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Reading Socio-Spatial Interplay - Arkitektur- og designhøgskolen i ...

CON • TEXTHilde HaslumReading Socio-Spatial Interplay


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y© Hilde Haslum, 2008ISSN 1502-217xISBN 9788254702192CON-TEXTPhD thesis 37Akademisk doktorgradsavhandlingavgitt vedArkitektur- ogdesignhøgskolen i OsloPUBLISHER:Oslo School of Architecture and DesignCOVER ILLUSTRATION:ImmiGentriPRINTED BY:Unipub ASDESIGN AV BASISMAL:BMR


CON • TEXTTil Mikkel, Nora og Hauk


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A YContentsContentsAcknowledgementsZooming iniv1P A R T 1 :THEORETICAL AND ANALYTICAL FRAMEWORK1. Hunting in theoretical landscapesAn empirical reference analysis in OsloDag Østerberg: Architecture and sociology inOsloCritical deliberations on Østerberg’s approachAn excursion: dialectical perspectives on power, spaceand productionDeleuze and Guattari: space striation vs. makingsmooth spaceMichel de Certeau: strategies and tacticsApproaches to transformation of socio-spatial or sociomaterialstructuresLefebvre’s production of social space vs. Rossi’sproduction of architectural spaceCorresponding analytical concepts forinvestigation of dynamic relationsLefebvre’s triad of socio-spatial dialecticsLefebvre’s rhythmanalysisBourdieu and issues of architectureSocial space and its transformation – accordingto BourdieuLefebvre and Bourdieu combinedSummary remarks1919213334424949586366727578782. An approach to architectural differences in social spaceproduction 81Introduction81To relate urban practices to patterns of materialand cultural consumption84i


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A YThe material (object) and its use valueArchitecture and urban areas as objects of tasteand consumptionThe relevance of Lefebvre’s perspectiveUrban social space: not only homologies anddistinctions, but encounters of differencesRhythmanalysis revisited – a triadic approach toencounters and differencesSummary remarks85868888891003. A method for architectural analysis of interrelated patternsIntroductionMeaning and socio-material complexityAnalysis of differences in complex and dynamiclandscapesA method for analysis of function and “meaning” relatedto architectural differencesArchitectural systems and primaryelements (a+b)Iconographic analysis of architectural uses ofvisual means (c)Rhythmic, relational patterns in architecturaldevelopment (“syntagms”)The architectural case study analysisFirst step: A diachronic study of production ofdifferentiated architectural landscapes in OsloSecond step: Recent patterns in architecturaltransformation101103108111113123126131131132P A R T 2 :C A S E S T U D Y A N A L Y S E S4. Historical development of relational architectural patternsIntroductionThe architectural structure before 1850Primary elements from before 1850Architectural systems and environmental typesfrom before 1850The 1850-1900 growth beltPrimary elementsThe architectural system of urban blocks from1850-1900135136136138141141143ii


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A YParks, squares and open spacesThe 19th century urban apartment blockThe 1900-1950 early modernist growth beltPrimary elements and the architectural systemSport parks, playgrounds, lawns for useEnvironmental types in the reformed urban blocksystem of 1900-45The 1950-1980 General plan growth beltPrimary elements and planning principlesTypological evolution and 3 generations ofsatellite townsSummary remarks1441451501521551571611611701875. Patterns in architectural transformation 1980 - 2007IntroductionCounter-reactions against modernist architecturein general and urban clearance plans inparticularMorphological transformation at Grønland andGrünerløkkaModernized apartments and changes in thesystem of outdoor spacesIconographical and micro-morphological streetscapetransformationsTendenciesHairdressersSpecialist food storesCafés, pubs and eateriesIntroduction of new types of buildingsGrünerløkka and Grønland: New apartment blocktypesNew specialized building types introducingoriental iconographyStability and dynamics related to structural elementsArchitectural stability and changes at FurusetSymbolic and programmatic transformation alongthe Akerselva RiverSummary remarks190190192192197197203208214229229233235235238241iii


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y6. Spatial narrativesIntroductionThe search for a way to group dispositions inorder to study patternsLayers of dispositions and production of adifferentiated urban landscapeLayer 1: Self-imposed transit resident: temporary noninvestingpracticesLayer 3: Imposed permanent residents “settled situation”Layer 2: Self-imposed permanent residents: “consciousneighbouring”Domestic choices related to differences in thearchitecture of buildingsDescriptions of domestic choices and patterns inpractices related to architectural differencesbetween the three study areasSummary remarks243247252254268279279283313Zooming out 317Bibliography 351AppendixInterview guide home interviews 361iv


