MA Studies > Public space design > Public space design alumnus > Otto Paans

Otto Paans

Alumnus
Integrating the notions of place and non-place in public space design

Threshold of transition

Otto Paans (c) 2011-2012


(a pdf version of this essay has been published on Issuu: http://issuu.com/ottopaans/docs/thresholdoftransition)


Context, question and structure

After the Second World War, rapidly growing urban areas all over Western Europe were structured using modernistic planning ideas. Nowadays, we can look back and analyze the advantages and disadvantages of this type of planning. Especially the monotonuous, generic character, industrial outlook and open, exposed public spaces were criticized, as well as the consequences on social cohesion. This essay explores the relations between public space in postwar city areas and the notions of place and non-place.

Hence, this research revolves around this central question: How can the notions of non-place and place be integrated into public space design?

To answer this question, this essay explores four different places of the individual in a spatial setting:

 

1)  1)     the place of the passer-by: non-place

2)   2)   the place of the citizen: modernist space

3)      3)    the place of the interpreter: perception of space

4)     4)    the place of the wanderer: traversing place

 

The non-place will be the topic for the first paragraph. The second paragraph examines the modernist space and how it came into being. The third notion of ‘perception’ relates to the definition of place in a broader context. The perception of places as a mechanism to position yourself within a broader spatial and societal framework will be investigated. In conclusion, the fourth paragraph explores the link between the physical setting and the role of human actions.

 

1) the place of the passer-by: non-place


This paragraph will deal with the topic of the non-place, a phenomenon which can be described as an opposing polarity of place. The influential texts in this paragraph are ‘Non-Places, An Introduction to Supermodernity’, by Marc Auge and ‘The Practice of Everyday Life’ by Michel de Certeau. According to Auge, non-place can be described as a domain in which no deep social relations can be developed. Place and non-place co-exist and constantly traverse into each other, so these phenomena are not fixed states, but they are ingredients in a constant flux, not to be understood as fixed absolutes, but more as shifting conditions present in a certain space. 

Already a number of definitions for ‘place’[1]have been proposed, illustrating a range of possible perspectives. In its geographical sense, the concept of place is defined by its elements, which make it possible to discriminate between ‘here’ (a set of properties) and ‘there’ (another set of properties) This distinction is the foundation of orientation. The link between various definitions of place is that the notion of ‘place’ is always related to the notions of mobility and communication at that particular period. So it seems that the notion of place is not just constricted to the geographical definition, but also to a larger, anthropological framework.

Auge starts his survey of non-place with the concept of ‘anthropological place’. This is a theoretical definition of place as a network of history, relations, and identity. Those three notions are interconnected. For example, identity can be derived from knowing one’s place in relation to historical events.

The second concept introduced in Auge’s study is supermodernity. Summarized, the condition of ‘supermodernity’ consists of a spatial overabudance (due to increased means of mobility), overabudance of events and increased manifestation of the individuality (due to the increased means of communication and feedback)

Juxtaposing the concepts of anthropological place and supermodernity, the first case that could be argued is that traditional societies possess an intricate and fine-grained conception of anthropological place. An individual could easily relate to history through founding tales, traditions, customs and a fixed (religious) calendar. This whole societal structure forms the background against which the place of the individual is inscribed. This principle works also spatially. The naming of streets, squares, the erection of monuments all create a collective geography, or as De Certeau describes ‘(…) these words slowly rose, like worn coins, the value engraved on them, but their ability to signify outlives its first definition. (…) A strange toponomy that is detached from actual places and flies high over the city lke a foggy geography of meanings, held in suspension, directing the physical deambulations below…[2]’   The example mentioned by De Certeau shows how anthropological place comes into being: first as a label of a physical place, later on as a detached name, almost pure meaning in a collective geography. Similar mechanisms can be found in the ‘founding myths’ of African tribes. These myths provide people with a position relative to their history.

Nowadays, and due to the condition of supermodernity, the notion of the traditional anthropological place has been changed fundamentally. To explain why, Auge outlines the characteristics of non-places. The hypothesis advanced here is that  these characteristics also apply to modernist public spaces.

The first characteristic is discouraging of establishing lasting social relations[3].Non-places are not made to actually develop a social life in. ‘One can move through them (highway, corridor), one can stay a short time (hotel room, loungebar) and one is able to consume (supermarket, shopping mall). In the case of post-war neighbourhoods, the public space has characteristics of an utilitarian non-place, while the life of people develops inside their house, or elsewhere. In the non-places Auge describes (airports, hotels…) people are complete strangers to each other. A similar complaint is heard when it comes to post-war neighbourhoods.

