Cities and Fascination: Beyond the Surplus of Meaning by Heiko Schmid (ed.), Wolf-Dietrich Sahr (ed.), John Urry

By Heiko Schmid (ed.), Wolf-Dietrich Sahr (ed.), John Urry (ed.)

Bringing jointly top city students, this ebook discusses the linkages among the industrial, social and mental components of the city surroundings. It specializes in the expansion of non-public urbanity that has ended in a 'spectactularization' of town, the main severe component to cognizance being the fascination that is aroused via points of interest and state-managed occasions. The advanced features of this fascination are tested lower than the scale of aesthetics, feelings, lived studies and tool constructions and governance. The interdisciplinary nature of this assortment has large foreign attraction and may be of curiosity to lecturers of social and cultural geography and cultural and media reviews.

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There is no theory of the city in Heidegger’s works, only a general approach of space (Heidegger 1971) as a component of the human existence, called Wohnen [dwelling]. But the awareness of the Wohnen supposes Bodenständigkeit [rootedness] and rejects Neugier [curiosity], Gerede [gossip], or Zweideutigkeit [ambiguity], all urban attitudes that lead to an ‘oblivion of the being’. While it may be somewhat derogatory for the philosopher, I would argue that Marshall Philippe Pétain, the fascist guide of the État français, was the best pupil of Heidegger’s teaching (though he must have been unaware of it), when he repeated his creed about territorial planning and social policy: La terre ne ment pas [Land does not lie].

Burgess’ account of the evolution of differential urban social areas in 22 Cities and Fascination Chicago. Burgess (1925) and other adherents of the Chicago School observed that as distance from the urban core grew, the city would take the form of a series of concentric rings of diminishing density. Now imagine a city where fragmentation (geographical non-adjacency) and decentredness (polycentrism) are the primary urban drivers: there will be many urban cores, not one; independent edge-cities spring up with allegiance to no one city centre; conventional town centres are no longer at the heart of the urban process; suburbs, understood as peripheral accretions to dominant urban cores, no longer exist; and the agglomeration dynamics that historically produced cities have been replaced.

Thus, the heterogeneous spatial logics that characterize contemporary urban development derive from the ‘outside-in’, not ‘inside-out’ as in modernist urbanism; in the sequence of urban development, a centre – if one or more ever emerges – appears chronologically later than the peripheries; the direction of causality is from periphery to centre, even if (as often happens) this finds expression as an absence of direction. In short, the process of becoming urban involves altered structural and functional relationships at the inter- and intra-urban scale that are radically different from those in the modernist city.

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