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Group Reading: Back to Phenomenological Placemaking

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Liudmila Fuentes

on 19 February 2013

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Transcript of Group Reading: Back to Phenomenological Placemaking

Back to Phenomenological
Placemaking Naomi Davis
Liudmila Fuentes
Manuel Gonzalez
Michael Rouse
Peter Weaver Agenda Heyday and
Transformation Deconstruction
and Discreditation An Unfinished Project Research into
the In-Visible Urban Design and Placemaking
Heyday and Transformation
An Unfinished Project
Placemaking as a Means
Deconstruction and Discreditation
Research into the In-Visible The heyday of urban design in what may be termed its ‘first/naive phase’ was
in the 1970s and 1980s. Urban design practice flourished in a very close
relationship with postmodern architecture. Questions? • Practice of placemaking was never renounced
1. Ex: Piazza d’Italia (1976-1979)
• Notion of place was decomposed into ex:
1. the triptych of locale , location, and sense of place
• Leaving old placemaking behind.
• “Place” is a phenomenological term 1. Phenomenology is opposed to contemporary thought in that it claims universals.

2. Phenomenology presupposes humanism, and humanism has also been questioned by contemporary thought as a Western-cultural, male-dominant narrative.

3. Derrida deconstructed the phenomenology of Husserl, and Lyotard exposed the dark, uncanny side of Heidegger’s writing; which served as the basis for Genius Loci A Bad Utopia. Criticism 1.Having a sense of place may be used as an ideologeme but it is also a need

2.Taking an anti-humanist stance seems less justifiable and more universal than considering each aspect separately and in its own context.

3.A direct connection with placemaking would probably depend on political investment.

4.The concept of the “uncanny”, inspired experimentation in architectural design and served as a trigger for theoretical discussion.

5.Placemaking as a professional ideal is not an impotent and ineffectual myth, but rather utopianism of broad scope. (Tafuri) Anti-Criticism • Placemaking concept
• Multidimensionality of sense of place: cultural, physical, spiritual and social
• Phenomenological placemaking is more a guiding principle than a model. Deconstruction and
Discreditation: conclusion e.g.: paintings, poetry and urban space.
-These evoke emotions and physical responses.
Tangible vs. Intangible vs. Imaginable
Boundaries of place-type are negotiable. Merleau-Ponty’s “the
designed, the work of art' Realm of the Presentational, what simply is.
Not represented by a form.
Form Perceived by all senses; experiences.
Not simply expressed in words. Form Giving
and Form Reading Susan Langer
-“… all that is in the discursive realm is not art.”
-Aesthetic value as designed things of merit.
Henry Bergson
-Aesthetic form with Vital Order, not Discursive Order.
-Geometric Philosophies
on Aesthetics Non-Representational and Non-Discursive
-Acknowledged but not idolized.
The Non-Representational
-Leading to manifested insights.
The Non-Discursive
-Leading into Imagination. Emphasis Non Representational urban forms should provide more places where people may experience the sense of place.
Non-Discursive enhances imagination to view, in a sense, “hidden dimensions of Being,” therefore, ‘the invisible’.
The invisible is imaginable but cannot be seen; it is existent and it “pre-exists in the visible.” Invisible and
In the Visible From the Rational, the Discursive and the Representational
To the A-Rational, the Non-Discursive and Non-Representational
-Bridging the gap between the differences. Urban design ideas and their correlated formal concepts, were canonized in
two volumes: Gosling and Maitland’s Concepts of Urban Design and Emerging Concepts in Urban Space Design Heyday and Transformation Heyday and Transformation
The transformation of urban design from a heterogeneous but rather compact field of practice has been relegated to the ranks of a practice of “architecture writ
large” and “second-order design endeavour” (i.e. only indirectly responsible for
producing built forms and spaces, and into cultural/
critical/economic/social/anthropological urban studies—in theory. Heyday and Transformation Kenneth Frampton’s said:

… we are unable to project urban form today with any confidence. In
the main, we can only envisage urban future in terms of fragmentary
remedial operations … We are subject to sporadic waves of development
that either escalate out of control or take place in spurts followed
by long periods of stagnation. This predicament confronts the urban
designer with an impossible task Nowhere has urban design become a distinct profession, it has been
embraced into the heart of consensus in the form of ‘good-practice’ guidelines Heyday and Transformation Heyday and Transformation Urban design has undergone a metamorphosis, along with the many
changes that swept the world around the 1990s. It involved both growth and
decline. Placemaking, however, lost its aura, its power as a challenging concept.
As a trigger of innovation it seemed exhausted. An Unfinished Project An Unfinished Project An Unfinished
Project An Unfinished Project An Unfinished Project Besides condemning sprawl, placelessness, non-places and left-overs, urban design seems to have given up placemaking, either for more pressing objectives, such as sustainability or security Almost 10 years after Southworth and Robert Davis declared that “most of
America now is being built by obliterating nature and by replacing it with
placeless sprawl”.

