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Session Overview
JS_RN15_RN37_02: Transforming cities in a global transforming world
Wednesday, 21/Aug/2019:
2:00pm - 3:30pm

Session Chair: M. Victoria Gómez, University Carlos III Madrid
Location: BS.4.06B
Manchester Metropolitan University Building: Business School, Fourth Floor, North Atrium Oxford Road

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City, Privileged Object of Visualisation: Explaining Global Urban Change with Scientific Visual Narratives

Maciej Kowalewski

University of Szczecin, Poland

The aim of the paper is to analyze the importance of the scientific description of global urban change mediated by the data visualization (graphs, animations, infographics). The main research question is how the visual tools for presenting research results create the images of the city? If such data visualities are regarded as a type of text, it is possible to define visual discourse as a set of narratives referring to ways of thinking and talking about the urban change, mediated by images. In this term, the graphs are not just data presentations, but ready-made texts of urban studies, both describing and designing urban realm. The author sees those graphs as not only an indicator of urban processes, but also as ‘new urban narrative’, as images constellations shaping understanding of global urban change.

New visual technologies (animated data visualization, GIS, 3D interactive tools) make possible to depict the processes taking place over time - both in the perspective of one day (e.g. spatial mobility) and cumulative data showing the variability of phenomena in decades (e.g. demographic changes). Visual data in urban studies work in the same way as a tourist brochure, which documents or makes probable the urban experience, or as an architectural visualization, which activates the imagination and convinces the investor of the validity of the expenditure. Similar, scientific visualizations are not limited to the academia, but also become a part of the popular culture, urban policies, etc.

New urban practices in Russia's periphery

Vasileios Kitsos

södertörns högskola, Sweden

This study is part of a doctoral dissertation that employs a common research frame upon uncommon case studies: The global outreach of urban regeneration, and the changes it brings in institutions and physical space in secondary cities, located outside the global core but striving for increased attractiveness, competitiveness and livability is addressed. The study wishes to contribute to a better understanding of the mechanisms associated with urban regeneration in a glocalized era, through the study of its imposition or (re)emergence upon a very specific institutional, physical and geohistorical context, that of Eastern Russia. It also touches upon the topic of knowledge transfer and circulation in the contemporary Russian city. While scholarship on urban regimes in Russia is becoming increasingly diverse and looking beyond the core, this study attempts to insist in establishing and articulating a locally-bound perspective that perceives urban regeneration from within, as a product of a constellation of space-defined relations, decisions and actions. In this line, case studies are seen not as detached decisions taken elsewhere -although this might as well be a fact- but as parts in becoming, of a palimpsest that is the urban condition.

A convergent parallel design method has been applied. Empirical material that will be presented consists of information derived from (1) official documentation and media reports (2) interviews and (3) observations of physical urban spaces attributes during fieldwork. One of the case studies will be presented in detail.

Skopje: The "Kitsch" And "Bastard" Capital Of The Statues.

Silvia Pezzoli, Sheyla Moroni

University of Florence, Italy

FYROM (that named its self Macedonia, now Northern Macedonia) became independent in 1991 and Skopje became its capital. Rebuilt in 1963 (after a devastating earthquake) Skopje reproduces the "ethnic composition" of the State and it’s inhabited by a "Macedonian" majority, (about 50 ¼) a conspicuous Albanian minority and groups of Roma, Serbs, Turks, Bosnians and Bulgarians.

In 2010 the Prime Minister Nicola Gruevski (2006-2016) launched a project: Skopje 2014, that "marks the beginning and the political end" of the narrative of Macedonia that the strongly nationalist government proposes (Jovanovski, 2017). The strong urban and architectural imprint that the Gruevski government tried to give the city, sees the constant presence of harsh and widespread protests (mainly stemming from the Faculty of Architecture) due both to the its wasteful trajectory (about 450 million euros) and the strong request of freedom of expression (2008, 2009 and 2016, above all).

The choices of nationalists engaged in "civil wars" groups (Tetovo, 2001 and Kumanovo, 2015) fight for the redefinition of the city center, where new “buildings of the power” and hundreds of statues intend to reconnect with the national-patriotic identity discourse and the imaginary dating to the end of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth century.

The study of the events that intersect the city of Skopje has been supported by a qualitative interdisciplinary research divided into three phases: analysis of archival photographic material, direct observation and collection of photographs taken in two different moments (November 2016 and July 2018), selection of some statues to investigate their identity and political function and their (possible) re-memorization, re semanticization and contemporary reallocation (Marques-Pimenta de Faria, 2013).

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