Auge argues: ‘The space of non-place creates neither singular identity nor relations, only solitude and similitude[4].Extending these features to modernistic public space, the whole lay-out consists indeed of signs as argued above, adressing all of the inhabitants, but relating to none of them. Especially striking in the argument of Auge is the word ‘similitude’. The feeling of being similar and nondescript is a form of monotony, not in a spatial but in a relational sense. It could be argued that the low involvement of people with their neighbourhood is an indirect consequence of this similitude.

The second characteristic is the role of identity. Auge states that anthropological place is created by individual identities and collective references[5]and then defines the mechanisms by which this is process is accomplished. In sharp contrast he argues that non-place createsidentity[6]. It is precisely the word ‘creates’which describes a fundamental difference in the meaning of ‘identity’ in place and non-place. In the first case, relations and references from the surrounding are responsible for the emergence of a meaningful anthropological place. In the second case, an identity is created from scratch and imposed on the individual. In a comparable way, modernistic planning  abstracted the individual to a set of parameters to inform generic design decisions.

When identity is imposed on an individual, the role of language changes – and that is the third characteristic. One-way communication is enough to instruct the subject and to give him feedback (access granted or denied). This instructive narrative has only meaning as an ‘users manual’. The lines and arrows on the road, colored lights which indicate movements or stops, white bricks to delineate parking areas…they all instruct the user. Without for example cars, their meaning is obscure. ‘The private motorcar  is the logical instrument for exercizing that right [of free movement], and the effect on the public space, especially the space of the urban street, is that the space becomes meaningless and even maddening unless it can be subordinated to free movement.’[7]In a space controlled by texts, signs, flows and symbols, the user himself has become a passer-by, an individual in transit, in a constant state of movement. De Certeau illustrates this state perfectly when he describes walking: ‘to walk is to lack a place[8]’.In non-places, this applies for all movements in general. Even when not moving, the user of the non-places is trapped between signs which will instruct him what to do next. As such, he is being kept in a state of suspension, again lacking a place. This state is the far opposite of residence, of dwelling[9]. The movie ‘The Terminal’ (Steven Spielberg, 2004) is a fitting example of this state. Instead of encouraging a form of actually inhabiting space, non-places encourage a form of constant ‘lacking place’ for its users.

Michel de Certeau defines ‘place’ as the ordered setting of co-existing elements in which movements, spatial practices and directions occur. He defines the presence of these movements and practices as ‘space’ - a reversal of the usual terminology. In other words: ‘space is a practiced place’.[10]So he argues that space (Auge’s ‘place’!) is made by the movements (and presence) of people. De Certeau is well aware of the implications of this statement when he says ‘there are as many spaces as there are distinct spatial experiences.[11]So, without an experiencing agent (the user) the space does not exist. Auge’s non-place reduces all these distinct experiences and transforms them into ‘similitude’ earlier mentioned. As such, we arrive at a definition of non-place as a ‘place which can be practiced without in-depth relations.The setting reduces the practitioner-user to a subject in a setting which does not allow for the creation of an anthropological place. In non-place spatial practices can be carried out, but the user is a passer-by, subjected to temporality.

In his blog, Eric Paul Dennis argues The new quasi-public spaces of supermodernity are designed primarily to distill and concentrate the aspects of humanity useful to the roles of producers and consumers in the global economy. The remaining aspects of humanity are negated and oppressed. As a city is increasingly occupied by non-place, it is increasingly occupied by non-people– asocial beings functioning only in their capacity to serve the system[12] – the author clearly perceives non-place as a negative and even destructive phenomenon, when he states that it negates and oppresses humanity, creating asocial beings. However, returning to Auge’s examples of non-places (airports, hotels, highways) we can observe that these are settings which answer to social codes. It might not be the social setting which allows people to enter into deep, personal relations. However, it is a setting which alludes to humane and socially acceptable behavior. A hotel substitutes for ‘home’, and as such appears as a configuration in which people feel at ease, although in an anonymous, fleeting way. The same logic applies to airports. Although a space of transits and instructions, people are subjected to a system of visual and spatial coding which creates an atmosphere of ‘homeliness’ even when far away from home.

