The article explores the role of art festivals as platforms for knowledge and network development in the creative industries and creative policy intervention using the case of a small street art festival (Fuse Festival in Medway, UK). The analysis provides a broader perspective on the current research and debate on the impact and role played by arts festivals in local economic and cultural development—which usually concentrate on either their socioeconomic impact on local communities—to focus instead of their role in building knowledge communities and communities of practice. The results highlight the key role played by the festival in supporting and commissioning artistic work. The results also expose the temporary and explorative nature of many artistic practices and the role of interaction with audiences and other creative producers. Following a network perspective, the findings highlight the role of temporary clusters not only in shaping career opportunities for artists but also in drawing new pathways for local economic development for contexts undergoing regeneration.
South Africa experienced a recent wave of xenophobic violence in April 2015. Those fomenting violence were mostly Black Africans with South African citizenship targeting Africans from other parts of the continent. Between these attacks, and highly publicized attacks in 2008, South Africa’s government secretly devised plans to construct "model" camps to house migrants with refugee status and those seeking refugee status. The article seeks to understand the space of exception created by government’s proposal considering South Africa’s colonial and apartheid past. This is done by firstly contextualizing the South African case, secondly, placing this South African case within existing scholarship, and thirdly, problematizing the government’s "model." Beyond this, though, the article presents a conceptual camp design as counterproposal which highlights the power of design to negate spatial exception.
This article describes how autistic children experience space dedicated for sensory integration (SI) therapy activities and how the idea of topology enables a thorough reading of their experiences. A topological approach is used to investigate the SI activity space through the narratives of children’s activities. Rather than considered as a collection of elements, SI space is seen as a space of a connected sensory tour based on the child’s movements in different SI therapy scenarios. Every scenario has different operations that show how children move within the environment as a form of responses involved in the SI process. This article illustrates how connectivity occurs based on the narratives of space experienced by the child. Exploration of scenario sequences and their operations in detail may develop an understanding of the comprehensive spatial experiences and thus expand our knowledge of spatial design for individuals with autism.
This article presents a study of the self-presentation of shopping centers in the Czech Republic as "family-friendly" spaces. The notion of family-friendliness is analyzed both as a structural category, referring to the structure of the stereotypical normal family and to its respective members, and as a cultural representation, referring to "family values," which Czech malls invoke in their self-presentation. It is argued that the presentation of a "space for the whole family" covers only the persistent stereotype of female-led economic consumption. The family values of safety and comfort distinguish shopping centers negatively from the city centers. They also strongly refer to the country’s past by invoking the image of a family promenade. On a more general level, the family appeal thrives on the phenomenon of postsocialist privatism and on the turning away from the public sphere in favor of the private realm of the family.
This essay examines Moving Memories, the 9/11 Memorial in Tucson, Arizona, as an instance of resistance to dominant ideologies regarding the public memory of national tragedy. Though Moving Memories was designed to reveal the conflicting viewpoints embodied by those affected by 9/11, area residents and government representatives argue that it fails to capture the "true" sentiment of Arizonans. This analysis provides a theoretical interrogation of the memorial’s unveiling and later contestation, illustrates the political value of unity over dissention, and theorizes the implications of spatiality in memorialization by way of a detailed review of one of Moving Memories’ particularly divisive features.
The relationship between cultural–creative industries and globalization has been a significant concern of geographers for more than a decade. Geographers have argued that cultural–creative industries have become urban-based initiatives which reinforce social stratification and social inequalities. Analyzing Taiwan’s film industry, this article integrates the framework of the New International Division of Cultural Labor with the urban theory of David Harvey and Henri Lefebvre. The main research question examines how the famed Taiwan New Cinema was subsumed into the overarching structure of the New International Division of Cultural Labor in the neoliberal era. Meanwhile, through a case study of "Place of People" cinema in Taipei, this article examines the Taiwan state-led "Cultural and Creative Industry Development Plan" and its aftermath. This study argues that although public–private partnerships do in fact comprise Taipei’s urban entrepreneurial strategy governing Place of People cinema, they contribute to possibilities for the development of an alternative space for social and cultural transformation.
This article focuses on identifying variations in the base camp dwellings of Ijo migrant fishermen in Nigeria and Cameroon. Migrant fishermen in diasporas learn the techniques of the fishing trade and the skills required for building their vernacular dwellings by cultural transmission methods. This includes obtaining instructions by oral tradition and hands-on practice while they serve as apprentices under parents, master fishermen, or elders. The designs of the dwellings were patterned after the mental blueprints obtained from similar dwellings in their ethnic homeland in Bayelsa State, Nigeria. As a result of cultural dynamism, changes may have occurred in the design of migrant fishermen’s dwellings in diasporas over time. The accumulation of such changes may have constituted significant variations in the design of these vernacular dwellings. The variations in these designs have been analyzed using a spatial classification method, and this article bears some of the findings of the study.
This article examines how the practices of street vendors in contemporary Santiago relate to changes in their identities, which have been reconfigured along with city’s form and organization under the capitalist economic system. It explores the way street sellers adapt their working practices to a new understanding of their work as maximizing economic returns over all else. As part of this process, they display diverse spatial techniques (to circumvent increased policing, for example), use infrastructure and traffic flow changes for their own purposes, and adapt their public images and organization to the modernization of the transport system. On the basis of ethnographical observation, this article argues that the practices of street selling in Santiago have acquired particular traits from the interrelations between specific elements: The sellers develop skills and attitudes pertaining to the flexible labor economy, such as the ability to adapt to new enterprises and individual ambition, and that these new dispositions reconfigure their identities.
This article examines the history, use, and significance of the Turkish Tea Garden or Cay Bahcesi, positing that these gardens offer unique democratic spaces for public discourse set within the polis. The article unpacks the historical, cultural, and symbolic features of these gardens, and the role these shared spaces play in Turkey’s multivalent civic environment. It employs Ray Oldenburg’s notion of "third space" to consider how these gardens provide inclusive settings for a culturally diverse citizenry. Furthermore, the article considers how these spaces act as repositories of shared memory, mediating conflict that appears in other societal spheres. The gardens are presented as uniquely "sacred" third spaces, distinct from the "profane" third spaces characterized by Oldenburg.