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A YACKNOWLEDGEMENTSThis thesis has grown out of an interest for understanding the dynamicsbetween architecture and societal development that was sown while I studiedarchitecture at NTH (today NTNU) in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Inaftermath I look back at my first year of professional practice, assisting DagTvilde in developing various structural and morphological urban analyses, asan inspiring extension of my education.I owe gratitude to The Norwegian Research Council for funding theImmiGentri research project and to Oslo School of Architecture and Designfor adding a PhD-position to the project which has given me the opportunityto carry out the study that is summarized in this thesis. Ed Robbins wasproject leader for the ImmiGentri project and my advisor during the projectperiod. Thanks for encouragement and great freedom to develop the thesisproject related to my own interests, and also for giving access to uses of alarge number of student research assistants for data collection (interviews andsystematic annual photo registrations).Halina Dunin-Woyseth was responsible for the formal research educationof the AHO doctoral programme “batch 6” – a small multi-disciplinaryacademic society I have learnt a lot from. Thanks for encouraging comments,useful advises and reading suggestions.Karl Otto Ellefsen has been my main advisor on this thesis project (as wellas on my two earlier master thesis and in graduate and undergraduate coursesin urbanism). Great thanks for two decades of constructive critique, inspiringdiscussions and encouragement.Half way in the thesis work I, by a strike of luck, started discussing myproject with Håkon Lorentzen, Institute for Social Research. He was later onappointed as my co-advisor. Since then his comments and suggestions havebeen indispensable for the development of the thesis.John Pløger, Roskilde University, has provided constructive commentsand encouragement at a critical stage of my thesis work.All credit to Jonny Aspen for generosity and patience through reading,discussions, and even proof reading of several versions of most of this thesis.A whole chapter of colleagues, students, family, and friends have,knowingly or not, played a role in the different phases of this dissertation. Iam indebted to more people than I can mention here. I thank them all for theirkindness and enduring curiosity for my thesis and related issues.Finally, I am deeply grateful for the encouragement, support and love ofmy children Mikkel, Nora and Hauk.Sandvika, October 2008Hilde Haslumv


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Yvi


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y - I N T R O D U C T I O NZooming inINTRODUCTIONInterrelations between architecture, ways of life and societal development arecomplex and dynamic. Urban landscapes transform in various ways. Thereare many different ways of understanding and investigating such complexinterrelations and forces of urban transformation. And different approachesgive different points of entry to analyze and discuss the various aspects ofprocesses involved.The idea behind this PhD-project stems from my experiences with urbananalysis. Both academically and in my professional practice as an urbanplanner and consultant I’ve been working with issues of urban transformationand urban development: Through more than a ten-year involvement in urbananalysis I gradually became interested in the intriguing issue of how toinvestigate and understand socio-architectural interplay in current processesof urban transformation.The way that analyses of social as well as architectural aspects of urbansituations in general are carried out today, seldom provides more than partialknowledge that to a little extent can be combined to inform our understandingof socio-architectural interrelations: In professional planning practice, thearchitectural analyses of urban situations, landscapes and their transformationdo not seem to contribute very much to the urban analyses of social scientists.To the extent that architectural analyses address issues of architectural affectrelated to urban social life, the claims that are made of socio-architecturalinterrelations are by social scientists in general seen as based on a too narrowand rudimentary theoretical understanding of social dynamics. Thus theanalyses are often dismissed. The architectural analyses that people of myprofession produce do therefore very rarely work as basis for other readingsof urban situations, for instance as carried out by social scientists. But it alsoworks the other way around: as long as urban social analyses have as theirmain focus (which they for a long time have had) to investigate aspects ofurban space, urban social life and urban dynamics as phenomena that can be1


