The Return of the Excessive

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As the cities continue to grow, through the addition of more or less controlled enclaves, they develop into highly differentiated, heterogeneous urban fields of centres and that which lies in-between. It seems like a mechanism or an unknown ‘natural’ law is working against the homogenization and ‘in-formation’ of the city, for which the urban planning is working. The in-between spaces, beyond the urban centres, are made up by the part of the material structure of the city that cannot be defined positively, and therefore is ‘in excess’. These backsides of the city are used and re-appropriated as alternative public spaces, accommodating the rituals and meetings of people. As an alternative to the possibilities of a public appearance, offered by the increasingly staged and controlled primary public spaces of the urban centres. The alternative public exists at the backside of the spaces of the primary public, and the way that people use the superfluous landscapes is a way of consuming them. These ‘superfluous landscapes’ almost call for such consumption, just as they deny any idea of the disappearance of the urban heterogeneity. The essay tries to understand and describe this, through Bataillian ideas of heterogeneity and formlessness. The superfluous landscapes are seen as something that ’haunts’ not only the planners, but the city itself. As unseen and undeveloped parts of the urban field that has to be understood as a part of an ongoing process of excretion and re-appropriation. In the essay, these ideas are related to observations of a concrete example - two hills of surplus soil. An exploration represented by the images that make up part of the essay.
TidsskriftSpace and Culture
Udgave nummer1
Sider (fra-til)53-62
Antal sider10
StatusUdgivet - 2002

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