This article investigates the gender values prescribed through the spatial arrangements and lived bodily practices within the Sultanate palace of Yogyakarta (Indonesia, 1756), which makes women and their space invisible to the public. Reflecting on histories of women’s invisibility and drawing on ethnographic data consisting of interviews and participant observation, this article compares the spatial arrangement of the sultan’s complex with that of the keputren (harem) and examines the critical spatial manifestation of idealized gender relations using visual theory. It finds that the architectural layout conveys not only class but also gender hierarchies. This representation of idealized gender relations is shaped by, and communicated through, the prescription of movement in space and the control of physical appearance through and within space. This ultimately reflects the sultan’s vision of women and his intention to make women and their space invisible to people—especially men—other than the sultan himself.
The cultural complexity—and potential for identity building—of museums and cultural displays can be potentially powerful spaces of cultural negotiation; in a postcolonial or diasporic setting, the production of locality through cultural displays can serve as a home surrogate (albeit temporarily) for deterritorialized peripheral subjects. However, when these productions (whether they be museums, festivals, or other events of representation) are commoditized and sponsored by socially dominant groups (such as the French government), so that outsiders (nondiasporic people, i.e., the general public) can consume them, what kinds of interactions and clashes can take place? This article aims to answer this question, through the examination of space in a French Antillean festival in Paris: Rue Créole, illustrating the production of locality in Rue Créole through the spatial construction of the venue, and then by examining the production of space and its implications in the festival’s musical performances. Ultimately, I argue that in postcolonial situations, socially produced space can result in polyrhythmic, performatively doubled ensembles and that this in itself is a mark of colonial relation.
This essay uses the Vietnam Veterans Memorial to trouble the critique that permanent, enduring architecture no longer effectively stands in for shared, collective memory. Dance studies and memory studies concern themselves with formations of epistemologies emerging outside traditional, text-based sources. For both fields, the performing body is a source of knowledge through which to respectively address the production of culture and the storage/transmission of memory. As such, I insert a dance studies optic, which approaches the body as a meaning-making force, into discourses of architecture as contextualized within practices of commemoration. By pairing investigations of the body as constructed in the archive-tracing processes of memorial production and with an analysis of visitors engaged in an embodied interaction with the actual memorial site, I argue that the Vietnam Veterans Memorial architecture and site harbors the capacity to mobilize into action, acting as a choreographic collaborator in the formation of bodily texts, which participate in memory discourse.
The bunkerization of Europe is a Cold War story that has continued to resonate into the 21st century through foreign policy, the built environment, and cultural traces both material and imaginary. This essay explores the physical, ideological, and cultural bunkerization of Switzerland, one of the most heavily fortified countries in the world, through its military and civil defense history, the spatial manifestations of that history, and the cultural responses to these manifestations during and after the Cold War. The essay compares the unusually democratic process of the Swiss civil defense infrastructure and its ramifications for thinking about the spatial legacy of the Cold War with the bunker fantasy in the United States and the rest of Europe.
The second generation of Turks to migrate to Germany played a crucial role in recasting the migration experience of the 1960s into a unique diasporic culture. This research, which takes the Kreuzberg district of Berlin as a center of the Turkish diaspora’s ongoing maneuvering for existence, shows how in various stages of migration history, the second generation’s narratives transect the quarter’s own sociopolitical history and spatiotemporal change. It notes three crossroads. The first is when the Turkish diaspora stakes a claim as an independent power within hobohemia. The second is when a political, oppositional momentum is activated among the diaspora. The third crossroads, comprising the first 10 years after the fall of the Wall, is the stage where the district comes under the influence of neoliberalism and becomes just "bohemia." This research shows how Turkish immigrants have been positioned at a crossroads where the "hobo" character of the quarter evolved into a bohemia.
Human dwelling in cities produces traces in outdoor spaces, particularly in residential neighborhoods. An essential part of dwelling is acting on one’s environment, establishing meaning and identity. These processes are challenged in cities by diversity, vying uses, and various regulations. This article suggests that expressing and encountering otherness in urban space extends through the material traces left by spatial users, communicating social information. Drawing empirically upon actor network theory’s relational approach of association, three studies are used to demonstrate that traces are important in urban space due to what they impart regarding user intentions, local interpretations, physical possibilities, and controls. Comparing traces found in three differently managed cases, the study opens up the question of how regulation and thorough upkeep may affect the expression of diversity in urban residential spaces.
This article considers the Anthropocene, or "the age of humans," the new geological epoch that has been proposed to describe the present time. A geological "unconformity," however, is "missing time," an interval or hiatus in the sedimentary geological record that helps geologists determine where epochs begin and end. It is anticipated that the geological record of the Anthropocene might be visible in the future in the numerous possible unconformities in tornado, hurricane, and earthquake zones, identified by successions of building rubble and metal oxides along with fossilized evidence of radioactive material, plastic pollution, increased carbon dioxide levels, and the shifts, distribution, and extinction of species. As the Anthropocene epoch gains ground and acceptance in a number of disciplinary fields, it promises to alter more than the wording in geological textbooks. The text explores the aporetic nature of geological space and time evoked by thinking about Anthropocene unconformities in an unstable world.
The history of urban design and urban planning is often conceptualized through a tension between top-down and bottom-up realizations of power. This binary is then mapped onto two ideal-type figures: the planner, with his privileged visuality from atop the skyscraper, and the flaneur, with his tactile and tactical routes through the streetscape. This article argues that the top-down/bottom-up dichotomy misses a fundamental location of power in spatial production: the mezzanine. The mezzanine is the strata of urban space located just above street level, but far below the perches of the planner’s eye. The article explores four mediations that occur on the mezzanine level: connectivity (utility poles, telephone wires, the grid), the management of mobility (traffic signs and signals), navigation (street signs, address systems), and surveillance (CCTV, street lights, eyes on the street). It argues that studies of material infrastructure located at the mezzanine complicate the top-down/bottom-up distinction.
The article discusses the mundane politics of familial life from children’s perspectives and portrays the home as a relational space of subject formation and a context of everyday politics. The approach is based on an Arendt-inspired understanding of politics and a topological conception of spatiality that appreciates the intensity, frequency, and significance of social relations as being constitutive of political life. The article views the home as spatially finite yet open-ended in scale, resting upon and shifting by intersubjectively established and subjectively experienced spatial attachments. It therefore appears as a multifaceted context of development and practice that consists of people, places, ideas and things near and far, of kith and kin. The empirical analysis, based on an ethnographic research project, explores the plurality of children’s familial spatial attachments, the particularity of their familial subjectivities, and their active and developing political agencies in the "topological home."
