Architects as Mediators

Hella Hernberg of UDM defended her doctoral thesis in June, 2022. Her doctoral thesis, titled Architects as Mediators – Socio-political roles in mediating the ‘temporary use’ of vacant spaces, investigates the mediation of temporary uses of vacant urban spaces. The thesis positions mediation as an example of architectural work moving beyond building design. The thesis is based partly on a practice-based research of her own mediation practice, within the UDM project “Temporary Kera”, and partly on qualitative interviews of other European mediators. In addition, the thesis integrates knowledge from four scholarly fields: temporary use, participatory design, urban sustainability transitions and architecture.

As a cross-cutting finding, the thesis articulates three roles for mediators in temporary use: they broker the collaboration and partnerships between actors, negotiate structural conditions and build capabilities for temporary use. Overall, the thesis highlights socio-political aspects of professional work concerning urban development today. Thus, it provides relevant knowledge for municipalities and practitioners aiming to advance sustainable, inclusive and adaptable forms of urban development. 

Hella conducted the doctoral research at the Sustainable design research group NODUS at Aalto University, Department of Design.

The doctoral research was funded partly by Kone Foundation and partly by Aalto university.

A full list of Hella Hernberg’s research publications here.

  • Project type: Doctoral research
  • University: Aalto University, School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Department of Design
  • Timeline: 2016-2022
  • Funding: Kone Foundation and Aalto University