The Urban Condition: Space, Community, and Self in the Contemporary Metropolis

Front Cover
What does the Western city at the end of the twentieth century look like? How did the modern metropolis of congestion and density turn into a posturban or even postsuburban cityscape? What are edge cities and technoburbs? How has the social composition of cities changed in the postwar era? What do gated communities tell us about social fragmentation? Is public space in the contemporary city being privatized and militarized? How can the urban self still be defined? What role does consumer aestheticism have to play in this? These and many more questions are addressed by this uniquely conceived multidisciplinary study. The Urban Condition seeks to interfere in current debates over the future and interpretation of our urban landscapes by reuniting studies of the city as a physical and material phenomenon and as a cultural and mental (arte)fact. The Ghent Urban Studies Team responsible for the writing and editing of this volume is directed by Kristiaan Versluys and Dirk De Meyer at the University of Ghent, Belgium. It is an interdisciplinary research team of young academics that further consists of Kristiaan Borret, Bart Eeckhout, Steven Jacobs, and Bart Keunen. The collective expertise of GUST ranges from architectural theory, urban planning, and art history to philosophy, literary criticism and cultural theory.
 

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Contents

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13
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III
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IV
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VII
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XVII
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XXI
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Popular passages

Page 416 - I come finally to my principal point here, that this latest mutation in space — postmodern hyperspace — has finally succeeded in transcending the capacities of the individual human body to locate itself, to organize its immediate surroundings perceptually, and cognitively to map its position in a mappable external world.
Page 124 - The city is, rather, a state of mind, a body of customs and traditions, and of the organized attitudes and sentiments that inhere in these customs and are transmitted with this tradition.
Page 267 - Behind the [ghetto's] crumbling walls, lives a large group of people who are more intractable, more socially alien and more hostile than almost anyone had imagined. They are the unreachables: the American underclass.
Page 262 - The passions which belong to self-preservation turn on pain and danger; they are simply painful when their causes immediately affect us; they are delightful when we have an idea of pain and danger, without being actually in such circumstances...
Page 107 - Urbanization no longer denotes merely the process by which persons are attracted to a place called the city and incorporated into its system of life. It refers also to that cumulative accentuation of the characteristics distinctive of the mode of life which is associated with the growth of cities...
Page 383 - Now, as everyone knows, it has only been in the last two centuries that the majority of people in civilized countries have claimed the privilege of being individuals. Formerly they were slave, peasant, laborer, even artisan, but not person. It is clear that this revolution, a triumph for justice in many ways...
Page 58 - ... which he is affiliated do not lend themselves readily to a simple hierarchical arrangement. By virtue of his different interests arising out of different aspects of social life, the individual acquires membership in widely divergent groups, each of which functions only with reference to a single segment of his personality. Nor do these groups easily permit of a concentric arrangement so that the narrower ones fall within the circumference of the more inclusive ones, as is more likely to be the...
Page 364 - ... toutes ces choses pensent par moi, ou je pense par elles (car dans la grandeur de la rêverie, le moi se perd vite!); elles pensent, dis-je, mais musicalement et pittoresquement, sans arguties, sans syllogismes, sans déductions.
Page 127 - Great cities are not like towns, only larger. They are not like suburbs, only denser. They differ from towns and suburbs in basic ways, and one of these is that cities are, by definition, full of strangers.
Page 378 - It is probably no mere historical accident that the word person, in its first meaning, is a mask. It is rather a recognition of the fact that everyone is always and everywhere, more or less consciously, playing a role.

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