In recent years, Berlin and other comparable cities have sounded the alarm over the disappearance of alternative spaces and clubs as a symptom of a fundamental change in urban society. Gentrification, housing shortages, rising rents and changing demographics make it more and more difficult to find and maintain places that can serve as retreats for artists and marginalized communities alike. Often, however, such places are experimental spaces for social utopias, alternative forms of coexistence and interaction. In addition, they are places for innovation: culturally, technologically and socially. What does it mean for liberal societies when such places disappear, become less accessible or marginalized? How do they have to be designed? Can a society afford to loose such spaces? What can it do to retain them? In addition to artists, activists and audiences, what role can scientists, politicians or industry play?

Researchers of the Cluster of Excellence “Contestations of the Liberal Script – SCRIPTS” and the Berlin Clubcommission as well as actors from the arts and culture scene discussed these and other questions to foster an intersectoral knowledge exchange between theory and practice, between science and society.

This event was part of Berlin Science Week 2021 and presented by the Berlin University Alliance in cooperation with the Cluster of Excellence “Contestations of the Liberal Script – SCRIPTS” and the Berlin Clubcommission. The Berlin University Alliance is a consortium of Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Technische Universität Berlin und Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin. Together they aim to make Berlin an integrated research environment across all boundaries. The Cluster of Excellence SCRIPTS is an international research platform based in Berlin that investigates contestations of the liberal script, as well as alternative models of social and political order, in historical, global, and comparative perspective.