The live music venue has long been regarded as a space of critical importance in relation to musical experience. Like music artists themselves, venues often come to embody the zeitgeist of a particular genre or era. Liverpool’s Cavern, New York’s CBGB’s, and Brisbane’s Cloudland are but three examples of an ever-growing list of live music venues (closed down, demolished, renamed) achieving iconic status due to a connection with important and galvanizing moments in music history. Significant in this are the ways in which collective memories become textured by particular venues and how memory works to forge strong collective associations between former audiences. Drawing on theoretical frameworks utilized in space and place research and memory studies, this article will investigate the significance of unofficial, unlicensed music venues and the way in which the memory of these particular sites constitute a potent form of intangible cultural heritage in contemporary society.
This article discusses the impact of urban change in everyday life rhythms. Recently, urban space has been described and analyzed as polyrhythmic, being a congregation of diverse movements by different agents. While the role of materiality in this dynamic is recognized, the impact of urban change in everyday life rhythms is still underexplored. Seeing urban rhythms as comprised by affective relationships, I analyze how Lisbon’s recent macro-level spatial planning has affected the local everyday life rhythms of elders in Ameixoeira, a peripheral parish of the city. The article presents findings from 20 in-depth narrative interviews with elders who had lived for at least 40 years in the parish, with the purpose of understanding how urban change has affected their daily rhythms, which are stabilized by the resources of urban space. My conclusions identify a set of affective dimensions in which urban change has impacted the daily life rhythms of local elders.
This essay explores the complex entanglements of media, place, and (public) space. On reviewing the spatial turn in media studies and the media turn in cultural geography, the article discusses Anna McCarthy’s well-known "spatial" discussion of Dara Birnbaum’s installation Rio Videowall in downtown Atlanta. The latter serves as a test case to ground and criticize some of the insights within those recent paradigms. In the second part of the discussion, Latour’s "Parliament of Things" is foregrounded as an alternative way of thematizing the role that media technologies play in the production of place. Latour’s Parliament rethinks place politically in terms of dynamic networks that raise questions about modes of representing place and strategies of visibility in public space. Ultimately, considering the matter of place and space as a networked assemblage of subjects, objects, and media technologies allows us to interrogate the democratic nature of the media environments in which we live.
Following the publication of Henri Lefebvre’s book Le Droit à la ville (1968), a debate has emerged regarding the neoliberal takeover of urban spaces and activism. Nonetheless, in the past 10 years, we have seen the continuous expansion of public space via social networking media and, today, most public institutions in Western states use social networking sites to communicate with their "citizens." Although there are many serious problems associated with this takeover, little has been said about them so far. In this article, I address the contribution of The right to the city to this debate by analyzing a public institution which tried to establish communication with its "citizens" in an urban space in a virtual world. My analysis concludes that the users of this new media platform did not regard themselves as citizens when they were dwelling in this urban space online, but instead saw themselves as the consumers they were addressed as in this environment.
In today’s highly technical and rapidly changing world, the topic of people-friendly living has become increasingly acute. Therefore, great attention is paid to create new spaces (and transform unpleasant ones). In this race to create new spaces, however, vernacular sites that are already people friendly have been forgotten or they are taken for granted. This article explores a neighborhood, which has evolved into a valuable living environment after hundreds of years of development characterized by weak planning and design. Current efforts to regenerate the area may actually ruin the valuable vernacular environment. The authors have worked with this historic area for over 10 years and are familiar with the people and environments in depth. This longitudinal research allows one to observe and compare many different aspects of urban development (urban analysis, people’s values, adopted spatial plans, etc.) to provide insights to the question of what characterizes the lively city.
Murals have long been used in communities to express solidarity and voice political opinions. As neighborhoods become increasingly diverse, complex economic and political motivations emerge for making murals that reflect new claims and contests over space. Focusing on recently designated ethnic "-towns" in the Greater Los Angeles area, the study finds that murals reveal multiple narratives and motives, including negotiations over space, identity, place-branding, and border-making as well as interethnic competition and reconciliation. It is argued that understanding the evolving functions and multivalent potentials of murals is critical for the success of place making and community planning. In particular, we draw attention to the trend of businesses and local government agencies using murals to make statements on identity and intercultural relations.
The article explores the relationship between the concept of home as a "becoming," and young people’s identity construction, in situations of residential instability caused by contemporary mobility. In line with the results of recent studies, the article argues that in some cases, this instability can be an opportunity to recreate the conditions of dwelling by transforming an anonymous space into a temporary home, which gets its meaning from the individual’s "ongoing personal project." Drawing on a qualitative study which explored the temporal and spatial experience of young people in Italy, the article analyzes the narratives of a number of university students temporarily residing in the Lombardy region, highlighting the processes involved in recreating the feeling of being at home which take place in everyday life, by means of structuring domestic times and spaces, resignifying "objects" as "things," negotiating household rules, and organizing care practices.
Notions of access have become pervasive in how we currently speak about libraries and their democratic character, as well as in the ways in which we have come to speak about emerging media technologies and, in both cases, access has very clearly come to mean making things available. Although access as it relates to the library is a relatively recent phenomenon, libraries and access have nearly become synonymous. Yet the presumption of access often obscures lingering problems of inaccessibility to various services and spaces for particular classes of people. This article will examine and document the ways in which the normative priority of "access" has been architecturally materialized within the contemporary library. Through a close analysis of Montreal’s Grande Bibliothèque and the institution’s trajectory from conception to building, this article will explore how architecture has, in part, defined and delimited what sort of institutional public space the Grande Bibliothèque creates. Concepts employed within the preliminary conceptual design phase of the project, such as openness, access, freedom, and publicness, took on new, contradictory meanings when the library materialized, to reveal issues surrounding restriction, control, inaccessibility, and surveillance. I want to lay stress on the process of design and how its various agencies shaped a particular institutional incarnation of the library.
