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From urban form to urban relations: in search for a new kind of reflexive and critical knowledge in urban geography and city monitoring

Author(s): Jean-Bernard Racine

Journal: Dela
ISSN 0354-0596

Issue: 21;
Start page: 41;
Date: 2004;
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Keywords: innovative scientific knowledge | social science | urban form | sustainability | relation | lifeworld | socio-affectives relations and analysis | urban research agenda

The paper explores what unites the social environment the material environment. both thematerial form, and, jointly, the sensibility that echoes it. .It argues that urban geographersneed to develop a research model drawing on urban geography, on urbanism and on landmanagement and capable of integrating the thoughts, the emotions, the affects and the valuesof city dwellers and citizens and therefore knowledge situated at a micro-social level.However, such research still would need to lead to truly regulatory knowledge. Its translationinto practical measures needs to be democratically approved, especially by actors whoknow how to think and act both locally and globally, in relation to multiple and complexterritories of affiliation and intervention. This implies a huge effort of the imagination andof construction, both at the theoretical level and at the level of the operational tools needed.Indeed, the concept of “ urban project ”, which has been frequently encountered since theend of the ‘70s and which is supposed finally to supersede functionalist urbanism, cannotbe conceived of without taking into consideration the population’s capability to participateand embrace projects or, on the contrary, to oppose them.
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