Humanities and Social Sciences

Studia KPZK


Studia KPZK | 2018 | tom 191 Miasto jako krajobraz

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City is a formal expression of social relations. It is a kind of ethos and dreams connected with history and identity of individuals. It is a structure with thousands of meanings. The opportunities it creates can lead to an outstanding civilization. At the same time it reveals all negative aspects of living. City is a collection of separate individuals combined with common perception of spatial affi liation and identity development. It is worth writing about city because despite its well-defi ned value it is an elusive being. In spite of being a kind of collective needs it is still on the move, transforms all the time reflecting human emotions. Existence of city as a phenomena itself is a symbol of realization of people’s most basic needs and the history of its development shows growing complication and diversification of expectations related to it. City along with is diversity reflects human beings of a particular time. It is a spotlight in which both successes and failures of communities and individuals in each epoch can be seen. Thanks to its interdisciplinary character it can be perceived as multidimensional place. It is a multifaceted organism with high hopes and unlimited opportunities. Differences in perception which are due to a number of its users results in a wide range of problems and expectations. Expectations of local communities and individuals of a whole city vary. As a result, what we call a city landscape must be very vague and differs depending on a particular field which is taken into consideration. The number of opportunities and city-related issues is infi nite. In the dissertation below, however, three factors are the crucial ones: structure, meaning and city phenomena as a landscape. Thanks to the interpretation of model and genius loci as well as defining social expectations we have managed to conceive the phenomena of spatial identity. We have decided on this method referring directly to the concept of landscape. City is in here widely defined between urban aspects of landscape and city landscape. We have tried to understand what city is in terms of landscape, where it comes from and where it goes to. It is a trial of translation the Gaugin’s method: where are we from? Who are we? Where are we going to? into the language of present perception of some particular aspects of town planning. We live at times of the unprecedented technological change which is followed by a social change. It all must have an impact on how city is perceived, what it looks like, how it is to live there and what it is going to be like – what the future has in store. We have tried to bring the reader’s attention to the problems and issues which had appeared before the advent of reality we live in. We have focused on what may have led to a kind of city crisis at the edge of 19th and 20th centuries and some radical solutions trying to overcome the arisen problems and its consequences today. Both its pompous character and sentimentalism of town planning and architecture in the early 20th century have made us be bored with form which is felt in many parts of the world even today. Another aspect of our work covers understanding city in social terms as well as contemporary and future solutions. We are of the opinion it is worth asking questions referring to the future and at the same time regarding its current state and recent past. It is commendable to look for particular tools and solutions. Three dimensions which are covered by the book are figurative. Structure – which is everything we perceive as a kind of a template, identifi cation – we assign to city. It is responsible for recognition, adaptation to some forms by which we defi ne space. Meaning is a step forward. While the structure’s equivalent is „I can see”, the meaning equals to „I know”. Meaning does not exist as a city without structure just like structure does not exist without meaning. Things don’t just exist, they have some characteristics and purpose and it refers to trees, buildings and all other urban elements constituting city in all steady and temporary aspects and time dimensions. Meaning is also interpretation and emotion regarding both community and individual. It is the answer to the question „why?” Some particular places and spaces are linked to some particular values which identify them. This system of values is a must to be able to interpret what space we are dealing with and its diagnosis. Meaning is very much about social aspect too. It has to do with perception and remembering city and it is connected with knowledge, tradition and culture of places. Another aspect linked to relations in city landscape combines other aspects and constitutes something to which city refers to. Phenomena is contribution and verifi cation. The way city works is fundamental to all city residents and users. A key to such understanding a city is the term of genius loci. By singling out objects, order, time, character and light we are able to widely identify essence of space and particular places. The graphic model by Panofsky acts here as a verifying tool. City landscape as a form is of great importance here. The sense of beauty is as essential as the way the city works. Social perception of city is not only shaped by the way it is used, but also by the fact what city is like and how it is perceived. Spatial order is an incredibly important factor understood here as everything what accommodates vaguely defi ned beauty and what is connected with its particular structure, history and identity. All these factors contribute to the value of city landscape. When it comes to city landscape studies social aspect is emphasized by the impact of humanities, especially sociology, which perfectly shows expectations related to space. Cities are built and seen in the context of particular tradition, culture and history. Their skyline and ways of functioning are embedded in mentalities of societies which they represent. Despite their diversity from the global point of view they are susceptible to similar trends resulting in crisis or prosperity periods. They are economic archetypes of success.

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Kinga Rybak-Niedziółka

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