Placemaking is still an
unaccomplished project, and from this point of view the situation in the US is
no different to recent urbanism anywhere else. Michael Sorkin wrote:

The familiar spaces of traditional cities, the streets and squares, courtyards
and parks, are our great scenes of the civic, visible and accessible,
our binding agents. By describing the alternative, this book pleads for
a return to a more authentic urbanity, a city based on physical proximity
and free movement and a sense that the city is our best expression
of a desire for collectivity. As spatiality ebbs, so does intimacy. The
privatized city of bits is a lie, simulating its connections, obliterating the
power of its citizens. In a 1989 review of urban design plans in the United States (US), Michael Southworth concluded that:

Over three-quarters of the cities analyzed were concerned with creating
or maintaining identity and a sense of place. This is obviously a widely
shared concern… it is most needed in the fast growing, automobile dominated
urban fringe or newer cities. Urban environments still suffer from ‘placelessness’, perhaps even more than in the 1970s or 1980s. It is not that ‘sense of place’ ceased to occupy a central position among design considerations. Rather it became mainstream to an extent that its practice followed well trodden paths apparently these did not lead to the much desired places Urban Design:

-the process of designing and shaping cities, towns and villages
-connections between people and places, movement and urban form, nature and the built fabric
-the creation of places with distinct beauty and identity
-the design and management of public space, and the way public places are experienced and used Urban Design and Placemaking Placemaking:

- a multi-faceted approach to the planning, design and management of public spaces
- the process of creating squares, plazas, parks, streets and waterfronts that will attract people because they are pleasurable or interesting
- Placemaking is both a process and a philosophy
- a way of working with place identity to transform existing places as well as create new ones
- Re-establishing the quality of place in the public realm Sense of Place:

- The desired result of placemaking
- A human need and essential for well being
- Feelings of safety, security and orientation
- Anti-alienation and anti-estrangement
- Cultivating public urban space Notable Pioneers - Christopher Alexander – “Pattern Language” –

The book uses words to describe patterns, supported by drawings, photographs and charts.

It describes exact methods for constructing practical, safe, and attractive designs at every scale, from entire regions, through cities, neighborhoods, gardens, buildings, rooms, built-in furniture, and fixtures down to the level of doorknobs - Jane Jacobs- The Death and Life of Great American Cities

– Jacobs argued that modernist urban planning rejects the city, because it rejects human beings living in a community characterized by layered complexity and seeming chaos
– Against Urban Renewal
– Against Separation of Uses
– Jacobs advocated "four generators of diversity"

1.Mixed uses, activating streets at different times of the day
2. Short blocks, allowing high pedestrian permeability.
3. Buildings of various ages and states of repair.
4. Density. Edward Relph- Place and Placelessness :

Outcome of Modernist Urbanism was placelessness: The outcome of Mass Values, Mass Communication, Mass Culture. The casual replacement of significant places with anonymous spaces and exchangeable environments. Yi-Fu Tuan - In Space and Place : The Perspective of Experience

Tuan contends that a space requires a movement from a place to another place. Similarly, a place requires a space to be a place. Hence, the two notions are co-dependent. Kevin Lynch – The Image of the City

- Lynch's most famous work, The Image of the City published in 1960.

“users understood their surroundings in consistent and predictable ways, forming mental maps with five elements”
• paths, the streets, sidewalks, trails, and other channels in which people travel;
• edges, perceived boundaries such as walls, buildings, and shorelines;
• districts, relatively large sections of the city distinguished by some identity or character;
• nodes, focal points, intersections or loci;
• landmarks, readily identifiable objects which serve as external reference points. Urban Design
and Placemaking Urban Design
and Placemaking Urban Design
and Placemaking 1970s-1980s
Inner city crisis
Industrial to post-industrial society
Basic values Placemaking as a Means Relationship between architecture and urban design Placemaking as a Means Assisted with the ‘comeback’ of architecture Placemaking as a Means Placemaking as a Means Appearance of placemaking
Essential characteristics
Emphasis on local
Understanding of position
Defined spaces
Pedestrian circulation
Stimulation Placemaking as a Means 1990s
Value lost
Newer fashions and forms
‘Non-place’ normative theories Placemaking as a Means Natural advantages of placemaking
Basic human need
Need of meaning Workshop 1. Divide into your assign groups
2. Pick up a site plan of Ft. Lauderdale
3. Amongst your groups, choose 3 things you like and 3 things you dislike about the neighborhood Heyday and Transformation The transformation of urban design was realized in Nan Ellins book Post Urbanism which focused on economic, social and ecological concerns Piazza d’Italia
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