Topoi 40 (2):1-10 (2019)
AbstractUrban places are of central significance for cities both as built structures and as centers of everyday life. Due to the emergence of various design-led place-making policies and practices, “urban place” has largely become a marketed and branded product. Aesthetics plays a major role in this project of place-making, and the related interpretation of “commodified aesthetics of place” emphasizes certain experiential and qualitative place-attributes—such as authenticity—despite apparent conceptual confusions and controversies. A thorough reconsideration of central place-concepts is required to shed light on this problematic sphere. This article provides an alternative reading of urban places and the related aesthetic dimensions, based primarily on a Heideggerian account of human existence as placed being in the world. Such an approach emphasizes the decisive difference between an object-based and a contextual interpretation of place, providing also a framework for understanding the aesthetics of place and its fundamental lifeworld-constituting role anew.
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