The senses are our first access point in experiencing the street. Whether we are directly engaging with urban life in situ or mapping it via a digital means in an architectural studio, we feel the urban landscape through our bodies, sensorially. In this talk I suggest that developing a sensory dimension, or sensitivity, to researching the street offers a different and more complex approach to understanding urban life and politics, destabilizing the visual economy of the city. Drawing on a range of projects from cities such as Barcelona, Qatar, Milton Keynes and Bedford, I will offer some reflections on how both ‘traditional’ methods and more ‘experimental’ methods can be made more ‘sensory friendly’ to capture the often fleeting, immanent interactions between the social and material. They further allow us a more nuanced understanding of the ‘atmospheric’ transformation of streets, their design and social life (Bohme; Degen et al 2015). I will argue that an innumerable amount of sensations underpin everyday urban public life, and increasingly the urban economy and that these sensory predispositions shape and are shaped by power relations which need to be uncovered.
For more information see: https://www.kent.ac.uk/sspssr/news-events/streetlife-symposium.html