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y - I N T R O D U C T I O Ntreated separate from architectural features and characteristics, they do notcontribute very much to the architectural discourse on urban analyses. In ourprofessional practice, as architects and urban planners, we are of coursemainly interested in understanding aspects of urban social life that can berelated to aspects of architecture.In recent years there has been a growing academic and public interest for(changes in) urban life, urban social qualities, urban architecture, urbandynamics and urban transformation. Quite many architects and socialscientists that have urban research and urban analyses of various kinds astheir specialty are today inspired by urban theories on dynamics in sociospatialinterplay, as discussed by urban theorist such as among others HenriLefebvre. The recently much discussed “spatial turn” within the socialsciences has though, as far as I can see, to a little extent brought aboutincreased attention towards architectural aspects of processes of socialchange. There are however exceptions, among others represented by theNorwegian sociologist Dag Østerberg. But it still stands out as a greatchallenge to set up ways of doing urban analyses in which social andarchitectural issues not only are merged, but more thoroughly combined sothat it can inform our understanding of socio-architectural interrelations.My aim with this thesis is therefore to explore ways of investigating socioarchitecturaldynamics, both theoretically and empirically: To search for away of combining architectural and social analyses in order to investigatesocio-architectural interplay in current processes of urban transformation.Point of departure: the city seen as architectureMy point of departure into urban analyses and investigations of socio-spatialinterrelations is as mentioned through architectural analysis of urbandynamics. I come from an academic tradition of urban analysis in which abasic point of view is that urban landscapes can be studied as architecture.The underlying belief is that architectural analyses of urban transformationsprovide interesting and useful insights on urban dynamics – not only forarchitects. Architecture can be seen both a precondition for, an agent in, andalso as a product of, socio-spatial practices of everyday urban life.Architecture should also be understood as a tool in societal development, i.e.as an instrument for organizing space for different activities, and as means forreturn on investment. Thus one can say that processes of architecturaltransformation of urban landscapes are related both to structural forces andprevailing power relations as well as to aspects of individual socio-spatialpractices in terms individual judgments, experiences and choices in everydaysituations.2


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y - I N T R O D U C T I O NDifferent kinds of architectural analysis are used for investigatingdifferent kinds of connections between architecture and ways of life morespecifically and between architecture and societal change in general. It ishowever fair to say that urban dynamics related to social life and individualways of thinking and acting to a very little extent are issues that have beenincluded into urban analyses. On the other hand, as already touched upon,social analyses of processes related to urban change, in general do not takeinto consideration that everyday social life takes place in physicalenvironments with architectural characteristics. Thus one does not seem totake seriously that architectural issues may modulate socio-spatial practicesin different ways.In traditional structuralist studies issues of architecture and ways of life wereunderstood and analyzed as closely interwoven aspects of the investigatedsocietal structures: as integrated socio-spatial, socio-material, socio-symbolicand socio-cultural systems of social as well as architectural forms. Thefunction and meaning of each architectural element and its related socialpractices was thus understood in relation to the other elements of the system.This perspective provides understanding of architectural elements asintegrated socio-material tools for socio-spatial practices related to certainways of life: each architectural element can as such be understood as anelement of an environmental tool kit and be defined in relation to otherelements of the morphological system (understood as a closed system ofarchitectural forms as well as social forms). In a number of acknowledgedexample-studies of “primitive” societies, mainly carried out by ethnologistsbut also by architects and researchers from other disciplines, one gets theimpression of a “perfect fit” between architecture and ways of life. In suchmodels of a “perfect fit” there is however no room neither for change anddevelopment, nor for individual initiative: Structuralist studies as theseillustrate in nice ways how patterns in individual practices can be said tomaintain morphological systems, but such studies are not able to explain orreveal how patterns in individual ways of thinking and acting can emerge andtransform the system.My understanding of how to analyze urban forms and urban structures hasdeveloped from the analytic perspectives of “Realistic urban analysis” 1 and“Urban structural analysis”. 2 These two methodological approaches were1 Ellefsen, Karl Otto & Dag Tvilde 1991: Realistisk Byanalyse.Trondheim: Skriftserie ArkitektavdelingenNTH2 Strukturanalyse is an analytic strategy that first was developed by Dag Tvilde and Netten Østberg in a studyof how different physical-functional sets of urban elements are related to different structural aspects of urbantransformation, focusing on the urban structure of Drammen. Asplan Viak AS: Strukturanalyse Drammen,1991. The study was a basis for impact assessment of reconfiguring the highway systems through the city. The3