Precisely in this instructional ‘gentle possession’[13]is the potential of non-place articulated. ‘(…) a person entering non-place is relieved of his usual determinants. He becomes no more than what he does or experiences in the role of passenger, customer or driver. Perhaps he is still weighed down by the previous day’s worries, the next day’s concerns; but he is distracted from them by the environment of the moment. (…) he tastes for a while – like anyone who is possessed – the passive joys of identity-loss, and the more active pleasure of role-playing.[14]With the increased intensity of traversions of non-place into place, holding on to the concept of ‘placemaking’ might be unnecessary. For example, ‘placemaking’ as a term seems to refer to the activity of actually making a place. The headline definition offered by the PPS[15](Project for Public Spaces) is as follows: ’Placemaking’ is both an overarching idea and a hands-on tool for improving a neighborhood, city or region. It has the potential to be one of the most transformative ideas of this century.’ As a definition, it is rather vague. The works at the PPS seem to be inspired on the works of Jane Jacobs and William H. Whyte, but they rest also on a number of (documented) disadvantages of these works, for example historicism as a marker of identity and blaming car traffic and modernism for the condition of the public space. The next paragraph will deal specifically with modernism in its spatial sense.

 

2) the place of the citizen: modernist space

 

The planning and realization of large quantities of urban tissue during the reconstruction period after the Second World War, together with the industrialization of the building sector[16]led to places with spatial and relational characteristics which are classified here as ‘modernist space’.

Modernist space has a rational outlook, and to understand why this functionalist methodology was applied, one needs to take the societal structure and ideas about private life during the ’50s and ‘60s into account. In the reconstruction period, the state institutions beame more and more influential in organizing people’s private lives, the start of a development which would culminate into the welfare state.[17]So, an institutional and disciplinary field emerged between state and citizen, controlling various aspects of private life. Healthcare, education, birth control and social work were increasingly professionalized. The emergence of ‘the social field’ combined with the belief that society could be transformed at will is illustrative of this historical period. An article written on Pendrecht, a neighbourhood in Rotterdam, designed in 1949 is typical for the view on society and the spatial consequences: Pendrecht consisted of modular building types (typically distributed on calculated expected family sizes) and continuous open and half-open spaces. Its designer – Lotte Stam-Beese - commented: ‘Our democratic system preferably excludes ‘not-partaking’. We stand in space and are a part of it’.[18]In a plea for realizing flats (1953) she argued that highrise ‘frees’ the soil of anything which is ‘owned’. ‘It removes the private, but it gives the public, the collective back to us[19]’ Clearly, public concern was deemed more important than private issues.

The idea was that a neutral, repetitive and collective structure would be a background for all activities, to be employed by inhabitants: ‘We’ve decided very consciously that we don’t use any variation in buildings, because it makes no sense. We trust that the diversity and the social configurations of the inhabitants will manifest itself, so that the apparent similarity and monotony will be negated. [20] Van Winkel argues that ‘the social field’ was envisioned as something autonomous, something able to develop on it’s own in a neutral and supporting spatial setting. Or ‘an empty stage on which a continuously changing image of publicness and citizenship will present itself’.[21]So, the generic outlook was not only an inevitable result of industriallized building methods, but a conscious design decision.

The whole issue of employing citizenship spatially developed already during the Second World War. Architects developed visions about cities assembled from neighbourhood units, free-standing highrise within the greenery and meticulously calculated distances for daily needs[22]. Overvecht, an area in Utrecht is one such example. The problem with this idea was one of anthropological place ‘In retrospect, Overvecht appears to be the product, like other post-war estates in the Netherlands of a somewhat naive belief in a better and above all, malleable society. Dutch society was more neatly ordered than it is today, with the white family as its cornerstone’[23],[24]

Already in the ‘60s, various urban planners[25]and psychiatrists[26] criticized the modernistic ideology and the perceived generic character. The absence of clear landmarks only reinforced this perception. A disadvantage of this rationalist, predetermined space is its inflexibility. As Lars Spuybroek puts it: ‘The classic Greek lattice grid is a system that separates the infrastructural movement from material structure. (…) We must consider the orthogonal grid as a frozen condition’[27]The current problems in those areas expose the inflexibility of this type of planning.

The principles of modernism (transparency, living above ground level etc.) in combination with a strict method of urban planning is a Western invention. With the arrival of immigrants of diverse ethnic backgrounds, the modernist space was inhabited by people with other perceptions of ‘house’, ‘public space’, ‘garden’...the manifestation of collective citizenship in public space was an alien concept to the new inhabitants. The urban structure (‘the frozen condition’) was not designed with these specific targetgroups in mind, so mismatches between the physical lay-out and their users occured frequently, leading to decline of these areas. Nowadays, many neighbourhoods have to deal with a lack of social cohesion, relative poverty and low involvement of the inhabitants with their residential areas.[28],[29]Partially, distancing of inhabitants from their environments stems from the generic[30]character (and subsequent lack of identity)

A good example of a cultural difference and urban mismatch is the role of the private life in Moroccan and Turkish communities. The family life is inside, behind walls and curtains, while women have to wear a headscarf in public. The transparency of the house would mean for these people that the public sphere impedes their private lives and related freedoms. So, nowadays, the facades which were meant to be transparent and open are almost totally closed. Concluding, the theory which lies behind the design of modernistic space was a logical product of the view on society in the ‘50s and 60s of the 20th century. The development of a network society and the changed view on the individual and the public domain expose the inflexibility of modernist space in dealing with developments outside its own ideals. Basically, post-war areas are the conflict zone between two anthropological places. How these anthropological places come into being is the subject of the next paragraph.

