Brian Irwin
State University of New York, Stony Brook
ABSTRACTMany critics have pointed to the failures of modernist urban design, which include its obliteration of thriving neighborhoods, isolation of functions and production of alienating spaces hostile to the human form. Less focus has been placed on defining the source of the modernists’ errors. This essay argues that these errors were in part due to neglect of the nature of fully embodied experience, a neglect manifested in an overwhelmingly visual disposition in embodiment. The author argues that a visual disposition is implicated in the occlusion of place by the modern concept of abstract space. This concept of space and the visual disposition that is implicated in it undergird the utopianism and veneration for abstract forms that characterized the project of modernist urban design. The author concludes by suggesting that the basis for a humanizing urbanism should be the solicitation of all the senses in synesthetic interaction. This phenomenological critique can help us to see precisely where modernist urban design went wrong; it can also help lead us out of the false dichotomy between alienating modernism and orthodox traditionalism by establishing a basis for successful urban environments in embodiment rather than in any rigidly determined formula for urban design.
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DOI 10.1080/20539320.2019.1587963
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References found in this work BETA

The End of Temporality.Fredric Jameson - 2003 - Critical Inquiry 29 (4):695-718.
Urban Planning in the Founding of Cartesian Thought.Abraham Akkerman - 2001 - Philosophy and Geography 4 (2):141 – 167.
Urban Planning in the Founding of Cartesian Thought.Abraham Akkerman - 2001 - Philosophy and Geography 4 (2):141-167.

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