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y - I N T R O D U C T I O Ndeveloped in Norway in the 1990’s as attempts to combine and makeoperative elements from a long French/Italian tradition of studies of therelation between development of societies and their landscapes. The overallintention was to provide practitioners with analytic tools for discussion ofarchitectural strategies in urban development. The discussions of how we canconceptualize the city as architecture, as reflected in Aldo Rossi’s famousbook The Architecture of the City, were essential for the development ofthese methods. I was as introduced to these methods as a student, and they’vehad great importance for my later professional and academic work with urbananalyses. 3Typological, morphological and structural studies of modern (complexand dynamic) urban landscapes can be said to have epistemological kinshipwith the more static structuralist analyses. In order to incorporateperspectives on change and development in such analyses one has focused onarchitectural elements seen as products of societal development, rather thanas elements of more integrated socio-spatial, socio-material, socio-symbolicor socio-cultural systems of both social and architectural forms. 4Within structural and morphological studies of dynamic relations betweensocieties and their architectural landscapes, two different perspectives,traditions or lines of explanatory systems can be outlined: 5 Both of these twoanalytic concepts were then further developed in three studies of the transport systems and urban developmentas basis for an impact-assessment for upgrading and reconfiguring the railroad system (in the towns ofFredrikstad, Moss, and Halden), 1992-93, by Østberg and Tvilde. The following year, the concepts werefurther developed through two other studies that discussed potentials for urban development with alternativerailroad-, main road- and housing-strategies in the town Holmestrand (Asplan Viak AS 1994: By- ogstrukturanalyse Holmestrand, by Tvilde Hovland, Østberg & Haslum) and in a study of physical-functionalsets of urban elements having affects on the potential for urban development related to alternative localizationsof a new opera house in Oslo (Asplan Viak AS 1994: Bystrukturelle sammenhenger – grunnlag for KUlokalisering av nytt operabygg i Oslo, by Tvilde, Hovland, Østberg & Haslum). The analytic strategy,concepts, and preliminary experiences from the empirical studies were later presented in an unpublishedreport: Tvilde, Dag et al. 1997. Steder i endring. Utkastnotat om bruk av strukturanalyse. Oslo, Ministry of theEnvironment/Asplan Viak AS3 Although this theoretical base is not explicit in the published material related to these two analyticapproaches, Tvilde and Ellefsen have been more than explicit on this in their teaching, as well as in laterdiscussions: I have been a student of Ellefsen (basic course in urbanism 1988, master course 1990, masterdiploma 1993, post-graduate master in urbanism 2000, and he is also my adviser on this thesis project), and Ihave been working with Tvilde (my first year of professional practice was as Tvilde’s assistant, later we haveoccasionally co-authored urban studies – the most recent published spring 2006). Tvilde was a student of Rossiat ETH in the 1970s and both Ellefsen and Tvilde explicitly refer to Aldo Rossi’s The Architecture of the Cityand to his inspiration from structuralism and French-Italian discourses on urban studies in the 20 th century.4 In typological, morphological and structural analyses of urban landscapes the city is investigated as:- an inventory of architectural types (which can be identified and classified),- a structural whole (of internally related elements, patterns and ensembles),- a structure of cultural expressions (like language), and- a result of historical processes.5 In books and overview-articles within the research field of Urban Morphology multiple other distinctionsbetween schools and traditions are made. The reason why I here discern these two perspectives is that I findthe different analytic approaches they represent useful for different purposes in my studies of urbantransformation and the dynamic relation between societies and their landscapes in general, and moreparticularly in this project. The two Norwegian methods I just mentioned provides procedures and analyticconcepts which seek to combine some elements of these two perspectives (although without discussion of orreferences to them), to produce a practical basis for discussions of potentials for, and consequences of, changesin the architectural landscape. Other studies, like the socio-spatial systems in the study of the transformation ofthe idea (or architectural model) of the urban block in Europe between 1850 and 1950 (Panerai et al. 1974),4


