City Narratives as Places of Meaningfulness, Appropriation and Integration


  • Sonja Novak
  • Angeliki Sioli
  • Susana Oliveira
  • Klaske Havik



This issue is an invitation to look beyond the definitions of meaningfulness, appropriation and integration, and explore the relations between them. We have liberally arranged the articles under the three main themes but, as it can easily become clear, there are overlaps among the themes. In that way, this issue offers not only a geographical journey along different urban narratives, but also an expedition into the network of interrelated terms and spatial practices.

Author Biographies

Sonja Novak

Sonja Novak, PhD, is an assistant professor in the Department of German Studies, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in Osijek, Croatia, where she teaches History of German Literature and courses on Literary Theory at undergraduate (BA), graduate (MA) and postgraduate (PhD) level. She conducts her research in the humanities within the research field of Philology and her area of expertise is Literary Theory and History of Literature. Current research topics cover the connection between literature and (urban) space, comparative literature and analysis of the phenomenon of systems in crisis in contemporary fiction and drama with special emphasis on German and Croatian literature. 

Angeliki Sioli

Angeliki Sioli, PhD, is an assistant professor of architecture at the Chair of Methods of Analysis and Imagination, Delft University of Technology. She obtained a professional diploma in Architecture from the University of Thessaly and a post-professional Master’s in Architectural Theory and History from the National Technical University of Athens. She completed her PhD at McGill University, Montreal. Her research seeks connections between architecture and literature in the public realm of the city, focusing on aspects of embodied perception of place. Her work on architecture, literature and pedagogy has been published in a number of books and presented at numerous conferences. She was recently awarded the 2021 Teaching Fellow Comenius Grant for Teaching Innovation and she has edited the collected volumes The Sound of Architecture: Acoustic Atmospheres in Place (Leuven University Press, 2022) and Reading Architecture: Literary Imagination and Architectural Experience (Routledge, 2018). Before joining Delft University of Technology, Sioli taught at McGill University in Montreal; Tec de Monterrey in Mexico; and Louisiana State University in the USA.

Susana Oliveira

Susana Oliveira, PhD, is Head of Drawing Department at the Faculty of Fine Arts, Lisbon University, Portugal. She studied Painting, has an MA in Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art and a PhD in Communication Sciences. She published several articles and books on visual culture, and worked on museology projects such as Lisbon Museu da Cidade and Museu do Côa. She co-organized the 1st International Conference on Architecture and Fiction – Once Upon a Place, Lisbon 2010, published in book format in 2013. She was visiting scholar at GSAPP – Columbia University NY in 2014, with postdoctoral research in Architectural Imagination in Fiction Literature, a subject she continues to pursue, namely within graphic representation and word & image studies. She also works as a freelance illustrator and has published over 25 youth and children’s books. She is vice-chair of EU COST Action Writing Urban Places.

Klaske Havik

Klaske Havik is professor of Methods of Analysis and Imagination at Delft University of Technology. Her research relates architectural and urban questions, such as the use, experience and imagination of place, to literary language. Her book Urban Literacy: Reading and Writing Architecture, based on her PhD, was published in 2014. Havik initiated the platform Writingplace and organized the 2nd international conference on architecture and fiction: Writingplace: Literary Methods in Architectural Research and Design (2013), which resulted in the book Writingplace, Investigations in Architecture and Literature (2016). For architecture journal OASE, she edited, among other issues, OASE 98 Narrating Urban Landscapes, OASE 91 Building Atmosphere (2013), OASE 85, Productive Uncertainty (2011) and OASE 70 Architecture and Literature (2007). Havik’s literary work has appeared in Dutch poetry collections and literary magazines, while a collection of her poems in English appeared as Way and Further (2021). Havik is editor of the Writingplace Journal, and chair of the EU COST Action Writing Urban Places.


Edmund De Waal, Letters to Camondo (London, 2021), 152.

Report of the on-line mini conference ‘Meaningfulness, Appropriation and Integration of/in City Narratives, organized by Sonja Novak and Angeliki Sioli, Working group 2 of the COST Action Network Writing Urban Places, in November 2020. The pdf – including links to the recording of this event – is available at:

Michiel Dehaene, Bruno Notteboom and Klaske Havik, ‘Medium: The Mid-Size City as a European Urban Condition and Strategy’, OASE 89 (2013), 2-9.