AMPS: Critical Practice in an Age of Complexity

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The plan is always an intention, a desire to be something else. Urban planning documents predict future activity distributions and physical forms according to fundamental assumptions and aspirations based on an idea of the unitary city. From the beginning of the last century seeing the city as a single entity to manage and control was closely related to the ideals of regulated transport, water, energy, and communication networks symbolizing universal rationality. According to Stephen Graham and Simon Marvin, integrated networked infrastructure became a key element in two further developments: the idea of the comprehensive urban plan and an influential range of utopian schemes (2001). Both rely on a tale, an alternative narrative told by an urban planner imposing the authority of professional values.
However, the “professionally imagined” future is inevitably challenged by present individual values of citizens. Robert Cover in his writings defines law “as a system of tension or a bridge linking a concept of a reality to an imagined alternative” (Minow, Ryan, Sarat, 1995). Seen as connective tissue, the device of narrative has an exceptional capacity not only to represent these two world models but also to introduce the logic of adjustment to them.
Legislative narratives articulate intentions that are open to a number of interpretations. The trajectories introduced by them remain in a constant state of reconfiguration. Is this ambiguity their strength? A good and compelling narrative can invite readers, residents or investors to imagine new realities and transform urban rules accordingly. But the intentional vagueness of planning documents also can be seen as an act of withdrawal of the city administration. Acknowledging a plurality of individual futures? Or a shift of responsibility?
Periode22 feb. 2018
PlaceringTucson, USA, ArizonaVis på kort
Grad af anerkendelseInternational