The aesthetics of urban life offer a curious quality, one that is both highly visible and hidden, both openly influencing and subtly imprinting. These aesthetics participate in the production of places; to the way they are built, to their resisting materiality, to their image in people's minds, to advertising and to the way people respond to the place. Exploring the encounter with the aesthetics, images and material design of urban life, this book offers analytic insights into contemporary cities. It shows how photography, maps and videos play a crucial role in bringing aesthetic dimensions into urban studies. This transdisciplinary approach draws on the full spectrum of the visual representation to tie the encounter with the realm of the visual directly and explicitly into the exploration of urban space.
Lars Frers is Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Technology Darmstadt, Germany. Lars Meier is a Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Technology Darmstadt, Germany.
’Frers and Meier’s Encountering Urban Places brings research on visual and material culture to bear on city life. This book shows how aesthetics and new understandings of communication and consumption are relevant to students of planning and other urban disciplines in ways which go beyond architectural concerns: these include not only urban sights but social activity, highly visible roles and participants in urban life, and the symbolic aspects of the street.’ Rob Shields, University of Alberta, Canada 'Theoretically rich and geographically wide-ranging, these creative and varied essays open up a plethora of issues about the social construction of places, their role in identity formation, and their representation of other worlds. Drawing on Lefebvrian insights, the contributors range imaginatively over everything from body language, urban semiotics and wireless technology to representations of postcommunist cities and the political significance of the visual.' Anthony D. King, State University of New York at Binghamton, USA 'A thoroughly interesting and thought provoking book.' Urban-geography.org.uk 'I find Encountering Urban Places incredibly inspiring since it offers a range of interesting ways to explore the multidimensionality of everyday encounters and how these encounters may play a part in the production of places.' Environment and Planning D: Society and Space '...the discussion pursued by the authors and editors in this book has managed to shift the focus of my thinking from the weaknesses of visuality to its strengths and potentials, especially at those points where it intersects with, or is complicated, by materiality.' Urban Studies