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Subjectivity and the transformation of urban spatial experience


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Jacobs, K 2002 , 'Subjectivity and the transformation of urban spatial experience' , Housing, Theory and Society, vol. 19, no. 2 , pp. 102-111 , doi: 10.1080/140360902760385655.

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Philosophical and sociological writers who extol the role of subjectivity and its capacity to transform urban spatial experience have been largely overlooked by housing researchers. As a consequence research remains largely focused on physical and spatial renewal. While physical renewal is important, other experiences - for example the gentrification process in which middle-class households move into run down areas shunned by most inhabitants - suggest that individual subjectivity can have an important role in transforming urban spatial experience. There is a strand of literature, across a range of academic disciplines, that advances the view that an ability to live successfully in large conurbation's is partly contingent on the utilisation of our own imaginative capacity as a means of transcending what are usually seen as oppressive and hostile environments. The aim of this paper is to provide a review of the inter-disciplinary literature that extols the importance of subjectivity and assess its utility for contemporary debates about housing and urban renewal. Can these texts offer new ways of conceptualising the urban environment and, more importantly, be of practical relevance for policy-making?

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Jacobs, K
Keywords: subjectivity ; imagination; gentrification ; cities; urban environment ; public spaces
Journal or Publication Title: Housing, Theory and Society
DOI / ID Number: 10.1080/140360902760385655
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