Lieux et non-lieux de la ville
This paper will try to grasp and elucidate the main developments and tendencies characterizing the contemporary global city by employing the concepts of place and non-place. I will start from the assumption that the interaction of lieu and non-lieu may work as a heuristic tool suitable for sociological analysis. In the first part of the paper, the notions of place and non-place will be discussed from a theoretical point of view, while highlighting, at the same time, their spatial, temporal and symbolic dimension. Then, several characteristics of the contemporary city will be addressed: from spatial differentiation and social segregation to the Disneyfication of places, from the global homogenization of downtowns to the sub-urbanization of the city’s surroundings. I will show how the ongoing tendencies in global economy, urbanism, and planning are filling the cities with non-places. Nonetheless, new forms of geographical and social imaginative outlets are springing up in the interstices of contemporary cities, in the common attempt to rebuild places of social exchange and mutual recognition.
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