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y - I N T R O D U C T I O Ndifferent approaches to urban structures and their development can revealorderliness in urban architecture that are related to societal development. Ifthey are combined, the two approaches can reveal more complex regularitiesin the development of urban landscapes.The first perspective seeks the causes and the laws of urban developmentwithin the city itself. The city is compared with an organism, which both inperiods of growth and stagnation, is sensitive to changes in its environment(exogenous factors), while the development follows an intrinsic logic of thecity itself, in the same way as for living organisms. This perspective implies afocus on continuity in processes of historical development, and investigatehow local particularities in the socio-material landscape conditiondevelopment of the urban structure. 6 This usually includes analyses of‘permanences’ in dynamic relations between major structural elements orensembles in the urban landscape (and their transformation) and thedevelopment of the urban landscape as a whole. By this, site specificdynamic and relational issues of function, role and meanings related tocentral elements of the urban structure can be identified.The second perspective seeks causes of urban transformation moredirectly in historical and social changes. Urban forms are placed in thehistorical situation in which they originated, which leads to an identificationof historically produced sets of architectural products constituting the city oftoday. In such analyses historical development of the urban landscape isexplained as a product of succeeding societal forms (economical and culturalsystems) and investigated as different historical ‘sedimentary layers’ ofadjustment of the environmental tool set (the built urban landscape)following the logics of shifting modes of production, ways of life and powerrelations. 7 By investigating the current architectural landscape as a graduallydeveloped patchwork of different ‘archaeological’ layers of architectural toolkits – each related to different historical situations and distinct ways of life –qualitative architectural characteristics related to intended functionality canbe discerned.Both these approaches are based on an overall structural model ofrelations between architecture, ways of life and societal development inwhich structural societal changes recess into the urban landscape and producedifferences for individuals’ lived life. Social and cultural dynamics related todevelopment of new patterns in individual ways of thinking and acting are inand the décalages in the well documented monograph on social and material morphology in Marseilles(Roncayolo: 1990 and 1996) demonstrates other fruitful ways of combining these two perspectives in moretheoretical studies of urban transformation. (I will come back to them later on).6 The French geographer Marcel Pöète and later the Italian architect Aldo Rossi’s concept primary elementscan be related to this tradition. I will come back to them later on.7 The French art historian Pierre Francastel, Rossi’s concept morphological systems, but also to a certain extent the Norwegian sociologist Dag Østerberg, which I soon will come back to, canboth be related to this tradition.5


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y - I N T R O D U C T I O Nsuch analyses treated as implicit background factors that only areincorporated when already aggregated into power producing architecturaltransformation.Generally speaking, we can assume that the morphological characteristics ofnew patterns in urban architecture in general (but not necessarily always)support and correspond with at least some aspects of the expectations of adesired way of life, at least for a certain number of its new users andinhabitants (not necessarily all). By uses of morphological analyses we canidentify systematic differences in how the architecture of different urbanareas is accommodated for different ways of life. As preferences andconducts develop over time, we can then also assume that the architecturalenvironments of many, maybe even most, urban housing areas are slightly“out of phase” with the societal situations and ways of life they weredesigned to serve. In current processes of urban transformation, related to forinstance processes of immigration and gentrification, we can observe hownew patterns of urban practices emerge within the existing architecturallandscape by social groups and activities lumping together, transforming theimage, function and role of urban areas. Traditional structuralist studies of“primitive” societies reveal symmetries between social and architecturalpatterns in relatively static and stable morphological systems. The social andarchitectural patterns of complex and dynamic urban landscapes are howevernot self-grown, time-honored and “stable”. Thus we cannot expect to findsimilar kinds of symmetry between architectural and social patterns. Thescope of morphological architectural analyses of complex modern urbanlandscapes is then to analyze how structural elements and morphologicalpatterns in the architectural structure interrelate, and how they relate to thesocietal conditions they are both products of and produced for. Analyses ofdifferent morphological systems in a modern urban landscape are not set outas a description of a patchwork of stable socio-architectural systems, but assystems of relations within architectural products. These systems of relationscan be seen as produced by dynamic discrepancies between aggregatedarchitectural as well as social patterns.Morphological patterns in the environmental production of differenthistorical periods are often analyzed as architectural manifestations of ideasand intentions among those with political, economical and professionalpower to influence the architectural production. The architecturalcharacteristics can thus be related to certain ways of understanding thesocietal situation and what the main challenges and potentials fordevelopment are, in addition to giving an understanding of how toaccommodate for specific kinds of societal development, including a6


