urban thoughts

I'm not sure what I was trying to achieve with my thesis but it's nice to know other people are thinking similar things. These quotes are taken from an article on Torontoist. It's an interview with Mark Kingwell, author of Concrete Reveries: Consciousness and the City.

Two bits that really jumped out at me, mainly because they repeat things I said (and by said I mean rewrote and struggled over a million times).

"The cityspace is so often about function - the movement of goods and services, desires and bodies, from node to node - that anything that disrupts the function is at the least interesting and at the most liberating."

This comment is similar to something I said, but in terms of the Lefebvrian spatial triad. I think using Lefebvre made my words a lot more confused. Look.

"If something must exist in space to have effect, contemporary society’s emphasis on work and consumption finds spatial form through representations of space and the resultant built infrastructure of the city. Skyscrapers dominate most cities today and are perhaps the most widely visible demonstration of the dominance of the city by capitalist work; their size and solidity leave little doubt of their importance...These buildings extend into the ground, connecting directly with a city’s arterial systems of transportation, communication and resource distribution. In this way, places of work are integrally tied into the core of a city. People flow into the buildings during the morning rush, and out at the end of the day, when they become work sites for cleaners and maintenance personnel who keep the buildings running and usable."

Heh. Who knows. I guess comparing an answer in an online interview to a paragraph from a thesis is a bit silly too.

But, do you know what isn't silly? Comparing both to a music video.

And then this comment from the interviewer.

"You talk about the playful city, and the importance of play, and how play in cities can extend beyond the stadiums and other sanctioned heterotopian sites through the transformative power of carnival. Would you agree that graffiti, like skateboarding, longboarding, urban exploration, geocaching, parkour - or any of the other forms of independent repurposing of the city and its infrastructure for play that exist - are like carnival without end?"

I'm only posting this quote because longboarding caught my eye. As far as I know, and I could be wrong, longboarding is riding a longboard down the street. There aren't tricks and kickflips and grinds on cement ledges like there is with regular skateboarding. I'm not suggesting one is better than another, but if you're just using it as a mode of transportation it lacks a transgressive depth. Something that comes about once a space is re-imagined and used differently. To include it in the list I ask myself why bicycling isn't on there? They go along roads and aren't cars too. And if bikes were there, should all types of cycling be included? Similar questions could be asked about walking fer crimminy's sake...and on and on and on.

So what is considered as transgressive in urban space? That's the 20 million dollar question. Does it require intent behind the act? Is anyone on a skateboard transgressive or is the kid in it purely for the look something less? Can a person only be transgressive if they seek out the opportunities? Do we get to call them mindless automatons if they don't?

Questions without end.

As I said at the start, it's nice that others have considered similar issues and topics I invested so much effort and time in (but why didn't they publish their books before I was writing?). I'll leave the discussion to them for the time being because whenever I try to get involved I ask more questions than I manage to find answers.

And that makes me dizzy.

To end the discussion I'll simply say, make sure you PLAY at every opportunity and as far as I'm concerned the city will somehow become a better place.

Playing makes me dizzy too, but in a good way.

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