  

3) the place of the interpreter: perception of places

 

This paragraph deals with the perception of places. The notion of perception is intertwined with the image people compose of their surroundings. As such, it offers an angle with which the topic of ‘place’ can be approached, not by analyzing place itself, but by looking closer at the translation mechanism which people utilize to make sense of their environment. The goal is not to describe how perception works, but what it actually does. An influential text for this paragraph is the study by Maurice Merleau-Ponty, titled ‘The Phenomenology of Perception.’

When talking about non-places and describing them as ‘anonymous’, ‘impersonal’, or ‘generic’ it seems that people refer to a standard, compared to which certain places look anonymous or impersonal to them, while others look for example appealing or possess specific features. Strict empiricism to evaluate who likes which place best and why is unlikely to tell something about the functioning of perception itself. Merleau-Ponty starts his treatise on space with this dichotomy: Space is not the setting (real or logical) in which things are arranged, but the means whereby the position of things becomes possible. This means that instead of imagining it as a sort of ether in which all things float, or conceiving it abstractly as a characteristic that they have in common, we must think of it as the universal power enabling them to be connected. Therefore, either I do not reflect, but live among things and vaguely regard space at one moment as the setting for things, at another as their common attribute—or else I do reflect: I catch space at its source, and now think the relationships which underlie this word [space], realizing then that they live only through the medium of a subject who traces out and sustains them; and pass from spatialized to spatializing space.[31] The last lines echo the ideas of De Certeau, who argues that spatial practices carve place into space. In other words: De Certeau describes the continuous process of spatializing space. The experiencing agent creates the space, he constructs a model of the world to which he attaches labels. The phrasing ‘space at its source’ is particulary interesting – refering to the creation of spaces by spatial practices – connecting physical setting and co-existence.

Exploring the topic of co-existence, Merleau-Ponty states But co-existence, which in fact defines space, is not alien to time, but is the fact of two phenomena belonging to the same temporal wave. As for the relationship of the perceived object to my perception, it does not unite them in space and outside time: they are contemporary’.[32]Again, it is co-existence, the ‘relations which underlie the word [space]’ which constructs a model of space. In this quote, the element of time is added. It is not only the spatial and relational setting which provides components for the model of the world, but the connection with time is influential as well: The ‘order of co-existents’ is inseparable from the ‘order of sequences’, or rather time is not only the consciousness of a sequence. Perception provides me with a ‘field of presence’ in the broad sense, extending in two dimensions: the here-there dimension and the past-present-future dimension. The second elucidates the first’.[33]It is here that the ideas of Merleau-Ponty touch upon the concept of ‘anthropological place’ as defined by Auge. The anthropological place is comprised of identity (presence) relations (here-there) and history (past, but also future) For people, the anthropological place is the field of presence which enables them to anchor themselves in the spatial setting.

So, through perception people are able to create an anthropological place. According to Merleau-Ponty, the ‘traditional problem of the perception of space and perception generally must be reintegrated into a vaster problem.[34] That vaster problem is the functioning of experience: some events are marked as distinct because they stand out against a neutral background – the everyday life and common sense. However, the act of perception is not just adding new experiences to the library. ‘In the natural attitude, I do not have perceptions, I do not posit this object as beside that one, along with their objective relationships, I have a flow of experiences which imply and explain each other both simultaneously and successively’.[35] The experience of place is not only processing input from the senses, it is also the process of actually making sense of the environment by arranging input into a model which can be comprehended.[36] When experiencing or remembering a place, it is associated with many fragmented, distinct experiences, standing out against of a more neutral, descriptive background of the place. The subject selects a number of experiential fragments and assembles them in a constellation which is meaningful to himself.

For example, a holiday can be remembered by both the tastes, conversations and sounds, but also by it’s factual location, the context etc. which is more factual than experiential. A person, however, joins his experiences with the factual description into one model. His ‘Amsterdam’ is not the ‘Amsterdam’ of his neighbor. In his head is a space called Amsterdam, his own myth. Dreams, hallucinations and memories are in that sense equally artificial. They are mythical spaces, made from specific experiential fragments.

