Psychology of urban space

In a previous post I wrote I am moving away from the symbolic order, i.e. the reassuring linguistic cloack veiling the order of the real, of us living as bodies in a material world. An important distinctive feature of matter is space. For some time I have become much more aware of space, of myself as a body moving in space. Space is connected to time. Crossing space takes time. Moving from A to B in a functional way -f.e. going to work or going shopping- is annoying, tiring and stressing. The space/time between A and B is 'dead' space/time. We spent an awful lot of time of our lives just moving. Moving in space is full of frictions. There are three categories of 'movers': pedestrians, cars, trains/busses/trams. Each category experiences its distinctive difficulties when traversing space. One can easily fill in one 's personal experience  into this scheme.

Another aspect of space is getting lost. One wants to move from A to B and ends up arriving at C. This can be a very frustrating experience. To acknowledge one 's  mental map of space is not corresponding to the real grid of space. Sometimes I extend this experience to being lost in life, to endlessly walking in circles and never reacing my destination.

There are different types of space. First there is the living, crowded space in the centre of the city, full of symbolic/semiotic meaning, where it is safe to dwell and orientate oneself. Then there are the small streets, devoid of meaning, just buildings, stones and concrete. These can arouse anxiety. I once got mugged in such a small street. There is the empty, dead space underneath big structures such as railway bridges. They are full of graffiti and obscene signs. These places in urban tissue is where younsters are hanging around, where homeless people are sleeping rough and where drugdealers and petty criminals are doing their deals.

A last example of the pychology of urban space is semiotic dissonance. Drug addicts, beggars, homeless people who have taken possession of an 'official' location and have claimed it as their territory. Examples in Antwerp are the Coninckplein opposite the public library and the Astridplein right in front of the Central Station, where tourists from all over the world arrive. An important issue in the symbolic battle over places is who owns a particular location.

One can undoubtedly conceive of other aspects and issues when one wants to elaborate a psychology of urban space.

13:22 Gepost door Johnsatyricon | Permalink | Commentaren (0) |  Print |  Facebook | |

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