Porosity at the edge: Working through Walter Benjamins Naples

University of Sydney
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Architectural Theory Review, 2005, 10 (1), pp. 33 - 43
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What is it that identifies a city?1 Where is the feeling or sense of that identity located? Could that sense of identity no matter how it was discovered be generalized? The encounter with a city endures within attempts to articulate that experience within writing. Equally, an encounter with a specific city once it admits the possibility of generalization may become productive within design. Walter Benjamin continued to work through the city. The modern and the urban coincide. And yet, that coincidence brings with it more than a simple equivalence. Cities have a past. The modern contains vestiges. The question of the city if only as a beginning concerns that complex presence. In a text that demands consideration not just because of its content, but equally due to its actual design Einbahnstra?e the presence of the affective city, the city as the place of experience endures.3 A brief entry under the heading Freiburg Minster opens a possible interplay between the particular and the related move to a form of generality. Or if not the movement itself, what is at work within this brief note is the provision of two of the categories within which movement within the city can be thought. (In the end, it will be movement that constitutes the urban and thus defines the city.)
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