Streetlife symposium – University of Kent, 15 Sept 2015

Progressive Geographies

Posted on behalf of Phil Hubbard – Streetlife symposium, University of Kent, 15 Sept 201

streetlife-symposium-webThe street is a social space like no other. It has always been a key laboratory for studies of social life, from the roots of contemporary urban sociology in the pioneering ethnographies of the Chicago School through to the diverse range of contemporary studies which consider the performative, affective and non-representational nature of social practice through in situ examination of street etiquette and encounter. Yet, the street remains only loosely defined in many studies, and sometimes disappears from view when social action is privileged over material context. Streetlife: the shifting sociologies of the street, a one-day interdisciplinary symposium, sponsored by The Sociological Review and organised by Prof Phil Hubbard andDr Dawn Lyon (School of Sociology, Social Policy and Social Research, University of Kent) will address the ways in which the street matters in contemporary sociology and geography. It will critically…

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The escalator: a short history

Living in a Barrel

Escalator_Maastunnel Maastunnel Escalators, Rotterdam. Photo: RM

How did a fairground attraction become an important tool of urban renewal?

The first escalator was installed in 1897 at Coney Island, New York, as a fairground attraction. It’s inventor, Charles Seeberger worked at elevator manufacturer Otis, thet produced the first commercial escalator for the World Expo of 1900 in Paris. The first escalator In the Netherlands appeared in 1926, in the new building of the department store De Bijenkorf in The Hague. It was a real sensation, initially still seen more as an attraction rather than as means of transport. For months, here were long lines in the store, with people waiting to take a ride on the escalator.

the first escalator Left: the first escalator at Coney Island. Right; “Stand right, walk left”


Escalators are designed to bring at the same time a large number of people from one floor to another. The capacity goes up…

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J.G. Ballard: Chronopolis – Time Cities and the Lost Future

Dr. Rinaldi's Horror Cabinet


Continuing from where I left off J.G. Ballard: Chrontopia and Post-Consumerist Society.

Ballard in his short story Chronopolis will envision a world where Time as Clock-time has been outlawed. In this short story he takes us through the history of one particular Time-City, Chronopolis where every facet of peoples existence was ruled by time and its measurements. We first meet Conrad Newman in the free worlds beyond the great and ruinous Time City, who is awaiting trial for his criminal heresies: he has brought the great central clock, the symbol of absolute regulatory control back online.

We discover from a friend of his Stacey that

‘Thirty million people once lived in this city,’ Stacey remarked. ‘Now the population is little more than two, and still declining. Those of us left hang on in what were once the distal suburbs, so that the city today is effectively an enormous ring, five miles…

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