02 Sstc Theory


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02 Sstc Theory

  1. 1. Mordechai (Muki) Haklay, Laura Vaughan, Kate Jones & Sam Griffiths (University College London) www.sstc.ucl.ac.uk Towards an historical-geographical theory of suburban space
  2. 2. Making the case for a theory of suburban space <ul><li>Why a theory of suburban space? </li></ul><ul><li>Suburban space is under-theorised and over-represented </li></ul><ul><li>The suburban as potential for adaptability over time: the example of Surbiton </li></ul><ul><li>Next steps </li></ul>
  3. 3. 1. Why a theory of suburban space?
  4. 4. The suburbs tend to be defined in a single dimension
  5. 5. The suburbs tend to be defined in a single dimension
  6. 6. 2. Suburban space is under-theorised and over represented
  7. 7. Urbanisation teleologies Greater London Development Plan 1969 © GLC0
  8. 8. Normative and culturally specific representations
  9. 9. Otherness 1 Hayden, D. (2004) A Field Guide to Sprawl. New York; London W.W. Norton & Co: 118-119. The image of Sun City. Arizona was selected for the presentation on the basis of its similarity to a photograph by Jim Wark in this book that was also featured in the New York Times on June 16 th , 2004. Sun City, Arizona: “A place growing even faster than a boomburb”. 1
  10. 10. Difficulties of suburban representation <ul><li>Presented as passive, homogenised, undifferentiated space waiting to be ‘devoured’ by the city or erased as it become unsustainable. </li></ul><ul><li>Judged normatively in terms of culturally specific projections rather than taken seriously as a particularly successful (i.e. persistent and ubiquitous) kind of inhabited space. </li></ul><ul><li>Mythologised in terms of futurity or imagined (sometimes fetishised) as the mysterious ‘other’ (where other people live) </li></ul>
  11. 11. Some paradoxes of suburban space <ul><li>Newness yet historical </li></ul><ul><li>Ephemeral yet persistent </li></ul><ul><li>Peripheral but centred </li></ul><ul><li>Static yet dynamic </li></ul><ul><li>Uniform yet diverse </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Other’ yet familiar </li></ul>A more diachronic approach to suburban space is required which can articulate the multi-dimensional and differentiated nature of the suburban experience
  12. 12. 3. The suburban as persistence of activity over time: the example of Surbiton
  13. 13. Persistence of socio-economic and community activity
  14. 14. Relating areas of activity to phases of suburban development Choice r-400m Buildings: 1820s
  15. 15. 4. Next steps
  16. 16. Thinking about suburban space diachronically… <ul><li>Multi-dimensional - do we tend to ‘deproblematise’ the suburbs? </li></ul><ul><li>Persistent - are suburbs key to the adaptability (sustainability) of built form? </li></ul><ul><li>Embedded - how is suburban space embedded in the pre-built-up topography? </li></ul><ul><li>Scaled - how is extended built environment scaled in terms of social practice? </li></ul><ul><li>Emergent - how do local scales of activity relate to larger ones? </li></ul><ul><li>Orientated - how is suburban space orientated in relation to large scale urban and rural structures (walls, ring-roads, super-grid, estates, field systems, small settlements)? </li></ul><ul><li>Differentiated - does the suburban articulate the possibility for the differentiation of built form and the persistence of different places over time? </li></ul>
  17. 17. The suburban as potential for adaptability in built form