Path to the Possible

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Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities, my translation:

The inferno of the living is not something that will be. If there is one, it is that which is already here, the inferno that we inhabit every day, that we create by being together. There are two ways to escape suffering it. The first is easy for most: accept the inferno and become such a complete part of it that you no longer know it is there. The second is risky and requires vigilance and continuous attention: seek and learn to recognize who and what, in the midst of inferno, are not inferno, and help them endure, give them space.

David Foster Wallace in L. McCaffrey, Conversations with David Foster Wallace, p. 26:

Look man, we’d probably most of us agree that these are dark times, and stupid ones, but do we need fiction that does nothing but dramatize how dark…

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The Semaphore Line

Presentation screengrab

I’m in the process of putting together a research presentation for January. It’s something all first year PhD students in sociology at the University of Warwick have to do, and it’s a nice way to introduce your thesis to the other students, as well as helping formulate your own plans. I’ve started to put the bulk of it into MS PowerPoint but decided I’d have a little play about with Prezi, which is great for adding a few neat visual touches and is far more flexible than PowerPoint.

After trying a couple of their pre-formatted designs I decided I’d search for a suitable background image. I first typed in something general like ‘digital maps’ and ‘map game boards’ because I wanted to re-create the sequential format Prezi seems to like, with arrows and frames and also play on the urban exploration side of mapping. Then I had a bit of…

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Peter Marcuse's Blog

Blog #25 – Re-imagining the City critically

Re-imagining the city can be a provocation to reconsider and expand the range of possibilities for a city in the future. It can simply be an opportunity for an unfettered imagination physically to design something completely new and different, not tethered to the existing city. Or it can open the door to a fundamentally critical view of the existing city, questioning the social and economic and organizational principles that underlie its present constitution and are normally taken for granted. The best of classic utopias do both. What follows focuses only on the latter, on the imagining not of the physical but of the human principles and practices on which an imagined city could be based. It raises some critical questions about some of principles and practices as they implicitly exist today and imagines some alternatives.

If we were not concerned with the existing…

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Experimental Geography in Practice

New topological geo-imaginaries have to some extent supplanted landscape as a medium for theorising space and nature-culture realtions. Such accounts of space aim to challenge the static conceptions of space, measurement, distance, surface, and perspective developed by traditional landscape studies.

Those writing in a vitalist Deluezian-Bersonian vein, for example, express space as a matter of force, energy and process, and thus present geographies as being animated through their continual becoming (e.g. Thrift 2000; Dewsbury 2002; Marston et al 2005). While such accounts have done much to re-stress the dynamic materiality of space, its ‘entanglements’, these topological accounts of space (particularly those drawing on Actor-Network Theory (ANT)) are at risk reiterating the world as a flat grid-like surface; as Euclidean geometries have done for centuries.

 

 

Some geographers, like Mitch Rose and John Wylie, therefore want to reinstate notions of ‘landscape’ or the ‘topographical’ back into topological and vitalist geographies…

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SFU City

From thisbigcity:

… sustainable urbanism doesn’t just happen, it needs to be encouraged through the design of our cities. And though formal education isn’t a critical component of being a good urban designer, it is the path that many people follow before entering the profession. So as our cities and planet experience unprecedented change, how are universities responding with their urban design education options? Are we seeing an influx of new courses that proactively address the transformation of our cities? Are existing courses radically altering their teaching to prepare students for the difficult task of creating sustainable cities? Er, no.

In fact, whilst more of the same is the last thing our cities are promising us, more of the same is exactly what we’re getting in universities. Into decorating? That’s Interior Design. Want to design buildings? That’s Architecture. Cities? That’s Urban Planning. Green space? That’s Landscape Architecture. Though the reality of each…

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Progressive Geographies

The recordings from the Thinking Urban Worlds workshop in Durham last week are now available – Andy MerrifieldStuart Elden, Simon Marvin, with an introduction by Colin McFarlane and discussant comments by Gordon MacLeod. There are also written reflections from Colin and Rob Shaw.

You can read my reflections on the event and my paper and see a couple of the images I used here.

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