Both Auge en De Certeau deal with the mythical space. The anthropological place alludes to founding myths, symbols and traces of the past. The street names and signs mentioned by De Certeau detach themselves and become myths, worlds in themselves. As Merleau-Ponty argues: ’The myth itself, however diffuse, has an identifiable significance for primitive man, simply because it does form a world, that is, a whole in which each element has meaningful relations with the rest.[37]The myth has not only value for the primitive man, but also for the city-dweller in the 21st century. The whole of meaningful relations within the myth is comparable to the anthropological place.

When describing the characteristics of smooth space (in this case comparable to non-place) Deleuze and Guattari state ‘Riemann [smooth] space at its most general thus presents itself as an amorphous collection of pieces that are juxtaposed but not attached to each other’[38]. Compare this to Auge’s description of non-place: ‘the face and voice of solitude made all more baffling by the fact that it echoes millions of others.’[39]So, the non-place can be considered a place of objects existing next to each other, while the anthropological, mythical place ‘does form a world, that is, a whole in which each element has meaningful relations with the rest’[40].

Concluding, the mechanisms which make up perception allow for the construction of an anthropological place. This anthropological place possesses the characteristics and values of the mythical place, thereby creating relations between perceptive subject, space and ‘the rest of the world’. So, perception is not just the act of seeing, feeling or hearing, it is also that which allows people to extract meaning from a collection of fragments. The next paragraph will deal with the relationships of anthropological place, non-place and the spatial setting.

 

4) the place of the wanderer: traversing place


Non-places like postwar neighbourhoods are often described as ‘generic’, ‘without character’ etc. Seemingly, the observer has no clues to describe the location. He is not able to extract some elements which can be incorporated into a mythical place in his mind, except maybe a sense of overwhelming boredom. But the lack of characteristics does not per se result in a non-place. Picture someone who fell in love with his partner on a certain metrostation. This location will certainly not be characterized as a non-place by this person. However, the elements of generic and specific certainly play a role in the perception of a physical location. From a generic context, specific clues can be acquired through the process of perception, effectively traversing from non-place into place, from generic into specific, from undefined into defined.

The traversion of place into non-place constantly takes place in a physical setting, and although people play the major role in these transitions, this does not mean that the built environment is out of the equation. The link between human action and spatial setting is the dichotomy of ‘space’ and ‘place’ described by De Certeau.

The interplay between place and non-place is very precisely described in a passage by Giles Deleuze and Felix Guattari: ‘It is possible to define this multiplicity without any reference to a metrical system, in terms of the conditions of frequency, or rather accumulation, of a set of vicinities (…) It has rhytmic values not found elsewhere, even though they can be translated in metric space.[41]This quote makes one think of De Certeau, who mentioned (although independently from Deleuze and Guattari) the ‘chorus of idle footsteps[42] and the presence of movements which are influential in the creation of place through frequenting the physical location.

De Certeau describes the relationship between frequency and space, but he focuses more on the relation between actions and physical setting, the practices of carving place into space. However, his description tells not so much about the nature of the actions carried out and their influence on the spatial setting. A non-place is not a wasteland or an abandoned area. An urban area during rush hour can be a lively and interesting location, where the beauty of flows and the purposes of movements are fully manifested. As such, we describe the conditions of that space as non-place. However, if the rush hour is over, the spatial setting remains. Even when empty, it is a setting subjected to movement. The lines on the road, the signs and the street layout all point in the direction of movement which can take place here. The location is generic, but has a certain theme. It is precisely the spatial translation of the rhytmic values, even present in absence of movement mentioned by Deleuze and Guattari. It is a spatial setting of temporality, instructions and passing through. The visitor is subjected to being ‘in between’. His destination is not this location, this street or this lane, but is somewhere else.    

Consider the opposite situation in relation to anthropological place: a market square in an historical city center occupied by talking and drinking people turns in a place of relations, history and identity, but after closing hours becomes more and more a non-place, a space to pass through. However, part of the anthropological place is still present in the surrounding buildings. History is reflected in the buildings around the square, its relation with the streets and the functions within the buildings. The absence of social relations reinforces the non-place conditions, but the intricate structure of the anthropological place is always present, much like the street signs mentioned by De Certeau[43]. Picture a same terrace inside an IKEA, and what is apparent is the lack of historical context and distinguishable identity. Identity is here indeed linked to history, because they are connected through ‘the flow of experiences which imply and explain each other both simultaneously and successively’ as Merleau-Ponty states[44]. As the spatial setting becomes more historical, meaning becomes easily readible through the process of perception by people. Interestingly, people visit now certain metro stations in Moscow[45], because over time they have developed into locations of history, almost monuments.

