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In European antiquity as well as modernity, the city was generally regarded as the real place of mankind. With few exceptions: the Presocratics and Stoics regarded the cosmos as the true home of man. Modernism then developed – with drastic consequences – a new understanding of nature. Nature should be a merely material-mechanical matter, far from any determination by spirit or any proximity to it. Thus man, as a rational being, became the antipode of nature. Since he had no common measure with her, he could not recognize her, but on the other hand, he could do as he wanted with her. Modernity was deeply anthropocentric. It was only in the 20th century that this view was recognized as flawed. It was the perspective of evolution that refuted modernity’s basic assumptions: the spiritlessness of nature, the spiritual exclusivity of man and the antagonism between man and world. Since then the task consists, also in matters of urbanity, in regaining a cosmic dimension beyond merely human-centered regulations. Transculturality is an important factor here. It allows us to reach out beyond the narrowness of city and homeland to the cultural worlds altogether, and it also admonishes us to consider, beyond all our cultural imprints, our prior evolutionary origin and cosmic coinage.
Contemporary cities, towns, and villages, as well as the countryside, are characterized by a superposition, transition, and dissolution of urban and rural functions, lifestyles, and social-spatial relationships. While rural areas are increasingly reshaped by urban-like infrastructures, urban areas increasingly
wish to establish rural-like living conditions. We, however, understand the problem not in this growing ambiguity and fuzziness of social-spatial relations but in attempts that try to reduce this ambiguity, and with this also complexity. The reductionist approach, in turn, results in a simplified imagination of urban (and rural) life. The paper introduces three forms of urbanity – self-organized, planned, and instrumentalized urbanity – that deal differently with the contradictions of existing ambiguity and imagined unambiguity. Examples mostly refer to Austria and Germany.
The concepts of cities and utopia went hand in hand throughout history. The image of the city as the venue for the good life that had spread since ancient Greece transformed in the course of the industrial revolution: the massive population growth resulted in a strong pressure on resources and infrastructure. Overcrowded buildings and smoking factory chimneys shaped the cityscapes – the formerly positive connotation attributed to life in the big city gave way to an increasingly antiurban atmosphere.
Against this background, several personalities contrived alternatives to the status quo that can roughly be divided into »restorative« and »modernist« approaches. Key elements of restorative utopias are decentralisation, dispersion and simpler forms of spatial organisation. Modernist approaches focus on technological progress, turning it into the very essence of urban utopias. The models of Howard, Wright, Garnier, Sant’Elia and Le Corbusier provided different answers to the question of how the future city might be.
China now is in the process of rapid urbanization during which peasants are turning into city residents at an unprecedentedly large scale and reconstructions of old cities and emergence of new cities are everywhere. Consequently »city« has become a hot issue, yet various wrong concepts and practice have shown up concerning the issue of city development. Due to the excessive influence from administrative powers, capital and science and technology, there has been an anxiety toward the phenomenon of »one face for a thousand cites«, and this anxiety has now grown into a new frustration for China’s urban planning for the next stage. This paper suggests looking at cities from the perspective of living and achieving the balance between cities as tourist spectaculars and cities as the home of its residents.
The city is the human world where all social and cultural expressions, all desires and understandings are shared and exchanged in physical and intangible ways. The city is a place of discourse and complex interactions through multiple and diverse languages which take on verbal and nonverbal forms. Interpreting the complex human mechanisms of the city as language will reveal the open or forbidding processes of social interactions. No matter how diverse and opposing the multiple languages can be, by bringing differences into proximity they create potential for discourse and opening. This paper will look at complex urban mechanisms as diverse languages and as mediatic expressions that turn the city into a Gesamtkunstwerk.
After decades of spatial segregation, it is not surprising that space features prominently in the way apartheid is remembered in South Africa. More than 20 years after the first democratic elections, a new generation, referred to as the born-frees, has grown up. I focus on how representatives of this generation remember the apartheid city and the spatial exclusions their parents had to experience. I conducted interviews in six schools in different areas of Cape Town which used to be black, coloured and white Group Areas respectively. Trying to come to terms with the spatial dimension in the young people’s accounts, I was looking for an analysis which integrates the dimensions of time, place, and subject, as was postulated by Edward Soja. The chronotope by Mikhail Bakhtin provided me with a nuanced analysis of how subjects construe the past in spatio-temporal terms.
The following article deals with questions related to urbanism of urban areas in the global South. It comprehensively presents facts and figures that emphasize the extent of growth processes in urban areas in the global South. In order to present a full picture on the challenges and opportunities that come along with these growth tendencies of cities in the global South the author firstly introduces the reader to the heritage of colonialism in relation to the development of cities. The challenges and opportunities are presented along spatial, economic and ecological aspects and the ones with regard to wellbeing and social inclusion. Furthermore, the article explores the role of scientific North-South cooperation, its premises and potential for a holistic analysis and its contribution to sustainable development. This is finally portrayed with a university project between Nicaragua and Austria that focused on urban development.
BERICHT und REZENSIONEN
Philosophie neu denken. Zur Lage der Philosophie im 21. Jahrhundert und zu ihren Möglichkeiten, transformativ zu wirken.
Zu: Rolf Elberfeld: Philosophieren in einer globalisierten Welt. S. 149-52.
"Politisch unbequem - kein Recht auf Ausschluss?"
Zu: Andreas Cassee: Globale Bewegungsfreiheit. Ein philosophisches Plädoyer für offene Grenzen. S. 153-54.
Landschaft als Ressource für Leben und Denken.
Zu: François Jullien: Von Landschaft leben oder Das Ungedachte der Vernunft. S. 155-58.
Philosophie in Japan (fast) ohne Kyoto.
Zu: Hans Peter Liederbach (Hg.): Philosophie im gegenwärtigen Japan. S. 158-67.
NGOs as Agents for Alternatives to Development (2016). Nr. 39 S. 168.
Eine kritische Studie der Texte des zeitgenössischen islamischen Reformdenkers Ashgar Ali Engineer (2015). Nr. 39 S. 168-69.
Phänomenologische und hermeneutische Perspektiven des europäischen Denkens (2017). Nr. 39 S. 169-71.
Rassismuskritik der Gegenwart (2016). Nr. 39 S. 171-72.