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The City and the Text

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City is often rendered as a kind of self-organizing chaos, or as a reflection of culture. There are much more rare studies of city as a constitutive element of the socio-political process in cultural reproduction and change [Duncan, 1990]. Thus for a long time, in 1980–1990s the interest of cultural geographers was directed toward the cultural component of a city, and to the geographical distribution of artifacts, types of houses, the specifics of landscape planning, etc. On the one hand, artifacts were described as given for granted. On the other hand, such descriptions contrasted with theories of urbanism, which, in turn, were presented as abstractions, and therefore, far from describing the real world. yet, these descriptions are not a direct reflection of reality, but constructed within language and intellectual facilities of those who describe. We assume that a city is always the result of political intention, often expressed in the form of various competing projects and texts. The city is developed and changes not only through physical efforts and forces, but also because of specific cultural and social vision. This thesis is variously justified by participants who explore the urban space, referring to its millennial history and current status. We persistently challenge the gap between theory and practice of urbanism, which leaves floor for a discussion on the interaction between ideas and actual conditions of urban realization in historical, political, geographical dimentions. The discussion involves researchers belonging to different disciplinary fields – cultural geography, architecture, ecology, and history. That gives us an opportunity to see the object not only through the different lenses, but also “contextuality” of research concepts and practices.

Keywords: urbanism, gentrification, urban text, economy of impressions, eco-city, agglomeration, eco-utopia.

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