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y - I N T R O D U C T I O Nprescription environmental tools that can support and bring about a desireddevelopment. By this, we can identify aspects of intended functionalityembedded in different patterns of architectural characteristics. When societaldevelopment is analyzed through successive sequences of architecturalproduction, some essential aspects of the interrelated dynamics betweenarchitecture, ways of life and societal development elude analysis:Somewhere between those historical situations where new patterns inarchitectural production can be observed as architectural manifestations ofsocietal development, changes in ways of life develop within the urbanlandscape by way of changing patterns in individual ways of thinking,choosing and acting. Without bringing about a change the actual architecture,individuals can for instance move to another place, they can seek activitiesand places outside their neighbourhood, they can use architecturalenvironmental facilities in their neighbourhood in other ways than they weredesigned for, and they can express their dissatisfaction or preferences innumerous other ways. This brings us to an overall important question: inwhat ways are aspects of the tangible, architectural environments involved insocio-cultural processes of change?Architecture and analyses of socio-cultural urban transformationIn current urban theories that are based on empirical studies of processes ofurban socio-cultural or socio-economic transformation, the processes of arein general understood and investigated as something taking place almostindependent of architectural space. One example of this is the quitecomprehensive literature on gentrification. Here two main explanatorymodels have been applied in studies of how previously run down workingclass areas in many European and North American cities, have changedfunction, role and image related to new inhabitants, users and activities:In the rent-gap model the architecture of the areas in which new patterns inurban ways of life emerge are in general treated as an almost arbitrarybackdrop: The areas in which these phenomena appear “happens to” havecertain architectural characteristics since they were built at a certain time, andthe many synchronized processes of gentrification going on are explained bya long time suffer from disinvestment, representing a “rent gap” in relationto their central location in the urban landscape.In the life style-preference model the observable architectural changesrelated to gentrification is treated as a product or reflection of the life stylepreferences (i.e. aesthetical preferences, consumer preferences and preferredconducts and practices) of the new middle class inhabitants and users of theareas. The recognizable architectural “symptoms” of gentrification are relatedto a globalized culture and economy, and the architectural transformation isdescribed and understood as an imprint or a product of new ways of life that7


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y - I N T R O D U C T I O Nhave entered into the areas – almost as some kind of extra-terrestrial invasionof flocks of individuals with pre-programmed sets of preferences andconducts in addition of power to pursue them.On a general level the historical development of urban landscapes ofEuropean cities have much in common, and for the last century even someAmerican cities follows the same broad patterns of historically ‘layered’architecture, concentric growth and periods of architectural productionrelated to developments in means of production and ways of life. Analternative way to investigate observable results of the seemingly“synchronized extra-terrestrial invasions” could be to investigate moreclosely how such observable patterns actually have developed, and from whatkinds of tensions and dynamics between architecture and ways of life theyspring out. By focusing on interplay between architecture and ways of life analternative explanatory model could for instance be that the affinity forpotential environmental qualities that one can find in gentrifying areas, hasdeveloped as a reaction against missing environmental qualities in otherurban areas in which newcomers to the area previously resided. Andfurthermore, that the urban conducts and the architectural transformation ofgentrified areas both are enabled and limited by the range of potential usequalities embedded in the architecture of these areas. Such an approach raisesquestions such as: How can patterns in individual ways of thinking and actingbe related to specific aspects of architecture? How do patterns in individualdispositions and practices interact with patterns in architecturaltransformation? To investigate how such patterns emerge within urbanlandscapes as a result of interplay between architecture and ways of life,requires a more thorough theoretical understanding of how architecture andways of life interrelate.On treasure hunting in epistemological gapsThe different academic traditions that focus on socio-spatial interrelations canbe said to operate with analytical concepts that seem to function well withinthe premises of each tradition. But such concepts are not easy to transfer ortranslate from one tradition to another: Homophonic key concepts such as“space”, “place”, “form”, “practice”, etc. are understood and discussed quitedifferently within different disciplines and traditions. Also the generaltheoretical models of which interrelations that are most important vary verymuch. Both the tradition of urban (social) theory with its related empiricalstudies of urban social change, and the tradition of urban (architectural)theory with its related empirical studies of urban architectural developmentare established academic traditions. In general, each of these two traditionsseems to omit those aspects of socio-architectural interrelations that arefocused by the other tradition. But this does not imply that those aspects of8


