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Planerat, alltför planerat: En perspektivistisk studie i stadsplaneringens paradoxer
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social and Economic Geography.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-9435-1490
2010 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)Alternative title
Planned, All Too Planned : A Perspectivistic Study of the Paradoxes of Planning (English)
Abstract [en]

Why is it that modern architects and planners – these benevolent and socially visionary ‘experts’ – have created environments that can make one feel so uneasy? Such is the question that eventually grew into this thesis, where the aim is to enter into and understand the gap between ideals and realities in planning and architecture, with particular focus on projects that try to create an ‘urban atmosphere’. As a starting point the author returns to the feelings she felt when she first visited one of these expertly planned areas; what the architects had described as an attractive, urban environment was to her a ghost town without life. Drawing on Friedrich Nietzsche’s philosophy of perspectivism the study locates the gap to the area between two fixed points, each representing different attitudes towards the urban: the Eye of the Architect and the Body of the Flâneur. Moreover, by using insights from Sigmund Freud and his followers, the study sees the planner as a divided self, an individual capable of oppressing – not so much other groups of people – as herself. The general conclusion is that urban planning during the 20th century is a neurotic activity prone to produce the type of alienation that the author felt in her own body. An important factor behind this process is the tendency of the planner to regard city building as a finite rather than an infinite game.

Besides being a critique of urban planning and of expert knowledge the study is preoccupied with the phenomenon of urbanity, more specifically with the question of how this multidimensional concept can be defined. In dealing with this problem the author juxtaposes different knowledge traditions, especially the positivistic theory of space syntax and various poetic-dialectical approaches; a core issue concerns the relation between form and process. The conclusion is that while the urban is a thing/not-thing impossible to pin down, it is never without a physical morphology – a dimension relatively understudied within human geography.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Kulturgeografiska institutionen , 2010. , 343 p.
Keyword [en]
planning, architecture, urbanity, contra-finality, expert knowledge, power, paradox, perspectivism, psychoanalysis, space syntax, flâneur, alienation, reasoning rules, form & process, Apollo & Dionysus, logic & dialectics, philobatia & ocnophilia
National Category
Human Geography
Research subject
Social and Economic Geography
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-132474ISBN: 978-91-506-2162-4OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-132474DiVA: diva2:359185
Public defence
2010-12-10, Sal Minus, Akademigatan 3, Uppsala, 10:00 (Swedish)
Available from: 2010-11-19 Created: 2010-10-21 Last updated: 2016-04-14

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Westin, Sara
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