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Relevance of Social Spaces - Essay Example

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These seemingly simple definitions are ample enough for us to immediately see the complexity that the issue of 'spaces' bring to us in cities. If someone does not have a separate cubicle, does his/desk in the office become a private space How is this space accessible to others How much accessibility should be provided to this space Who should be allowed access How does the utilization of this space mark it as public or private Does the arrangement of spaces in the manner in which cities are planned reflect and enable the spatial and technological revolutions that are transforming us every moment Are our cities and the structures that it house, capable of meeting the increasing requirements of mobility, accessibility and communication that globalization necessitates These are some of the most important questions that may be asked in relation to the configuration and distribution of spaces today; this paper will specifically look into the area of social spaces in cities to day. I will attempt to engage with 'social spaces' by describing and evaluating present architectural trends through the example of the Office for Metropolitan Architecture and some of their important projects.
Swyngedouw and Kaika, in 'Making of Urban 'Glocal' Communities, mention some of the concerns associated with urban planning such as emancipation and disengagement, global and local as well as social justice versus neo-liberalism. While one may assume the forces of modernity as co-terminus with the spaces of the city itself, this article makes a distinction between the two. They argue that cultures of everyday life are undermined by the creation of a city of the spectacular commodity, making it a 'staged archaeological theme park' (Swyngedouw and Kaika 2003 p.11) On the contrary, current trends in modern architecture claim to be facilitating convergence of multi-purpose spaces, a mission that is tailored to cater to the specific utilitarian purposes that are assumed to drive life in cities. Culture here often coalesces, becoming important as the communicative and creative aspect of existence, essential to social innovation. Architectural creations that combine creative communication of culture/s along with a priority for practical utility brings together aspects of social life symbolically and realistically; merging, multi-purpose spaces that reflect aspects of contemporary life in their conception, construction and utilization.( Nussbaumer& Moulaert. July 2004)
"Restructuring" is a popular term employed to capture politico-economic and spatial transformations that have been in progress in global urban systems for decades now. Restructuring is meant to convey a break in secular trends and a shift towards a significantly different order and configuration of social, economic and political life. It thus evokes a sequence of breaking down and building up again, deconstruction and attempted reconstitution, arising from certain incapacities or weaknesses in the established order which preclude conventional adaptations and demand significant structural change instead [] Restructuring implies flux and transition, offensive and defensive postures, a complex mix of continuity and change". (Soja 1987, p.178)
The ongoing deconstruction an ...Show more


The obsession with defining spaces is a critical feature of modernity than it has been of any other period. Public for general use and private for individual and specific mobility could be the simplest way in which public and private spaces may be defined…
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Relevance of Social Spaces
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