It is well understood that good city is a place where citizenship, state and private world are represented, coexist in harmony and build successful relationships looking for a common good. For Ash Amin, the good city is achieved when the urban order is able to enhance the human experience (Amin 2006). In this essay, it will be use the idea of 'good city' as a democratic space, which through conflicts can change the balance between government, citizens and private realm, to produce new space meanings.
So here are my initial thoughts on the volume reblogged earlier on a recent book titled Total Landscape, Theme Parks, Public Space (2006) by Miodrag Mitrasinovic with Ashgate. I wanted to give the book a closer look before forming an opinion. And I still have questions as I haven’t gotten all the way through it yet…
If you’re unacquainted with the work of geographer Eric Laurier–who has authored publications with Chris Philo (whose book Selling Places edited with Gerry Kearns is a must-read)–you’re in for a treat.
Great research complemented by great writing–which isn’t always the case, of course.
For example, here’s the first paragraph from “Cold Shoulders and Napkins Folded: Gestures of Responsibility” (Laurier and Philo 2006):
“We find ourselves amongst others in the city. We are walking as pedestrians, pushing our way past others, making our excuses: ‘I’m running for a train’ (Lee and Watson 1993, 184). We are queuing at bus stops, letting others ahead. We are sitting on benches in the park feeding pigeons. We are holding open the doors of shops for others to pass through. We are hailing taxis. We are playing cards. We are eating in restaurants. We are drinking in bars. We are buying newspapers. We are hearing snatches of mobile phone conversations. We are catching one another’s eyes. We are waving at friends. We are shrugging our shoulders at this and laughing at that. / The city remains the place, above all, of living with others.” (Laurier and Philo 2006: 193)
The authors go on to discuss issues of public space, ethnomethodology and the city and refer to the work of Erving Goffman and Non-Representational Theorists…
A new, exciting museum is being planned to keep alive the rich history of reclaimed urban space in New York City. The Museum of Reclaimed Urban Space, MoRUS, will be located in the storefront of the historic East Village building C-Squat and will house artifacts like videos, photographs, fliers, posters and communiqués by grassroots community members who have squatted abandoned buildings, championed community gardens, and protested the restrictions placed on public space. MoRUS has the potential to strengthen transversal relays between activists and academics, and establish the environment and setting for new social creativity. However, it is not yet open to the public because it still needs additional funding. If you are interested, you can donate here: http://www.crowdrise.com/helpusstartanewhisto.
Dr. Reena Tiwari published a book called Space-Body-Ritual: Performativity in the City in which she puts a reading of Henri Lefebvre’s Rhythmanalysis to use in arguing for approaching the ‘city-as-body’, rather than ‘city-as-text’. It’s in my stack of current ‘to-reads’, and may be of interest to readers here.
Looking for information about the author, I came upon this Q&A, in which she touches on issues relating to urban architecture, public housing, poverty and migration. She makes some interesting points about making spaces that are ‘mixed’, both socioeconomically and public/private. Tiwari is both a scholar and an urban planner; is anyone here familiar with her book, or her work in general?
Note too that the website (www.cluster.eu) hosting this conversation may well be worth exploring, especially to readers interested in urban thought in Italy.