Experiencing urbanity, abstracts

JAANA VANHATALO (Tampere University, Finland): A home in the city – but what is a city
In almost all cases city has inhabitants. Also an urbanization process refers to a process, where more and more people are moving into urban areas, in other words people coming and claiming the city as their new home. However, when exploring the different urban area definitions behind urban population percentages (the amount of people living in the cities), the matter isn’t any more so black and white. Since the definitions are national and thereby vary in different countries, each of them produces urban areas of their own kind.
Already preliminary results show that urbanized Finland appears very differently in the scale of the whole Finland according to different definitions. But how does this phenomenon show in a local scale? How do the borders of single cities vary according to different definitions? How much the size of the city effects? In this sub-study, at least 12 different European definitions are applied to three different official Finnish cities: Tampere, Rauma and Parkano. The cities and their borders and characteristics of different kind are examined, both statistically and spatially. The analyses are based on GIS. The definition of the city is not unambiguous. This brings a twist to any discussion that uses city as a basic unit. Therefore, the definition of the city should be discussed, as in this case it is preferred as a home, from the both quantitative and qualitative side. What kind of city and a city as a home do these characteristics of different kinds provide?
Keywords: Urban area, definition, urban population percentage, urbanization, GIS

RACHEL SIMMONDS (University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh College of Art, United Kingdom): Under our noses: The temporary city
Different ‘tribes’ interact and respond to cities in different ways. Studies and theories formed from this tend to be from the perspective of the engagement of the person to the existing physical built environment. But what if we were to address this from the alternative perspective – how could the creation of a physical abstract, based on emotional response or immediate need, shape an alternative urban environment ?
In our expanding urban metropolises, there is a growing sub culture of people directly engaging with these themes under our noses, forming an urban ecology uninhibited from regulations, from which we have much to learn.
This paper will propose a paradigm for alternative development practices, in particular in relation to the permanence of our future urban environments. Using examples from a series of cities it will use photographs as a way to review and discuss how individuals are responding to the immediate need for shelter and places of interaction. It will investigate where these interventions are occurring and suggest how theories of home, city and space are being challenged and evolved by these human provocateurs in the urban realm.
Keywords: urban ecologies, ephemeral, transient, communities, landscape, cities

EEVA BERGLUND (Aalto University, Finland): Dwelling on urban dwelling with the concept of landscape
The language of dwelling and landscapes, based in phenomenological thought yet accommodating complex and multi-scale problems, has enduring appeal in both architectural and environmental debate. This paper proposes that the so-called dwelling perspective as developed by Tim Ingold (2000) could be put be useful in analysing urban environments across different scales. However, it must be reworked. It was developed by anthropologists and geographers in mostly small-scale contexts, but can be adapted to the contemporary condition where environments have been turned into infrastructures that serve city life, while huge urban agglomerations expand that only barely can be called cities (‘planetary urbanization’). This complex situation, and misunderstanding it, is worsening strains in the politics of socio-environmental sustainability everywhere.
The paper draws on a book I have recently co-edited (Dwelling in Political Landscapes, SKS, forthcoming) to show how the dwelling perspective can deal with the paradoxes. It is about the ways demands for environmental sustainability and powerful economic interests, but also the strong attachments that people have to their (built and other) environments, shape problems around landscape change. It enquires into how the architectural designs most people call home become landscapes not only of emotional attachment but economic activity. This approach can also nurture appreciation of how, alongside architects and planners, residents have important roles in making cities good or less good places to dwell.
The dwelling perspective can sound romantic and conceptually weak. In contrast, I argue it can sharpen debate on architecture and cities.
Keywords: dwelling, landscape, anthropology, urbanization

DAMIANO CERRONE (SPINUNIT Lab Oy, Finland), PANU LEHTOVUORI (Tampere University, Finland): Beyond Good City Form
The links between urban form, activities people engage in and values they collectively create, comprise a perennial problematic in urban studies and planning. In past decades, typomorphology, analysis of the ‘syntax’ of space and critical New Urban Sociology have produced valuable insights. The manifold question of good city form, referring to Kevin Lynch’s classic book from 1981, is now further complicated by digital connectivity that challenges the supremacy of physical space in explaining how people use and experience urban space. Nevertheless, in the emerging hybrid socio-technical reality, vibrant and active urban places have become valuable social assets. They are no less than a key resource for urban development, directing, and sometimes initiating, both the location and type of new investments.
Combining spatial analysis and new social media data, the paper explores how a selection of qualitative urban design principles and indicators extracted from Jane Jacobs (1961), Jan Gehl (1971), Christopher Alexander (1977) and Bill Hillier & Julienne Hanson (1984) can be quantified, up-scaled and operationalized as a digital decision-support to inform progressive planning and policy today. The core methodology and analysis is from the URMI project (SA 303618) that focusses on drivers of urbanization and future scenarios for Finland. These are applied in the metaLINN study for City of Tallinn for a real-life case. Based on experiences in recent practice, the paper addresses the limits of a strictly quantitative, multi-factor analysis, proposing that professional insight, clear strategic choices and co-creation with multiple actors are necessary in achieving positive impact, despite advances in complex metrics, big data analysis and advanced visualization.
Keywords: public urban space, urbanity, social media, big data, spatial analysis, space syntax, Kevin Lynch, Jan Gehl, Tallinn