Total Landscape, Theme Parks, Public Space

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Ashgate, 2006 - Architecture - 296 pages
Total Landscape, Theme Parks, Public Space employs the theme park in identifying, dissecting and describing the properties of PROPASt - privately-owned publicly accessible space in a themed mode - a hybrid form of public space emerging in urban environments worldwide. Mitrasinovic does not propose that theme parks and PROPASt are, or will ever become, desirable substitutes for democratic public space, but deliberately cuts across the 'theme park model' in order to understand the principle of systematic totality employed when such a model is used to 'revitalize' urban public space in the United States, Asia and Europe. In doing so, Mitrasinovic has created compelling and multifaceted inferences out of a plethora of minute details on the design and production of theme parks across continents. Mitrasinovic's central argument is that the process of systematic totalization that brings theme parks and PROPASt into the same conceptual framework is not obvious through formal similarities, but through systematic ones: through values, conditions and techniques that have been extended upon the entire social realm. By illuminating the relationship between theme parks and public space, this book offers critical insights into the ethos of total landscape, a condition that emerges from overpowering convergences of the globally emerging socio-economic system organized upon the idea of systematic totality, a material apparatus that establishes its dominance 'on the ground,' and a system of totalizing narratives -designed and operated by the media and entertainment industry - that establish its dominance in cultural imaginations across national boundaries. One of the central premises of this book is that theme parks and PROPASt are complex artifacts designed to materialize such convergences and spatialize corresponding social relationships. Mitrasinovic forcefully argues that the only way to understand where does the lack of adequate public policy and active citizen participation lead is to look closely into the mechanisms of the production of total landscape.
In this contribution to the emerging academic field of Design Studies, Mitrasinovic builds the argument for the necessity of a meta-disciplinary conception of the artificial by synthesizing a great variety of sources from fields such are architecture, design, planning, urban studies, geography, economic theory, marketing, military theory, anthropology, social science, film theory and cultural studies.

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About the author (2006)

Miodrag Mitrasinovic teaches at the University of Texas at Austin and at Parsons School of Design in New York City.

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