The aim of this article is to rethink the analysis of urban life and the practices involving the use of urban space. To that end, we focus on the value that such practices have for social enquiry by employing the concept of domestication, which was originally elaborated by Silverstone in the field of media and technology scholarship. Specifically, the potential value of such usage is to embed practices that produce space in the complexity of the everyday culture of families, and to enable an analysis of urban space in its dual articulation in both public and private culture. A discussion of how the concept has been applied in a study of how parents in a small Italian city include urban space in the domestic sphere offers an empirical substratum to our argument.
Living in an automobile is an increasingly common but underexamined experience in the United States. The car provides shelter against the elements of outdoors, but living in the automobile requires a complex set of practices over dispersed space in order to meet basic bodily and social needs. Using accounts of car dwelling found in survival guides, news reports, blogs, and day-in-the-life videos, this article analyzes some of the fundamental tensions between stillness and mobility, private and public, and home and homeless evidenced in the place-making practices of car dwelling. In analyzing the relationship between material arrangements, practices of spatial and social regulation, and identity formation, I argue that while car dwelling cannot be linked to one specific identity or experience. Relying on Doreen Massey’s concept of ‘practicing place’ this article shows how the complex negotiations of place-making expose multiple routes to theorize nonnormative uses of space and materiality and to develop more equitable access to resources.
Contemporary architecture of Iran has witnessed a transition from modern architecture toward its traditional origin. The idea of empty space is a dominant concept in traditional architecture and has been reinterpreted in different ways. Actually, the concept of emptiness is a philosophical term ingrained in Iranian culture that has been discussed from various perspectives. This research investigates the emergence of emptiness in the form of central courtyards in Iran. Because this article is an attempt to examine the concept of emptiness in contemporary Iranian architecture, three famous architects of recent years have been selected—Reza Daneshmir, Alireza Taghaboni, and Pouya Khazaeli—who are all prize-winners of the Memar Award, the most well-known architectural competition in Iran based on authentic Iranian ideas. As part of a phenomenological research method, interviews were arranged with each architect, and their projects visited. During the analysis process, the recursive abstraction method was used to achieve the main idea of each architect toward the concept of emptiness. Accordingly, 10 projects of the aforementioned architects were examined to ascertain the architects’ new interpretation of the traditional idea of emptiness in Iranian architecture.
This article examines how public spaces shape racialized youth growing up in a multicultural city. It focuses on youths in the Jane-Finch neighborhood of Toronto presenting their fears, sociospatial practices, and aspirations for social inclusion and urban spaces. Research data consist of interviews with stake-holders and social providers working with youth in Toronto, in general, and in Jane-Finch, in particular. In addition, the article relies predominantly on a focus group discussion with 13 young women and men that took place in The Spot Youth Centre located in Jane-Finch in June 2011. In August 2013, two Black teenagers were killed in the area of Jane-Finch in North-West Toronto. This article was inspired by these tragic losses.
Events are part of everyday life and cities, and cities’ experience economy. Affect and emotions—real or imagined, collective or subjective, lived or dreamed—are crucial issues to events, including being insecure on what one experiences is part of the attraction of events. Events are most often seen as situated encounters in planned spaces, where the mode of social exchange is significant to people’s experience (both as Erlebnis and Erfahrung) and identification with place. Emphasizing the eventness or eventful experiences of city life highlight the importance of forces of moments and situations as presence forces. Experiencing events happens in between sense–body–mind effects. Presence is a wirkungs-kraft. This article discusses presence effects exploring some "types" of urban experiences—presence-culture, presence-meaning, present-presence—using street art, everyday experiences, and community art events as examples. It is an exploration inspired by Hans Ulrich Gumbrect’s writings on presence and Michel Foucault on event and eventalization.
Rock climbing entails far more than simply climbing rocks. Modern sport climbing is, rather, rooted in the myriad ways in which climbers engage with rock climbs, the specific human-made spaces mapped onto the cliff faces that athletes seek to ascend. This interaction includes forms of learning to read and create visual representations of climbs, physically training to prepare their bodies and hone their techniques, learning how to haptically and kinaesthetically engage with and learn from the rock, and overall developing a climbing-specific habitus. By exploring the relationship between a number of climbers and a climb in Rumney, New Hampshire, called Pretzel Logic, this article argues that the climb and climber are mutually constituted through a highly fluid actor–object engagement rooted in ongoing learning and adaptation. By extension, this article argues that interaction with objects—and not solely other humans—can be central to the formation of habitus and bodily practice.
This article presents the implications of modern urban warfare through ethnographic research of the Palestinian lived experience of the 2002 Israeli invasion Edjteyah. It is a scholarly attempt to document, investigate, and analyze the community’s response to Israel’s new military strategy of "walking through walls" as invisible urban warfare. This article connects the community experience in the old town of Nablus with the broader experience of warfare and political uncertainty. It is structured in three parts. The first discusses "walking through walls" as a modern warfare strategy, the second presents the methodology to capture the consequences of war with a case study of suspended everyday life, and the third narrates the participants’ "making-do" emergent tactics to counter the oppressor’s strategies. Following an analysis that encompasses qualitative ethnography and storytelling, it provides an interdisciplinary perspective of people’s temporal, spatial, and behavioral aftermath based on the participants’ narrations and experiences. In conclusion, the colonial power’s extended contemporary war delays any long-term planning, development, and sovereignty statehood by suspending the Palestinians’ everyday life.
This article draws parallels between the use of public leisure spaces in the city, such as parks and squares, and the use of certain forms of digital networks. Similarities between these two sorts of social contexts are worth considering, particularly their political dimension. This effort places the current conversation about social media as sites of political mobilization into dialogue with the historical analysis of public parks as spaces that, in a similar fashion, were designed for leisure and consumption but was appropriated as sites of resistance. It brings together the literature on urban parks as centers of democracy and the literature on new media spaces as portals of cyber-protest, extending the spatial history of digital politics.
Africa as an ancestral home is a prominent theme among African Americans. Many have sojourned to Africa in the hopes of establishing a cultural or spiritual connection with the continent. This essay investigates the ways in which African Americans encounter African culture and space. Specifically, this is an auto-ethnographic essay that details the author’s diasporic identity transformation as a result of visiting the West African nation of Burkina Faso. Enabled by educational courses and through a living arrangement with a host family, the author establishes how Burkina Faso became a surrogate home.
