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Sensing Cities : Regenerating Public Life in Barcelona and Manchester - Monica Montserrat Degen

Sensing Cities

Regenerating Public Life in Barcelona and Manchester

Hardcover Published: 1st October 2008
ISBN: 9780415397995
Number Of Pages: 225

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As cities globally re-design their urban landscapes, they produce a different urban aesthetic and create new experiential milieus. Urban regeneration processes generate radical physical, social and cultural changes in neighbourhoods that demand new conceptual frameworks to address their impact upon daily urban life.


Sensing Cities investigates the reconfiguration of contemporary public space and life through the prism of the senses. The book explores how the increased stylization of cityscapes requires an understanding of public life as a spatial-sensuous encounter. Degen examines how power relations in public spaces are embedded in, exercised and resisted through the sensuous geography of place. This sensory paradigm is then applied to compare two emblematic regeneration projects, namely el Raval in Barcelona and Castlefield in Manchester. By combining detailed ethnographic analysis and interviews with those involved in planning regeneration processes and those experiencing them, the book argues that a changing sensuous landscape is crucial in redefining people's social practices, attachments and experiences in places. Focusing on two European cities at the forefront of urban design, Barcelona and Manchester, Degen draws on sociology, geography, anthropology, cultural and architectural studies to provide a critical account of the politics of publicness in the entrepreneurial city.


With numerous photographs and maps this book stresses the ongoing, embodied and active nature of regeneration as a lived social process rather than merely a physical or economic exercise. Ultimately, Sensing Cities examines how urban regeneration is made effective through the organisation of sensory experience. This book is essential reading for students and researchers of Architecture, Urban Studies and Human Geography.

List of illustrationsp. xi
Acknowledgementsp. xiii
List of abbreviationsp. xiv
p. 1
Introduction: Sensing citiesp. 3
Urban redevelopment, the senses and public lifep. 7
Researching the sensesp. 12
Overview of the bookp. 13
Public life in late modernityp. 16
Space as social processp. 17
Sensing publicnessp. 20
A new urban aestheticp. 25
Commercial privatization and fortification of urban spacep. 30
Conclusionp. 34
Sensing the cityp. 35
Towards a 'socially embedded aesthetics'p. 36
The city of sensesp. 41
Place gesturesp. 47
Methodological discussion: rhythmanalysisp. 50
Conclusionp. 52
Sensuous powersp. 54
Flows of powerp. 55
Control through pleasurep. 59
Domination and resistancep. 62
Sensuous planning ideologiesp. 65
Conclusionp. 72
p. 75
Castlefield and El Ravalp. 77
A sensuous historyp. 78
Castlefield: from industrial revolution to inner city coolp. 83
El Raval: from 'Barrio Chino' to cultural quarterp. 93
Conclusionp. 103
Planning regenerationp. 105
The spatialization of regenerationp. 106
Formalizing public life in Castlefieldp. 120
Diluting public life in El Ravalp. 125
Conclusionp. 130
Perceptions from 'down below'p. 132
Castlefield: exclusive public spacesp. 133
El Raval: invisible public spacesp. 139
Castlefield: promoting selective historiesp. 144
El Raval: disrupting social livesp. 151
Conclusionp. 161
Living in regenerated worldsp. 162
Rhythms of everyday lifep. 163
Sensuous mappingsp. 173
Castlefield's 'taste wars'p. 176
El Raval's 'place wars'p. 179
Conclusionp. 191
Conclusion: Regenerating public life?p. 194
Notesp. 201
Bibliographyp. 206
Indexp. 220
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780415397995
ISBN-10: 0415397995
Series: Routledge Studies in Human Geography
Audience: Tertiary; University or College
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 225
Published: 1st October 2008
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 23.5 x 15.88  x 1.91
Weight (kg): 0.5
Edition Number: 1

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