So, the traversion between place and non-place occurs on multiple levels: through frequention by people, but also by the slow manifestation of history, of the anthropological place gradually traversing the non-place conditions.

Because place and non-place never exist as pure states or pure conditions, the non-place is created throughprocesses of frequenting as well. The passer-by in the street station creates non-place through his flow, his movement underlines the fact that this is a space of transits. However, a person in the same street who talks to his neighbour creates an anthropological place. The public domain is riddled with actions which constantly traverse place into non-place and back. The study of Auge deals specifically with locations where the balance is shifted in favor of non-place conditions. His example of the supermarket as a non-place is true to the extent that it is a transit setting, but the condition that remains obscure in his description is that nowadays supermarkets are important places for people to meet each other, share stories, memories and ideas - in short where spatial practices are carried out and anthropological places come into being.

Where Auge is very accurate in his description of non-place is the role of the individual. Non-places are not set up to facilitate communities. It is an organizational format for the individual in passing through. Precisely the same conditions are present in post-war neighbourhoods. Community projects to make people actually meet each other and exchange information are attempts to traverse from non-place towards place conditions, to traverse co-existing individuality into organic community. Non-places contain no world, - ‘that is, a whole in which each element has meaningful relations with the rest’,[46]they rather contain an amorphous collection of pieces that are juxtaposed but not attached to each other’.[47]

A possibility of utilizing the traversion of place into non-place and back in public space design is to create opportunites in public space use it individually, but at the same time offering choices to join communities. This duality also applies to the spatial setting. The setting could show the generic beauty of the postwar neighbourhoods, but should allow also specific clues for people to grasp. The wanderer in the generic landscape should be able to move on anonymously, but should also be offered the chance to engage in relations, to negotiate his identity, to create history. The goal here is to utilize the non-place qualities present in public space, while at the same time consciously offering opportunities for people to create anthropological places within the coordinates of the non-place. Thus a negotiation of the relationship between place and non-place occurs, instead of preferring one above the other.

A practical application of this negotiation could be a pairing of behavioural and architectural patterns – a very specific form of spatial practices. Insight in patterns of various groups could be a guideline in developing architectural formats to facilitate meeting, gathering and staying and moving. A good example of this pairing are for example the 7-11 stores, small nodes with a limited but broad assortment of goods to facilitate the varied targetgroups. Those stores embody the idea of a flexible yet necessary facility, enriching the direct surroundings. More importantly, those small nodes and the activities around them could be specific landmarks in a generic landscape, or as George Perec puts it: ‘You’re moved almost if you come across the Air France office, on the verge of tears if you see Le Monde on a news stand.’[48] when describing his experience at a foreign airport. Auge arrives almost at the same conclusion: ‘A paradox of non-place: a foreigner lost in a country he does not know (…) can feel at home there only in the anonimity of motorways, service stations, big stores or hotel chains. For him, an oil company logo is a reassuring landmark’.[49]

In this field of exchanges between place and non-place is the potential of the wanderer’s place articulated: freed of his or her identity, a person traversing the frictions between place and non-place is in a constant act of negotiation. Moving in between two polarities, he or she plays the game of identity: The presence of place is never completely erased, and the presence of non-place is never fully completed[50]. In this field of traversion, identity is rewritten and re-inscribed spatially again and again. Without those rewritings, the wanderer would have no role. The relation between human and spatial setting is marked by this passing through and creation inside the physical environment, giving meaning to what we build and what we perceive.


 Literature


Books


Auge M., Non-Places, an introduction to supermodernity. Verso, 2006

Cullen, G., The concise townscape, Elsevier/Architectural Press, edition 2008

De Certeau, M., The Practice of Everyday Life, University of California Press, 1984

Deleuze, G. and Guattari, F., A Thousand Plateaus, Continuum Impacts, London, 2004, p. 535

Ellin, N., Postmodern Urbanism, Princeton Architectural Press, New York, revised edition 1999

Koerse, W., De grenzeloze stad, Uitgeverij Thoth, Bussum, 1997

Kool, R., Ten Westenend, N., Kijken naar Overvecht, NAI Uitgevers, 2011

Merleau-Ponty, M., The Phenomenology of Perception, Gallimard, Paris, 1945, edition 2002

Perec, G., Species of spaces, Penguin Group, edition 2008, translation by John Sturrock, 1997

Salingaros, N., Principles of Urban Structure, Techne Press, 2005

Sennett, R., The Fall of Public Man, Penguin Books, Londen, 1974, edition 2002

Spuybroek, L., The Architecture of Continuity – The structure of vagueness, NAi Uitgevers/V2, 2008