Much of the scholarship around the notion of home draws on ethnographic and phenomenological studies. As a result, the emphasis is on presence, the physical and material existence of people, spaces, and objects. Through the experiences of six undocumented Mexicans living in Minnesota, this article expands inquiry into how private spatial realities intersect with homemaking processes and citizenship production. The argument is that absence is as critical in unraveling what home means as presence. Situating homemaking at the junctures of the presence and absence of bodies, spaces, and objects, the article positions homes as transbodied spaces. Conceiving of homes as transbodied spaces allows for an exploration of how "illegality" diversifies the domestic experience. The resulting production of a private landscape that accounts for presence and absence, endows some undocumented with an immigrant identity that is validated and spatially promoted. In parallel, the spatial constraints they endure can suppress their efforts to carve out meaning and identity, contributing to their "‘illegalization." Cognizant of "illegality’s" challenges and that social inequalities are partly spatially constructed at both the private and the public levels, and are therefore malleable, scholars and practitioners can rethink their approach to those "living in the shadows."
Following Douglas and Kristeva, Sibley theorizes in Geographies of Exclusion that socio-spatial boundaries necessarily activate discourses of purity and impurity. Yet there is also a second, more sophisticated theory present in the text. Sibley offers three qualifications to Douglas and Kristeva, emphasizing the culturally specific nature of purity and impurity classifications, their status as contested and metaphorical discourses, and their irreducibly spatial organization and operation. Furthermore, beyond these qualifications, a close reading of the grain of Sibley’s argument suggests an account in which (a) temporal closeness to the origin and (b) spatial homogeneity are the standard against which "purity" is measured. Purity and impurity, then, would not attend any "matter out of place" but operate within particular cultural contexts as assessments of whether a phenomenon or space corresponds, in its relative homogeneity, to its impure origin and essence. This perspective offers support for addressing the materiality of purity and impurity discourses.
The potential for citizens to reclaim and reappropriate the physical spaces of their city has garnered a great deal of attention over the past year or so. The Occupy movement, "Arab Spring," and various social protest movements around the world have all reinvigorated debates over the political importance of public space. These movements posit an alternate historical trajectory to the one depicted by urban theorists and sociologists over the past half-century, who lament the steady "decline" of public space. One of the most vocal critics of the detrimental effects of contemporary urban planning for the sanctity of public space and urban life is the New York–based architect, academic, and architectural critic Michael Sorkin. Sorkin is currently Distinguished Professor of Architecture and Director of the Graduate Urban Design Program at the City College of New York. He is the author of several books and hundreds of articles on buildings, cities, and urban planning and design. In this interview, Sorkin weighs into these debates over the political and social importance of public space in cities and the challenges to disempowerment and disenfranchisement in urban environments. He discusses his early influences, the ongoing importance of Jane Jacobs to urban planning, sustainable living and "the possibility of New York becoming completely self-sufficient within its political boundaries"; as well as his views on the Occupy movement and post-9/11 surveillance and paranoia.
Drawing on the results of a study examining the use of Second Life as a platform for social support by people with myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS), the authors posit that virtual architecture needs to be designed to be inclusive to people with cognitive impairments. The ME/CFS Centre in Second Life allowed people who were socially isolated to forge social support systems across geographical distances. However, technological issues interfered with the development of participants’ senses of community within the virtual space of the ME/CFS Centre. These difficulties with the designed landscape reveal that theorizations, and applications, of geography and disability, and inclusive web design, need to extend to the ways that virtual architectural structures are designed and furnished-if these spaces are to be inclusive.
As part of the urban nightscape, illumination of urban environments across Europe has gained significance recently. Altering the aesthetic appearance of material surfaces, urban illuminations transform our sensory everynight experiences of space; experiences that, within geography, have not been dealt with in depth. This article undertakes an ethnographic study of the sensory everynight experiences of the changed aesthetics of illuminated spaces in Copenhagen, outlining three arguments. First, illumination functions as a signifier, transforming the experience of space and staging certain performative practices. Second, the illumination of select objects harmonizes connections between subjects and objects, releasing a potential for social contestation over spatial meaning. Third, illumination creates an illusory second reality, promoting alternative opportunities for engaging with the urban fabric. The article concludes that the lived sensory experiences of urban illuminations must be acknowledged in planning and need to be examined further within geographies of nighttime spaces.
Festa is what people in Malta call the annual celebration of town and village Catholic patron saints. Fireworks, including loud petards, are one of its ingredients. Anthropologists working in Malta have tended to think of them as a sort of aural backdrop to festa. The point of the article is to foreground the sound of fireworks as an anthropological object in its own right. It is correct to say that there is no festa without fireworks. They constitute part of its multisensory Gesamstkunstwerk: their penetrative power means that they purvey festa to individual bodies; their sound structures its temporality; there is much sonic rivalry between different festa groups; and they spatialize festa in a way that renders their location ambiguous. Fireworks are "sound" to some and "noise" to others. For the latter, they go against the (largely middle-class) expectations of a "proper" soundscape. The contest is played out in the form of discourses on gender as well as the notion of "moderation," itself seen as a corollary of a European modernity.
Global cities have been studied predominantly in terms of speed and movement, acceleration and circulation. This article examines the relationship between globalization and cities in terms that run counter to such emphases, focusing instead on slowness as a condition in contemporary urban life. Drawing on Jamie Peck’s critique of the creativity syndrome in urban policy, we analyze a series of street photography projects in the city of Amsterdam in order to examine the role of "slow art" in neoliberal urbanization and city profiling. In its capacity to interrupt movement and redirect visual attention, slow art resists both the acceleration of everyday life and the rapid transformation of social space in the global city. Yet, exploited by urban creativity policies, slow art can simultaneously contribute to the gentrification and commodification of cities. We argue that slowness and creativity are deeply implicated in contemporary reshapings of urban social space and that their interrelations merit closer study.