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y - I N T R O D U C T I O Ninterrelations that are missed out in analyses in one of the traditions, iscovered by the analyses carried out in the other tradition. Thus the lacunasbetween different analytic approaches to urban dynamics represent a mainchallenge for conceptualizing socio-architectural interrelations:There are gaps between approaches that either see the socio-spatialenvironment as a pure social construct or see the urban landscapes as purearchitecture.There are also gaps between structural approaches to processes of societalchange and approaches focusing on patterns in individual socio-spatialpractices. This makes it difficult to see dynamic interrelations betweenstructural aspects of urban environments and developments of multiplepatterns in individual practices.My research strategyThe intricate and dynamic nature of the study object (socio-architecturalinterplay) implies that it is not possible to find one overall analytic model thatcan be used to explain all observable phenomena in relation to each other.The ambition of this thesis-project is therefore not to find a way of filling theabovementioned gaps, but to explore a way of maneuvering within them, bymaking partial analyses that are more specifically tailored to inform other.One way of doing this could have been to make a more specific theoreticalreview of different kinds of analyses of current urban transformation. 8Discussions of what different analytical approaches can do and not, and howdifferent analytic concepts are used and understood differently withindifferent traditions, are in general interesting and useful. I am, however, evenmore interested in figuring out how to combine elements of differentapproaches to socio-architectural dynamics, and, furthermore, to try out whatsuch a combined empirical analysis can reveal of socio-architectural interplayin concrete case studies.On this background my aim is to develop an architectural analysis that canbe combined with an analysis of social practices, in order to carry out anempirical investigation of which aspects of socio-architectural interplay sucha combined analysis can reveal. Therefore I have in this project chosen toexplore ways of investigating socio-architectural interplay along twodifferent paths: one theoretical and one empirical.With the purpose of making a combined empirical analysis of socialvariables in architecture and architectural variables in social life, the8 Others have successfully produced various kinds of almost encyclopedic overviews and critiques on differentanalytic perspectives on related topics. Among others both Jens Tonboe and Pier Giorgio Gerosa provideinteresting critiques of the existing academic discourse on respectively “social space” within sociology andcultural geography, and “urban space” within different traditions of urban analyses.9


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y - I N T R O D U C T I O Narchitectural analysis as well as the analysis of socio-spatial dispositions mustcome out of a theoretically informed understanding of important dimensionsin socio-architectural interrelations. Post-structural (urban) theories addressissues of interplay and interrelated dynamics that cannot be grasped by thestructurally based theories and their analytic models on transformation ofrespectively architectural or social structures. Contrary to structurally basedtheories and methods, however, these are analytic theories that don’t provideanalytic methods or models for empirical investigation. I believe that poststructural(urban) theories on interplay, differences and dynamic interrelationcan sensitivize our use and ways of combining aspects of differentstructurally based methods for empirical investigation of urbantransformation. And furthermore, that this also can help us reveal aspects ofsocio-architectural interplay that we are not able to see neither withstructurally based analyses alone nor totally without them.In the theoretical part 1 I will present a ‘conceptual tool box’ forinvestigations of socio-architectural interplay that in different ways can workas a basis for my empirical analyses in part 2. The discussions throughout thethree chapters (chapter 1-3) are meant to constitute:- A basis for programming the architectural analysis, by discussion ofwhich aspects of what kinds of interplay the architectural analysisshall be designed to grasp – and, furthermore, to discuss what kindsof methodological implications this leads to seen in relation to otherkinds of empirical approaches (such as for instance the structuralmorphologicaltradition and Dag Østerberg’s socio-materialanalysis).- A programmatic basis for the analysis of socio-spatial practices, bydiscussions of what kinds of socio-architectural interrelations theanalysis shall be designed to grasp – in relation to Bourdieu’s andLefebvre’s complimentary theories on social space production.- An analytic basis for interpreting interrelatedness within socioarchitecturalpatterns of various kinds that are to be investigated inthe empirical analysis.When I talk about putting together and presenting a ‘conceptual tool box’ theintention is to use discussions of different analytic approaches on aspects ofsocio-architectural interplay as a kind of ‘clearing up-operation’ when itcomes to how we can understand and investigate various aspects of socioarchitecturalinterplay. When doing so I will make use of different theoreticaltexts for different purposes:Some of the theoretical texts will be used to find both analytic conceptsand an interpretative framework for how to investigate and understandcomplex and dynamic socio-spatial interplay: My discussions of texts by10