Uytenhaak, R., Steden vol ruimte, kwaliteiten van dichtheid, Uitgeverij 010 Rotterdam, 2e druk, 2009

Winkel van, C., Moderne Leegte. Over Kunst en Openbaarheid. SUN Uitgevers, 1999


Studies


Dienst Stadsontwikkeling Utrecht, Spelregels voor de ontwikkeling van Overvecht-Zuid, Augustus 2008

Planbureau voor Leefomgeving, Krachtwijken met karakter. NAi Uitgevers

Cultuurhistorische verkenningen en ruimtelijke analyse, Utrecht NaOorlogse Wijken: Overvecht. Urban Fabric, Steenhuis Landschap/Stedenbouw, Schiedam, 2006


Articles

 

Hauge, A.L., Architectural Science Review, march 2007, Identity and Place: A Critical Review of three identity theories. [HighBeam Research.org]

 

Blogs

 

Dennis, E.P. – Losing public spaces or creating non-places? – blog: www.yeahokthen.com (January 2012)

 

Websites

 

[http://www.pps.org/articles/what_is_placemaking] (March 2012)

[http://onthemove.autogrill.com/gen/lieux-non-lieux/news/2009-01-26/places-and-non-places-a-conversation-with-marc-auge] (May 2012)

[http://www.smartmoscow.com/metro/metrostation.htm]  (June 2012)

 

Notes



[1]Most notably Yi-Fu Tuan in Space and Place: The perspective of experience (1976), Tim Cresswell in Place: A Short Introduction (2004), Doreen Massey in For Space (2005), Christopher Alexander in Notes on The Synthesis of Form (1964) and Kevin Lynch in Good City Form (1981)

[2] De Certeau, M., The Practice of Everyday Life, transl. Steven F. Rendall, University of California Press, 1984, p. 104

[3][http://onthemove.autogrill.com/gen/lieux-non-lieux/news/2009-01-26/places-and-non-places-a-conversation-with-marc-auge] (May 2012)

[4] Auge M., Non-Places, an introduction to supermodernity. Verso, 2006, p. 83

[5] Auge M., Non-Places, an introduction to supermodernity. Verso, 2006, p. 42

[6] Auge M., Non-Places, an introduction to supermodernity. Verso, 2006, p. 84

[7]Sennett, R., The Fall of Public Man, Penguin Books, Londen, 1974, edition 2002, p. 14

[8] De Certeau, M., The Practice of Everyday Life, transl. Steven F. Rendall, University of California Press, 1984, p. 103

[9] The definition of ‘place’ connected to ‘dwelling’ and ‘rest’ has been forwarded by both Martin Heidegger and Yi-Fu Tuan. With the publication of ‘A Global Sense of Place’ (1991) by Doreen Massey and Non-Places, An Introduction to Supermodernity’ (1992) by Marc Auge, the line of thinking about places as a result of flows and fluxes became more widespread.

[10] De Certeau, M., The Practice of Everyday Life, transl. Steven F. Rendall, University of California Press, 1984, p. 117

[11] De Certeau, M., The Practice of Everyday Life, transl. Steven F. Rendall, University of California Press, 1984, p. 118

[12]Dennis, E.P. – Losing public spaces or creating non-places? – blog: www.yeahokthen.com (January 2012)

[13] Auge M., Non-Places, an introduction to supermodernity. Verso, 2006, p. 83

[14] Auge M., Non-Places, an introduction to supermodernity. Verso, 2006, p. 83

[15] [http://www.pps.org/articles/what_is_placemaking/] (March 2012)

[16]Cultuurhistorische verkenningen en ruimtelijke analyse, Utrecht NaOorlogse Wijken: Overvecht. Urban Fabric, Steenhuis Landschap/Stedenbouw, Schiedam, 2006, p. 8

[17] van Winkel, C., Moderne Leegte. Over Kunst en Openbaarheid. SUN Uitgevers, 1999, p. 25

[18] van Winkel, C., Moderne Leegte. Over Kunst en Openbaarheid. SUN Uitgevers, 1999, p. 30, citing Lotte Stam-Beese, unpublished lecture (1958) cited in Bijhouwer, Ruimtewerking en ritmiek p. 102

[19] van Winkel, C., Moderne Leegte. Over Kunst en Openbaarheid. SUN Uitgevers, 1999, p. 30, citing Lotte Stam-Beese, unpublished lecture (1958) cited in Bijhouwer, Ruimtewerking en ritmiek p. 102

