CITY BREATHS

Posts tagged definition of a city

11 notes

Definition of a City #11

image
Paris, by lenscapbob

“‘The City’ is not a framework but a social practice in constant flux. The more it becomes an issue the more it is a source of contradictions and the more its social manipulation is linked to the ensemble of social and political conflicts.”

- Manuel Castells (1972) “Urban renewal and social conflict in Paris" In: Social Science Information Vol 11. p.93-124

____
This is part of a series of definitions of cities featured on City Breaths. The aim is to collect definitions from different perspectives. The definitions will tell us something about what the role of urban space is in sustaining human life, the way we experience and perceive urban space and the sensations it creates in us. You are welcome to add more definitions. The other definitions can be read here.

Filed under definition of a city Manuel Castells Paris social reality conflict urbanism

13 notes

Definition of a City #10

image
Italo Calvino

“The city consists of relationships between the measurements of its space and the events of its past”

- Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities (1972, p. 9).

———
This is part of a series of definitions of cities featured on City Breaths. The aim is to collect definitions from different perspectives. The definitions will tell us something about what the role of urban space is in sustaining human life, the way we experience and perceive urban space and the sensations it creates in us. You are welcome to add more definitions.
The other definitions can be read here.

Filed under definition of a city Italo Calvino space memory city urbanism

12 notes

Definition of a City #9

image
Paramount Theatre, New York, 1937. ©George Mann    

"A city is a geographic plexus, an economic organization, an institutional process, a theatre of social action, and an aesthetic symbol of collective unity […] the city creates the theater and is the theater"
      - Lewis Mumford, "What is a city" in: Architectural Record, 1937, p. 185.

[The picture of New York City’s Paramount Theatre was taken in the year Mumford published “What is a city?” in the city where he was born and where he lived, worked and died. The Paramount Theatre is no more. Built in 1926, it was converted to office and retail use in 1964.]

———
This is part of a series of definitions of cities featured on City Breaths. The aim is to collect definitions from different perspectives. The definitions will tell us something about what the role of urban space is in sustaining human life, the way we experience and perceive urban space and the sensations it creates in us. You are welcome to add more definitions. 
The other definitions can be read here.

Filed under definition of a city urban theory lewis mumford urbanism

15 notes

Definition of a City #8

image
Henri Lefebvre

"The city can be defined as a place where differences encounter, acknowledge, and explore one another, and affirm or cancel out one another. Distances in space and time are replaced with opposites, contrasts, and superimpositions, and with the coexistence of multiple realities."

           -Christian Schmid, interpreting Henri Lefebvre's analysis of the urban (from: The Urban Revolution, De l’État, tome IV: lec contradictions de l’État moderne, The Production of Space), In: Cities for People, Not For Profit - Critical urban theory and the right to the city, 2012, New York: Routledge.

But following Lefebvre’s reasoning, there is no fixed definition, and never will be:
"The concept of the city no longer corresponds to a social object […] However, the city has a historical existence that is impossible to ignore. Small and midsize cities will be around for some time. An image or representation of the city can perpetuate itself, survive its conditions, inspire an ideology and urbanist projects. In other words, the "real" sociological "object" is an image and an ideology!"
                 -Henri Lefebvre (in: The Urban Revolution, p. 57) 

Christian Schmid (2012) responds:
Actually, Lefebvre derives his understanding of urbanization as a reshaping and colonization of rural areas by an urban fabric as well as a fundamental transformation of urban cities. The consequence of this transformation is the dissolution of the city itself: for Lefebvre, the city can no longer be understood as an object or as a definable unit. It is instead a historical category that is disappearing as urbanization progresses. This also means that the term city becomes problematic. How can the urban still be theoretically grasped under conditions in which society as a whole has been urbanized?”

——
This is part of a series of definitions of cities featured on City Breaths. The aim is to collect definitions from different perspectives. The definitions will tell us something about what the role of urban space is in sustaining human life, the way we experience and perceive urban space and the sensations it creates in us. You are welcome to add more definitions. 
The other definitions can be read here. 

Filed under definition of a city urban theory city Lefebvre urbanism

13 notes

Definition of a City #7

image
La Paz ©Dan Wood

"A city is a space of extremes and opposites, which exist together harmoniously. Choreographed unchoreography. Public and private. Of movement and staticness. Art and finance. Visitors, immigrants and residents. A city is the canvas of human existence."
      - Shriya Malhotra


This is part of a series of definitions of cities featured on City Breaths. The aim is to collect definitions from different perspectives. The definitions will tell us something about what the role of urban space is in sustaining human life, the way we experience and perceive urban space and the sensations it creates in us. You are welcome to add more definitions. The other definitions  can be read here.