While ethnographic work has been a core part of teaching in many geography courses, the process of entering the field, "being-in" the midst of data collection, and leaving it has rarely been made explicit for discussion at the National University of Singapore. This article draws on fieldworking experiences at two urban sites in Singapore and discusses the insecurities, distractions, and reorientations that shape the spatialities of fieldwork. Apart from photography, I suggest that fieldnotes and video-recording techniques are important tools to be deployed alongside walking in order to apprehend affective, ineffable, and mundane moments in the field. By highlighting urban materialities as affective materials for organizing everyday experience, and urban mobilities as heterogeneous and rhythmic, I demonstrate how walking ethnographers’ bodies are attuned to a host of affects and mundane vignettes of the city, in the process sensitizing us to the networks of rhythms weaving urban life into form. In this sense, there is both a poetics and politics to walking as a mode of embodied ethnography.
Duisburg typifies those cities once dependent on heavy industry but now undergoing a prolonged period of structural change. A number of large-scale urban redevelopment projects have already been launched with a view to fostering this change and to rebranding Duisburg as a postindustrial location ("Standort"). Light is shed on this planning process by showing Duisburg as a crime scene ("Tatort") and thereby depicting the city as the home of fictional police inspector, Horst Schimanski. Since the introductory TV episode was first aired, in 1981, the character has had a significant impact on the city’s public image. Our parallel study of branding efforts and filmmaking shows how the selected backdrops and the social conscience of the fictional hero problematize both the speed and the course of structural change. The public debate surrounding Schimanski is indicative of the rather one-dimensional nature of urban development efforts in Duisburg.
This article discusses fly-posting practices performed by radical urban activists in Rome and Berlin. It suggests that political posters cannot be understood simply as channels of information about events and activities of political and subcultural "autonomous scenes" encompassing squats, occupied social centers, political bars, bookshops, cafes, and similar activist hangouts. Rather, these "street media" are crucially involved in processes of spatial appropriation and in the construction of an antagonistic territoriality. Fly-posting exposes its practitioners to police repression and attacks by right-wing groups, and given the risks involved, it also becomes a form of demarcation, alerting that a certain wall, street, area is symbolically claimed by the movement. Looking at fly-posting we can come to understand the nature of autonomous movement scenes as antagonistic and exclusive spaces, whose internal communitarianism is premised on the symbolic and spatial repulsion of authorities and political enemies.
In this essay, I evaluate Istanbul’s Beyoğlu as a hybrid and negotiated space and investigate how the imaginary and lived experiences of space enable as well as constrain transgressive everyday practices and identity politics. Through analyzing memories, imaginations, and experiences of Beyoğlu, in particular its drag/transsexual subculture, I explore the ways in which the past and present interact under the dynamic of globalization and (re)produce Beyoğlu as a space of difference and containment. Beyond the intricacies of Istanbul’s sex trade, night life, and queer subculture, I propose that the singular district of Beyoğlu, given its geographical, historical, and social location, operates as a microcosm of the tensions and negotiations between East and West, local and global, past and present.
Uluru-Kata Tjuta and Tongariro National Parks are arguably Australia and New Zealand’s premier iconic landscapes. This article explores how the visual representation of the parks altered following the late 20th-century transformation of Australia and New Zealand into postcolonial nations. It compares 20th-century representations evident in archival posters, tourist guidebooks, and photographs with early 21st-century government branding strategies. This comparison reveals contrasting government motives concerning land rights, the conservation estate, and tourism. Whereas Uluru-Kata Tjuta was reconceived as a landscape of cultural and economic recovery for the traditional owners, including extensive representational revisions to present an enduring Aboriginal presence, imaging of Tongariro remains ahistorical. I argue that this outcome reflects the continuance of 20th-century colonial representations that minimized Maori cultural associations in order to maximize the landscape’s capacity as a site for tourist and filmic consumption.
Fear is seen to be one of the defining political emotions of late modernity. Filmmakers, sociologists, artists, philosophers, and pundits see fear everywhere. If fear is a way of life, the contemporary city is seen by many to be one of its most prominent and productive social laboratories. But while fear is seen to be so politically significant, the way it is studied often both naturalizes and exteriorizes fear from politics. As a result, fear’s antagonistic status as both a social relation and an arena of political action is submerged. In this article, I propose a different approach to thinking about, and acting in, the city of fear. By taking social struggles as our starting point, the city of fear becomes recognizable as a platform for social action, a place for the elaboration of a theory and practice of social change, a staging ground for the reappropriation of the city.
While brands are recognized as salient features of the cultural and economic life of cities, the specificity of brands and their impact on urban life has been insufficiently analyzed. Drawing on recent branding theory, and taking the case of specialty coffee brands, this article considers the dynamic process through which these brands frame and co-generate a "third place" experience as part of the functioning of the brand interface and creation of brand value. It highlights the role of consumers in this process, tracing the ways in which they routinely conduct third place social interactions, construct hospitable space, and establish patterns of social relation on the platform of the brand. It is argued that the emergence of an "urban café sociality" characterized by specific forms of togetherness and (limited) modes of belonging is a productive effect of the interactive interplay between brands and consumers in everyday urban life.
This article is interested in how a tuning of the ear toward the auditory qualities of urban life presents new encounters with the historical geographies of the city and its spaces of technological modernity. It identifies the way a heightened appreciation of the auditory domain has helped disclose different ways of conceptually approaching the experience of urbanization and technological modernity during the 20th century. The article then moves on to address contemporary practice-based responses to the auditory historical terrain, particularly where they experiment with contemporary mobile technology. It considers the way these mobile practices help to open up fruitful new methods of geographical enquiry, while at the same time calls into question why existing analyses of mobile culture necessarily denigrating the urban public realm.
This article develops an understanding of ecological being that, we argue, is based on the ontology of relation. We make a conceptual distinction between subject-based and relational ontological forms. While these ontological forms coexist in everyday life, we argue that ecological awareness arises only from the time and space of relational ontology. Ecological awareness involves open response to difference. When awareness is an attribute of a subject, the other is seen from the perspective of the subject’s identity. By contrast, the awareness arising through a relation is ecological because the difference is not locatable; it is both inside and outside. We develop a relational understanding of ecological being by drawing on research we have undertaken at Bondi Beach, Australia. For this research, we interviewed people who, every day, all year round, engage in recreational activities. Through an analysis of these beach experiences, we consider the ways in which ritual practice allows for a transformation to the relational state that entails ecological being and awareness.
