Some Thoughts on Conceptual Images and Planning

The Finnish daily HS recently published an article on the difference between conceptual images of urban planning, and the “real thing”. A similar exercise had been done earlier, in a similar, critical vein by YLE. In his recent blog post, prof. Kimmo Lapintie dissects the reasoning in these articles. One important insight from his post: concept images in town planning differ fundamentally from concept images used for the planning of specific buildings – the first category gives general information about such things as the height of buildings and their location, but not, for example, about facades or balconies and the like. While I agree with the blog that concept images are indeed not to be taken at their face value, and are not intended to be so, I disagree with the implication that most citizens do possess the necessary “reading skills” with which to approach conceptual images. In this sense, adding disclaimers (such as “this building is not going to be really constructed, but simply shows the approximate height, location and size”) could in fact act as a genuinely useful act of public education, rather than as a joke.


source: 11.1.2015

New Critical Geographies Volume out – narrativity as tool

Not entirely related to issues of urban studies, but a new volume of ACME is out, with some interesting avenues of research into narrative and spatiality. The article “Using Narrativity as Methodological Tool” by Eeva-Kaisa Prokkola offers one part of the story how narrative analysis gained ground in geography and the social sciences. It’s a rather shortish article however – more concrete narrative analysis, and more extensive examples of specific methodological tools and their application could have further strenghtened the (very valid) case for narrative-oriented research into questions of (critical) geography. Promising approach nonetheless.