The Soft City

Architecture's Public?

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    In The Beginning

    Matthew Rust
    May 16, '13 6:23 PM EST

    Since completing my postgraduate degree, I've been looking for a way to continue exploring the themes I touched upon during my time at university. The role of the blog is to act as a pensive for my ideas and experiences within architecture and its relating fields. The name of the blog was also the title for my final thesis. Both are inspired by a book - Soft City - from the author Jonathan Raban. I was drawn to one quote in particular.


    “In the moment of new beginnings, the city goes soft: it awaits the imprint of an identity. For better or worse it asks you to remake it, to consolidate it into a shape you can live in. You, too. Decide who you are, and the city will again assume a fixed form around you. Decide what it is, and your own identity will be revealed, like a position on a map fixed by triangulation. Cities unlike villages and small towns, are plastic in nature. We mould them in our own images: they, in their turn, shape us by the resistance they offer when we try and impose our own personal form on them. In this sense, it seems to me that living in cities is an art, of style, to describe the peculiar relationship between man and material that exists in the continual creative play of urban living.”
                                                                                                                                           Jonathan Raban


    The book was written in the 1970's and is a vividly rich dialogue of urban observations and reflections. My thesis took the assumptions outlined in the quote and attempted to apply them to the modern urban experience. The blog will present argues from the thesis and look to expand upon them. I look forward to any comments and debate.

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About this Blog

The purpose of The Soft City is to question the motives and ideology behind our urban spaces. As urban users, we are active elements within a city. We have the ability to shape the city surrounding us. Consequently the environment around us offers resistance to our interactions and reshapes us in turn. This continuous moulding and reshaping of people and space is directly reflected in our societies. This relationship will help form the key theme for the blog; who is architecture's public?

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