Multiple Practices of Urban Space

Opportunities of participatory media as representation and narrative of the city

Isabel Glogar
PhD research project, Kunstuniversität Linz, start 2011

Parallels of life and art, Independent group, shot of the exhibition, 1953

Parallels of life and art, Independent group, shot of the exhibition,1953


Michel de Certeau[1] describes visuality in “The Practice of Everyday Life” by the view from 110 Floor of the World Trade Center to Manhattan. Through the look from above the vision of the city changes and form a complex texturology. He says that the “normal people” use space that cannot be seen because it is their everyday space that changes constantly.

The daily life produces various appropriations of space, uses that are alien to the panoptic or theoretical construction of geographical or geometric space. The desire to observe the city already started in the mid-eavel age through the staged representation of space in painting. The viewer was transformed into a holistic eye that observed the room from an imaginary viewpoint.

Even in the current production of cities the consideration of urban spaces and developments are separated. Plans, renderings, animations and photographs stage the city as possible representation of the respective observer. It transforms into a simulation that gives a distorted reflection of daily life. These considerations often exclude inhabitants that live a diverse reality of urbanity.

In the 1960ies other disciplines, as sociology, were integrated in architectural studies to explore the city. Since then not much has changed in town planning and the representation tools for the production of cities are the same. But the emergence of multiple models of life and the independent development of new methods to represent the city as “Google earth” have contributed to bring the city, or the representation of space closer to the users.

New technologies such as “geo-tagging” are transforming the narration and planning of space. But how can these means of representation, which are utilized by a wide platform of users, also be incorporated into planning instruments?

These and other issues will be addressed in the research. Representation tools and new technologies, as well as art as an expression of dense layers and overlays of urbanity will be analyzed. The aim of the research is the development of new instruments for interactive urban planning and design that allow the users more opportunity to shape their environment.

The research will lead to the establishment of a virtual platform. This interdisciplinary approach will involve different actors in the representation of space and thus should lead to the development of an interactive planning instrument.

[1] Certeau, Michel de (2004): The practice of everyday life. First paperback print. [Repr]. Berkeley, Calif. inter alia: Univ. of California Press.

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