Filed under definition of a city urban theory people capitalism urbanism

21 notes

Definition of a City #6

image
Beijing street scene ©Stefo

"A city is a place that can offer maximum freedom. Otherwise it’s incomplete."
        - Ai Wei Wei on Beijing as a nightmare city

This is part of a series of definitions of cities featured on City Breaths. The aim is to collect definitions from different perspectives. The definitions will tell us something about what the role of urban space is in sustaining human life, the way we experience and perceive urban space and the sensations it creates in us. You are welcome to add more definitions. The other definitions can be read here.

Filed under definition of a city urban theory Beijing suppression right to the city Ai Wei Wei urbanism

18 notes

Definition of a City #5

image
A rainy, crowded streetscape. Location unknown ©Blog-a-tastic

"What is the city but the people?"
         - William Shakespeare

This is part of a series of definitions of cities featured on City Breaths. The aim is to collect definitions from different perspectives. The definitions will tell us something about what the role of urban space is in sustaining human life, the way we experience and perceive urban space and the sensations it creates in us. You are welcome to add more definitions. The other definitions can be read here.

Filed under definition of a city urban theory people streetscape urbanism

6 notes

Definition of a City #4

image
Collage made for a contest themed “city complexities”. ©Grandguignol

"All that a city will ever allow you is an angle on it - an oblique, indirect sample of what it contains, or what passes through it; a point of view."
      - Peter Conrad

Not really a definition, but a very true explanation. Cities are so complex and layered that they are impossible to grasp and to understand as a whole. Only some of their separate characteristics can be conceived.

This is part of a series of definitions of cities featured on City Breaths. The aim is to collect definitions from different perspectives. The definitions will tell us something about what the role of urban space is in sustaining human life, the way we experience and perceive urban space and the sensations it creates in us. You are welcome to add more definitions. The other definitions can be read here.

Filed under definition of a city urban theory sociology urbanism

15 notes

Definition of a City #3

image
©Aqui-ali

"A city is a place where there is no need to wait for next week to get the answer to a question, to taste the food of any country, to find new voices to listen to and familiar ones to listen to again."
        - Margaret Mead 

This is part of a series of definitions of cities featured on City Breaths. The aim is to collect definitions from different perspectives. The definitions will tell us something about what the role of urban space is in sustaining human life, the way we experience and perceive urban space and the sensations it creates in us. You are welcome to add more definitions. The other definitions can be read here.

Filed under definition of a city urban theory people streetlife urbanism

19 notes

Definition of a City #2

image
Ghangzhou - Small Alleys Near Shamian Island ©Beschty

"A city is a language, a repository of possibilities, and walking is the act of speaking that language, of selecting from those possibilities. Just as language limits what can be said, architecture limits where one can walk, but the walker invents other ways to go."
        - Rebecca Solnit, in: Wanderlust: A History of Walking 

This is part of a series of definitions of cities featured on City Breaths. The aim is to collect definitions from different perspectives. The definitions will tell us something about what the role of urban space is in sustaining human life, the way we experience and perceive urban space and the sensations it creates in us. You are welcome to add more interpretations. The other definitions can be read here.

Filed under definition of a city urban theory walking architecture urbanism

20 notes

Definition of a City #1

image
A Greek city. ©SAATAN

Cities are the spatial articulations of political, demographic, economic, technological and cultural developments which take place on local, regional, national and global scales. A city is continuously being shaped by its context, and its identity, form and function are continuously being redefined. It is a dynamic entity which is unceasingly being crystallized through ruling societal standards and values, dominant economic structures and sectors, and cultural and political ideas and power relations (extracted from Sennett, 1992; Fainstein, 2001; Lefebvre, 2002; King, 2007).”

This first definition is a relatively formal one that I have written in my thesis, in order to try to get a comprehensive grasp of the complex organisms we call cities.

This is part of a series of definitions of cities featured on City Breaths. The aim is to collect definitions from different perspectives. The definitions will tell us something about what the role of urban space is in sustaining human life, the way we experience and perceive urban space and the sensations it creates in us. You are welcome to add more interpretations. The other definitions can be read here.


Fainstein, S.S. (2001) City Builders: Property Development in New York and London, 1980-2000. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas.
King, A.D. (2007) Boundaries, Networks and Cities: Playing and Replaying Diaspories and Histories. In: T. Bender and A. Cinar (eds.), Urban Imaginaries, pp. 1-14.
Lefebvre, H. (1978) De l’État IV. Les Contradictions de l’État Moderne. La Dialectique et/de l’État, pp. 259-324. Paris: Union Générale d’Editions.
Sennet, R. (1992) Conscience of the Eye: The Design and Social Life of Cities. New York: W.W. Norton & Company

Filed under definition of a city urban theory perspectives urbanism