Our cities are undergoing a rapid transformation of public spaces due to different factors, such as economic and cultural globalization, demographic transformations, marketing strategies, urban planning and design approaches, medialization reinterpretations, social networks, and others. The urban realm itself is the collection of public spaces and places—buildings, squares, streets, landscapes, and ecosystems, as well as processes, mindscapes, and people that make up and shape any environment. In that respect, urban planning and design is really characterized by two distinct processes that transubstantiate space and place: static and dynamic. This qualitative, reflective article discusses these issues, taking a standpoint from the notion of public space as a common good. This notion is discussed in relation to the factors that transform our cities and is analyzed in relation to the concept of public good. We reflect this discussion vis-à-vis the views of the leading paradigms in urban planning and design, and their intake on and outlook on these complex issues.
Although the field of environmental studies has grown consistently over the past 50 years in Canada, it still remains distanced from Indigenous cultures, resulting in a lopsided and biased understanding of Indigenous knowledges. Haudenosaunee tradition configured the first treaty in North America, the Two Row Wampum, which is based on the principle of sharing land and knowledge. Honoring the original spirit and intention of the Two Row Wampum Treaty would involve duty not alliegance to whatever treaty pertains to the traditional territory environmental studies buildings now occupy. Refusal to recognize the spirit of traditional territories also indicates an unwillingness to extend this respect to include Indigenous knowledge practitioners, which further cements the apartheid practiced in environmental studies in North America. Environmental studies originated on Turtle Island with Indigenous peoples teaching settlers minobimadziwin: the good life of the bush. Lack of due acknowledgment of Indigenous cultures sustains environmental apartheid and so preserves the colonial legacy of environmental studies.
Historical narratives play an important role in constructing contemporary notions of citizenship. They are sites on which ideas of the nation are not only reaffirmed but also contested and reframed. In contemporary Germany, dominant narratives of the country’s modern history habitually focus on the legacy of the Third Reich and tend to marginalize the country’s rich and highly complex histories of immigration. The article addresses this commemorative void in relation to Berlin’s urban landscape. It explores how the city’s multilayered architecture provides locations for the articulation of marginal memories—and hence sites of urban citizenship—that are often denied to immigrant communities on a national scale. Through a detailed examination of a small celebration in 1965 that marked the anniversary of the founding of the modern Turkish republic, the article engages with the layers of history that coalesce around such sites in Berlin.
Since reunification, Berlin has been celebrated as both a creative, cosmopolitan "Open City" (the "new Berlin") and as a project for demonstrating the diversity and openness of the "new Germany." But this reinvention of urban space has heralded a selective vision that entails the willful forgetting and deletion of some marginal histories, at the very same time as other "sexier" urban identities and pleasures are promoted. This article explores these simultaneous processes of branding and erasure in relation to the symbolic cultural economy at play in Berlin as an aspiring "world city," and in the context of contested patterns of urban development, regeneration and gentrification. It also considers the possibility that practices of urban citizenship allow for new rights to the city to emerge from these contestations of space, while often masking other ongoing forms of dispossession.
Utopia is the lynchpin of Lefebvre’s enterprise. Attempting to understand architecture and the city with Lefebvre but without Utopia impoverishes his theoretical construct. His ethics, his ideas on practice and the methods he elaborated, are fundamentally utopian. Although there might seem to be no place for Utopia in the present, Lefebvre reveals this as little more than a self-serving affirmation that "there is no alternative" to social and political detachment. Demanding the impossible may always end in failure but doing so is the first step toward other possibilities nevertheless. Ultimately, to think about Lefebvre is to think about Utopia, and thinking about utopia when thinking with Lefebvre is to make contact with what is most enduring about his project for the city and its inhabitants, and with what is most radical about it as well.
Henri Lefebvre gave suggestive hints at a theory of urban form that have inspired those involved in the design and planning disciplines. His search was for an urban praxis that opened potentials for new forms of social relations and to this end he proposed a "metaphilosophy" designed to engage with the open-ended material relations of cities and societies. This, however, contradicted his Marxist commitment to a "finality" of man and society and his association of technology with alienation. We try here to rethink technology as intrinsic to human and social life: not as means to realize thought in the materialization of spaces and societies, but as medium and source, in processes of historical realization, of orders that come before thought in human practice. We relate this to "worlds" of practice which are the technically and historically constructed "metaphilosophical" "totalities" within which we are enabled and act. This pluralizes and technologizes "world," and Lefebvre’s "urban form" becomes a construction of multiple relational–technological "worlds," each perceived, conceived, and lived as wholes. These articulate with one another and evolve historically. It is the articulations and interfaces between "worlds" rather than the "worlds" themselves which locate the places of productivity and vitality in the city. The question of an open urban shifts subtly from one of resistance to the abstract rationalities of "planning" or an "authoritarian state" to one of the maintenance of open relations between different "worlds" each with their necessary technical or abstract rationalities.
This article presents a reinterpretation of abstract space, the key concept of Henri Lefebvre’s magnum opus, The Production of Space. I argue that the full significance of the concept is only revealed through an engagement with Lefebvre’s broader work, which emphasizes his lifelong concern with abstraction, and which draws out the relationships between the concept and Lefebvre’s scattered writings on alienation, productivism, the state, spatial planning, and everyday life. Consistent with Lefebvre’s dialectical method, I interpret abstract space as internally related to the possibility of a differential space existing within its contradictions, which is in turn understood in relation to his wider concerns with autogestion, disalienation, and the politics of difference. Read in this way, the concept of abstract space can serve as a nucleus around which to orient many of Lefebvre’s key ideas, while remaining consistent with his own theoretical and political commitment to a "revolutionary romanticism."
This article considers the relation of the newsroom and the city as a lens into the more general relation of production spaces and mediated publics. Leading theoretically from Lee and LiPuma’s notion of "cultures of circulation," and drawing on an ethnography of the Toronto Star, the article focuses on how media forms circulate and are enacted through particular practices and material settings. With its attention to the urban milieus and orientations of media organizations, this article exhibits both affinities with and also differences to current interests in the urban architectures of media, which describe and theorize how media get "built into" the urban experience more generally. In looking at editing practices situated in the newsroom, an emphasis is placed on the phenomenological appearance of media forms both as objects for material assembly as well as more abstracted subjects of reflexivity, anticipation, and purposiveness. Although this is explored with detailed attention to the settings of the newsroom and the city, the article seeks to also provide insight into the more general question of how publicness is materially shaped and sited.
