for enacting urban change? The Urban School Ruhr (USR) describes itself as a fictional but very active educational institution based in the cities of Witten and Hattingen in the Ruhr Valley of Germany. The two cities are part of the large conurbation that stretches between Dusseldorf and Dortmund, an ideal area for the study of urban planning and development. The USR holds seminars, plenary meetings and workshops that are similar to university structures through the year. It draws in people who are interested in the cross-links between culture and city making, students with a committed interest in the arts and culture as well as the desire to improve the urban environment through collaborative exploration and action. This book therefore outlines the principles of USR as a learning platform and a pedagocical experiment, built upon the belief that experts and amateurs can, together, build a space of critical exchange and knowledge transfer. USR prioritises exchange and dialogue that may not end in a specific result or built reality, but instead promotes the need for understanding conversation as the first step to co-producing cities.