Paper presented at the XXXIII IAHS World Congress on Housing, 27-30 September 2005,"Transforming Housing Environments through Design", University of Pretoria.
Contemporary urban discourse is currently gaining momentum in questioning a diversity of urban landscapes. Present urban theories, are based on perceptions of the world, as morphological and formal figures, that are constantly ‘dis-figured’, through our reading of the environment, parallel to the infrastructures we in place in it, that keeps producing signs and signals of a mismatch. Even though the planners’ tools or intervention strategies are of the best intention (geographical unifications, design alliances, planning programmes), the products become typological of nature, isolated and adrift in urban fields of activities, operating at various scale levels above or below one another. The crux of the matter is to align an architectural-object driven discourse and interpretation to one that comprehends the operation of the landscapes and the metropolitan condition, in all its scales, infrastructures, and intricate patterns, seen as a spatial discourse. Space is therefore understood through the ‘device mobile’ that acts as the unifying operational system, producing effects, responsible for the ‘visible’ landscape and environment we see as being self evident. By this ‘making visible’ of the spatial, a discourse dealing with urban and territorial fragmentation is replaced by a coherent program of transformation and spatial coherences, addressing all levels of scale, the dwelling environment, and even sustainability.
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