[20] van Winkel, C., Moderne Leegte. Over Kunst en Openbaarheid. SUN Uitgevers, 1999, p. 31, citing Lotte Stam-Beese, aantekening bij het uitbreidingsplan Pendrecht, p. 122

[21] van Winkel, C., Moderne Leegte. Over Kunst en Openbaarheid. SUN Uitgevers, 1999, p. 31, citing Lotte Stam-Beese, aantekening bij het uitbreidingsplan Pendrecht, p. 122

[22]Kool, R., Ten Westenend, N., Kijken naar Overvecht, NAI Uitgevers, 2011, essay by Meurs, P. – Overvecht, a Dream Neighbourhood, p. 12

[23] van Winkel, C., Moderne Leegte. Over Kunst en Openbaarheid. SUN Uitgevers, 1999, p. 14-15

[24]Kool, R., Ten Westenend, N., Kijken naar Overvecht, NAI Uitgevers, 2011, essay by Meurs, P. – Overvecht, a Dream Neighbourhood, p. 29

[25]Ellin, N., Postmodern Urbanism, Princeton Architectural Press, New York, revised edition 1999, p. 34-35

[26] van Winkel, C., Moderne Leegte. Over Kunst en Openbaarheid. SUN Uitgevers, 1999, p. 45-48

[27]Spuybroek, L., The Architecture of Continuity – The structure of vagueness, NAi Uitgevers/V2, 2008, p. 137

[28]Dienst Stadsontwikkeling Utrecht, Spelregels voor de ontwikkeling van Overvecht-Zuid, Augustus 2008

[29]Planbureau voor Leefomgeving, Krachtwijken met karakter. NAi Uitgevers, p. 151-158

[30]Cullen, G., The concise townscape, Elsevier/Architectural Press, edition 2008. Cullen states that there is an art of architecture and an art of relationships, and out of this statement, he further develops his principle of the ‘serial vision’. Part of his study tries to uncover the ‘specific’ and the ‘generic’ through this methodology, p. 7-8.

[31]Merleau-Ponty, M., The Phenomenology of Perception, Gallimard, Paris, 1945, edition 2002, p. 284

[32]Merleau-Ponty, M., The Phenomenology of Perception, Gallimard, Paris, 1945, edition 2002, p. 309

[33]Merleau-Ponty, M., The Phenomenology of Perception, Gallimard, Paris, 1945, edition 2002, p. 309

[34]Merleau-Ponty, M., The Phenomenology of Perception, Gallimard, Paris, 1945, edition 2002, p. 327

[35]Merleau-Ponty, M., The Phenomenology of Perception, Gallimard, Paris, 1945, edition 2002, p. 327

[36] According to the place-identity theory[36]place entails also ‘the individual's incorporation of place into the larger concept of self defined as a "potpourri of memories, conceptions, interpretations, ideas, and related feelings about specific physical settings, as well as types of settings’ [definition from an article by Hauge, A.L., Architectural Science Review, march 2007, p. 5. [HighBeam Research.org]

[37]Merleau-Ponty, M., The Phenomenology of Perception, Gallimard, Paris, 1945, edition 2002, p. 341

[38]Deleuze, G. and Guattari, F., A Thousand Plateaus, Continuum Impacts, London, 2004, p. 535

[39] Auge M., Non-Places, an introduction to supermodernity. Verso, 2006, p. 82

[40]Merleau-Ponty, M., The Phenomenology of Perception, Gallimard, Paris, 1945, edition 2002, p. 341

[41]Deleuze, G. and Guattari, F., A Thousand Plateaus, Continuum Impacts, London, 2004, p. 535-536

[42] De Certeau, M., The Practice of Everyday Life, transl. Steven F. Rendall, University of California Press, 1984, p. 97

[43] De Certeau, M., The Practice of Everyday Life, transl. Steven F. Rendall, University of California Press, 1984, p. 104

[44]Merleau-Ponty, M., The Phenomenology of Perception, Gallimard, Paris, 1945, edition 2002, p. 327

[45][http://www.smartmoscow.com/metro/metrostation.htm]  (June 2012)

[46]Merleau-Ponty, M., The Phenomenology of Perception, Gallimard, Paris, 1945, edition 2002, p. 341

[47]Deleuze, G. and Guattari, F., A Thousand Plateaus, Continuum Impacts, London, 2004, p. 535

[48]Perec, G., Species of spaces, Penguin Group, edition 2008, translation by John Sturrock, 1997, p. 63

[49] Auge M., Non-Places, an introduction to supermodernity. Verso, 2006, p. 86

[50] Auge M., Non-Places, an introduction to supermodernity. Verso, 2006, p. 64


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