The Atmospheric City  book cover
1st Edition

The Atmospheric City

  • Available for pre-order on March 10, 2023. Item will ship after March 31, 2023
ISBN 9781032316994
March 31, 2023 Forthcoming by Routledge
184 Pages 27 Color Illustrations

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Book Description

The Atmospheric City explores how people make sense of the feelings they get in and of urban spaces. Based on ethnographic fieldwork of everyday life in Copenhagen, Oslo, and Stockholm, it focuses on the atmospheric power of people, places, and phenomena.

While the predominant focus of current urban planning tends to rest on economic growth, sustainability, or offering housing, transport, and activities to an increasing number of city residents, this book offers a different take, based on recent discussions in the social sciences about how cities feel. It calls attention to the mundane ways in which urban dwellers adapt and adopt their surroundings. It argues that atmospheric cities are characterised by a fundamental porosity that affects how people relate to places. This highlights why some places are sought after while others are avoided. Through concrete examples of people being in and moving through the city, the book shows how people attune and are attuned by designed urban spaces, often at the margins of attention, when they find comfort in the familiar and seek out the unexpected.

This book is aimed at researchers, postgraduates, and practitioners interested in urban design and how people make sense of the feelings it evokes. It will be of interest to those in the fields of urban studies, urban design, planning, architecture urban geography, cultural geography, cultural studies and anthropology.

Table of Contents



List of Figures

  1. Introduction
  2. Towards a porous way of thinking

    The life-oriented city

    Atmospheric spaces

    Attuning to atmospheres

    Exploring the atmospheric city

    Outline of the book

  3. Attuned relations: The sociality of atmospheres
  4. Chasing resonance

    Solitude in the atmospheric city

    Being alone together

    Dissonant encounters

    Quiet and loud: Crowds and atmospheres


  5. Embraced by the city: Feeling the urban environment
  6. Atmospheric design

    Feeling the atmospheres of urban design

    The affective qualities of things

    Environments of atmospheres past

    Weathering the atmospheric city


  7. Moving through atmospheres: Mobility and attunement
  8. Moved by design

    Perceiving through movement

    Moving in practice

    Moving among others


  9. Cities of care: Nurturing atmospheres
  10. Care in the atmospheric city

    Building care

    Atmospheres of care

    Zones of comfort

    Knowing the city, feeling for the city

    Caring for plurality


  11. The future of the atmospheric city


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Mikkel Bille is Professor of Ethnology at the Saxo Institute, University of Copenhagen.

Siri Schwabe is Assistant Professor at the Department of People and Technology, Roskilde University.