Flash mobs have spread, like wildfire, across the globe in recent years fuelling new uses of urban public space. The media has wondered if these events are simply pointless pranks, creative public performances, or mass social experiments in community building. Existing research emphasizes only the vital role of digital communications technology in the mobilization process. In contrast, this analysis shows through a broad range of examples from New York, London, Berlin, Budapest to Tokyo that these nascent forms of collective action are also important to examine because they provide insight into the intersection and interaction between new communications media and changing uses of physical urban space. It situates flash mobs in a historical context, constructs a basic typology of flash mob activity based on extensive Internet research, and theorizes it as a new form of sociability. It also explores how these examples of urban creativity have inspired commerce and politics to rediscover urban space, increasingly borrowing the organizational techniques of flash mobs in marketing campaigns and social protests.
This article examines lifeworlds and transformations in multiethnic and multireligious neighborhoods in Germany. The author illustrates how by way of minute everyday interactions and encounters, individuals and groups experience each other and devise new practices that aim to accommodate the cultural and religious needs of all involved. Based on ethnographic fieldwork in Stuttgart, this article argues that neighborhood spaces, everyday encounters, and ensuing cultural compromises are of fundamental importance for the construction of multiethnic and multireligious urban futures. The article focuses on the interaction of Muslim and non-Muslim individuals and groups in the context of individual, small group interactions, and larger neighborhood events. The author illustrates how concrete changes are negotiated and have become part of local practices and a distinct neighborhood ethos of cultural understanding and cooperation.
Western cities are becoming increasingly culturally diverse through the intersection of processes such as international migration and the political resurgence of Indigenous peoples. The challenge remains, however, to shift from physical copresence to equal rights to the city. This article explores this challenge in an empirical case study of Aboriginal participation in plans for urban development on the fringe of Sydney, Australia’s largest city. The findings from this research highlight the limits of official attempts at recognition that focus on a narrow definition of culture to the detriment of economic and political equity. It provides empirical support for a reconceptualization of recognition to incorporate redistribution in order to redress historical marginalization and dispossession that currently limit participation in the urban polity for diverse groups.
This article discusses the politics of rhythm and memory surrounding urban walking in Singapore. In recent years, the developmental state has organized programs to encourage ways to walk the global city it has built in the embrace of transnational capital. In the heritage trails in the city center and the inaugural Singapore Biennale of international art, which mapped the heritage trails, the state has appropriated historical space to synchronize the contradictory rhythms of the nation and globalization to cultivate cosmopolitan subjects. I show that the Biennale artists tried to subvert the state discourse on nation and heritage but only introduced alternative spectacles enhancing the visuality of walking the global city. Finally, I look at artist Amanda Heng’s work, which by tackling the very act of walking, is a critical intervention into the state’s appropriation of lifeworld rhythms and memories, bringing into question the spatial production of the global city.
This essay explores the role of media production within a framework of urban citizenship. Urban citizenship is defined in terms of strategies rather than location: not as a "bundle of rights, but as a struggle for expanding the public sphere." The possibilities of using media narratives and images to negotiate a place in the city are explored through a set of short films produced by participants in community arts projects in Sydney. I trace how media forms are a key to attending to the "unreal" materialities and temporalities of everyday dimensions of citizenship within states of exclusion.
Increased transnational and cross-cultural exchanges raise questions about the enduring meaning of site, locality, and rootedness. Media art’s ability to animate architecture offers provocative ways of reclaiming urban narratives and site-specificity. In Poland, such interventions into the urban landscape pluralize history and challenge the institutionalized narratives of cultural memory in order to rebuild the civic identity needed for a democratic politics. Aleksandra Polisiewicz’s (aka Aleka Polis) Wartopia and Rafal Jakubowicz’s Swimming Pool and Es Beginnt in Breslau use different media to explore forgotten or repressed local urban histories in attempts to resist the "collective amnesia" that has marked postsocialist attitudes toward the recent past. The ephemeral nature of these projects creates piercing mediations and juxtapositions between past and present, revealing the continuing importance of memory and history in processes of Polish self-enfranchisement. These are not nostalgic historical markers but rather meaningful assertions of locality in the face of cultural globalization and the isolation and alienation of a-historical and placeless communities.
This article deals with representations of the Northern Irish conflict by Polish migrants. It first sets the scene for the migration of Poles, discussing the issue of the sectarian divide. Subsequently, it presents a conceptual framework for understanding the construction of social representations. It then discusses migrants’ opposing tendencies to represent the ethno-religious boundaries as fixed and rigid on one hand and to represent them as fluid and shifting on the other hand. Whereas the tendency to represent the local conflict as of great consequence to migrants’ lives relates to a wider cultural knowledge, the tendency to point at ongoing social changes in Belfast is connected to a more direct exposure of Polish migrants to members of the local community.
This article examines the intersection of food, space, and performance within the experiences of food bloggers in London. It looks at the ways that Turkish grill (ocakbaş) restaurants in Dalston, London, are imagined, reinvented, defined, and approached in food blog writing. Bloggers provide the reader with personal narratives of their trip to the restaurant space. These narratives reveal sensual experiences of concern, anxiety, fear, excitement, and joy. This article pays attention both to the visceral realm and to discourse in order to understand the performances of space and body and the ways that they create fantasies of the familiar and strange in the bloggers’ experiences of walking in Dalston and sitting in its restaurants. This article tries to answer the following questions: How is authenticity produced and attached to space and body? What kinds of images are crucial in this production? The author argues that the production of authenticity is closely related to the reproduction of stereotypical images of class and gender in food blog narratives.
"Private," personal spaces such as the teenage bedroom are arguably one of the first spaces within which young people are able to articulate and represent their social and cultural lives, their transitions, experiences, aspirations, and identities. In this article, the author explores how bedrooms can be understood as constantly evolving and changing "material" spaces within which objects play an important role for young people in their articulations of youth culture in everyday life. Using Henri Lefebvre’s work on social space as a framework, the author argues that such spaces can be understood both as complex, rich "containers of meaning" within which teenagers articulate their current youth biographies as well as spaces within which "residual trails" can be found, thus a teenage bedroom takes on an important historical dimension, the space of which tells tales about its occupants, present and past.
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