How does time shape the ways we perceive our urban environment? What kind of times are reflected, fostered or imposed in the public life and buildings of our cities? How do temporal dimensions affect the way cities are built? Our perceptions of the urban environment and the ways we use and interact with buildings and the space around us change over time (as children, teenagers or as adults), through our familiarity of places, through the seasons (in sunshine or in rain) or as our relationship to buildings, architecture or heritage changes. Similarly, time pressures, deadlines, changing local or global politics affect the ways architects and planners built the city. Understanding the crucial role played by time and sensory experiences in the making of place can assist urban planners, architects and policymakers, as well as residents, community groups and businesses, to improve the way urban change is implemented and how it is perceived.
So far, much of my work has focused on the role the senses play in redefining the socio-economic stratification of places and people’s everyday attachments to places. By turning my attention to the temporal dynamics of the contemporary urban experience I hope to start a discussion of how the ‘soft’ elements of urban life such as how we feel as we move through a busy or quite street, a market or a park, work hand in hand to produce the ‘hard’ material landscape of the city as well as to shape our sense of place and identity.
I’ve created this website as part of my dissemination plan for my British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship (2016-2017) which offers me precious time to share and reflect on my research on how different people plan, experience and use urban space.
This is a summary of why academics and community activists think that questions around temporality need to be situated at the forefront of research on urban change.
Two public events were organised in 2016 to disseminate and share the main findings of the fellowship. The first one focused on comparing and contrasting the urban regeneration of Barcelona and London over time was hosted by the Urban Lab at University College London. The second one examined the urban regeneration of el Raval from a temporal perspective and was hosted at the Centro de Cultura Contemporanea Barcelona.