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Urban Sensographies

Urban Sensographies (London and New York: Routledge 2021)

Ed. Nicolas Whybrow

Urban Sensographies seeks to draw conclusions about the constitution, character and morphology of urban space as public, habitable and sustainable by monitoring the reactions of the human body as a form of urban sensor. This co-authored book is centrally concerned, as a symptom of the degree to which cities are evolving in the 21st century, with examining the effects of this change on the practices and behaviours of urban dwellers. This takes into account such factors as: defensible space, retail and consumer space, legacies of modernist design in the built environment, the effects of surveillance technologies, motorised traffic and smart phone use, the integration of ‘wild’ as well as ‘domesticated’ nature in urban planning and living, and the effects of urban pollution on the earth’s climate. Drawing on three years of funded practical research as part of the Arts and Humanities Research Council-funded project entitled Sensing the City, which was carried out by a multi-medial team of researchers and artists, Urban Sensographies analyses the presence and movement of the human body in urban space. It does so by drawing on methods ranging from dance-based practices, using a film camera and sound recording technologies as extensions of the body, walking-as-performance, and immersive participation. Further, it explores how such performance-based approaches can be implemented to gather usable ‘felt data’ about the environment of the city as the basis for creating embodied mappings.

N.B. Urban Sensographies offers an integrated hypertextual reading experience in being linked to Routledge’s eResource and the Routledge Performance Archive (RPA). Supplementary practice-based research materials and audio-visual documentations are available via these two platforms.

Book Contents

  • Prologue: We are the City

Janet Vaughan

  • Urban Sensographies: an Introduction

Nicolas Whybrow

  • Chapter 1 Ring Cycle: a Coventry Convolute

Nicolas Whybrow

  • Chapter 2 The Ignorant Camera

Michael Pigott

  • Chapter 3 Moving and Mapping: Exploring Embodied Approaches to Urban Design and Planning

Natalie Garrett Brown & Emma Meehan with Amy Voris & Christian Kipp

  • Chapter 4 urbanflows (immersed in worlds): Choreographing Body-Environment Metabolisms

Carolyn Deby

  • Conclusion: Paradigms of Performance

Nicolas Whybrow

  • Postscript: to Sense the City

Carl Lavery

Urban Sensographies