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jerryking : streets   1

Hidden language of the streets - FT.com
March 6, 2015 | FT| Edwin Heathcote.

Each city has its own visual and filmic shorthand for its streetscape (should read "cityscape"). There are the monuments — the Eiffel Tower, Big Ben, the Empire State Building and so on, but at street level there are markers of urban identity as potent as the great monuments and which, in fact, have a far more meaningful impact on everyday life, as the fragments that form the backdrop against which we live our public lives.
...Street furniture and the in-between architecture that populates the pavements defines the experience of walking through the city. ...Streets and their furniture are designed for an ideal public but they can also be vehicles of control....The question is, what kind of meaning does our contemporary streetscape communicate? Throughout the history of public space, urban markers have been used to convey a sense of place, of centre, connection and of context. ....Then there is a rich layer of what we might call in-between architecture, the market stalls, newsstands, food carts and hot-dog stands, caramelised-nut vendors and seafood stalls. To a large extent these are among the elements that make up the experience of the city yet they are rarely regarded as architecture. Instead they represent an ad-hoc series of developments that have evolved to an optimum efficiency....This layer expresses the story of the desires, the fears, the entrepreneurialism and the attitude to privacy of a city. But the most intriguing thing is that it is simultaneously an expression of the top-down and the bottom-up city.
cities  design  identity  architecture  public_spaces  furniture  cityscapes  iconic  top-down  bottom-up  street_furniture  streetscapes  overlay_networks  streets  landmarks  shorthand 
march 2015 by jerryking

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