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y - I N T R O D U C T I O NLefebvre, De Certeau and Bourdieu will in different ways be used to provideinsights of important dimensions in processes of socio-spatial interplay, and,furthermore, to clarify the interpretative framework and strategies that willform the basis for empirical investigations.As mentioned earlier, Aldo Rossi has for a long time been quite central formy theoretical understanding of urban landscapes and their dynamics. Bydiscussing Rossi in relation to theoretical perspectives on complex anddynamic socio-spatial interplay the intention is to explore analytic limitationsand potentials in using aspects of Rossi’s approach in a more combinedanalysis of socio-architectural interplay.Some other of the texts are mainly used as inspiring ways of thinking interms of ideas and perspectives that can help me out in the ‘clearing upoperations’.This particularly goes for the analytic theories of Deleuze andGuattari, but partly also for De Certeau and Lefebvre: Their manner of poststructuralcriticism of theoretical foundations, for instance as the ones (i.e.structuralism and Marxism) one can find in Rossi’s (and in Østerberg’s)analytical approaches to urban landscapes, address ways of understandingcomplex dynamics related to interrelatedness and interplay between differentkinds of human spatial agency.Other theorists will be used to exemplify and clarify aspects of discussionsof analytic concepts and issues related to interpretative strategies orframework (for instance Mayol et al., Choay, Panerai et al.).I will also present theoretical perspectives that first of all will be used toclarify how analytical approaches that seek to merge social and architecturalissues of urban landscapes (for example Østerberg), to a little extent caninform investigations of socio-architectural interplay, although they provideother useful insights.In the empirical part 2 I will carry out case studies in three specific studyareas in Oslo. The overall focus will be on relational patterns in architecturaltransformation (structural elements, morphological systems, morphological,micro-morphological and iconographical transformation) as well as onpatterns in individual socio-spatial dispositions and practices. By combiningdifferent part-studies I intend to investigate how different observable sociospatialpatterns interrelate.With my academic and professional background, I found it natural to takearchitectural analyses as a starting point. Therefore the focus inmethodological discussions will be how to develop an architectural analysisthat can work as basis for carrying out part-studies of socio-architecturalinterplay. This of course also reflects that my theoretical training andpractical experience first of all is related to the traditions of architectural11


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y - I N T R O D U C T I O Nurban analyses. But if I had had a background as a social scientist, I wouldprobably have started in quite another end.Since this PhD-thesis has been a part of a larger interdisciplinary researchproject (I will soon come back to this), the project plan of the latter gave mesome conditions for the succession and design of different part studies. Timeconsuming data-collection, especially related to our prospect of analyzingindividual social practices (cf. the interview survey that I soon will comeback to), had to be started relatively early in the project period. The otherresearchers in the project group, with academic background from socialsciences, were responsible for the design of the interview guide. My methodfor analyzing this data material was therefore to come out of the interviewmaterial I had at hand, in relation to both the theoretical discussions of howsocio-architectural interplay can be conceptualized and the architecturalanalysis.The structure of the thesisThis thesis is organized in two parts, one theoretical (chapter 1-3) and oneempirical (chapter 4-6). My use of diverse literature in the theoreticaldiscussion in the first three chapters, and my use of empirical data material(architectural surveys and interviews) in the last three chapters, is to beunderstood as interrelated and equally important paths for investigatingsocio-architectural interplay in urban transformation.In the first part (chapter 1-3) I will discuss analytical concepts andinterpretative frames for investigation and understanding different interactingaspects of socio-architectural dynamics.1. In chapter one I will explore different theoretical perspectives onsocio-spatial interplay. The main focus in this chapter is to examinemore overall approaches for understanding the transforming powerof urban life, seen as aggregated patterns of individual practices that,somehow, are dynamically related to production of patterns inarchitectural landscapes.2. In chapter two I will, on the basis of the more general discussions inchapter one, establish and discuss an approach for analysis of socialspace production that incorporates ways in which architecture playsan important role.3. In chapter three I will, on the basis of the approach discussed inchapter two, establish an analytical method for analysis ofarchitectural characteristics that can function as a basis forinvestigations of social patterns and socio-architecturalinterrelatedness.12


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y - I N T R O D U C T I O NIn the second part (chapter 4-6) I will carry out case studies of socioarchitecturalpatterns and interplay in the three study areas. The analysis isdivided into three parts, which build upon each other. Each of the three partanalysesinvestigates different kinds of interrelated socio-spatial patterns:4. In chapter four I will investigate how the general architecturalcharacteristics of the three study areas historically have beendeveloped in relation to the transforming urban landscape of Oslo. Iwill here focus on aspects of how architectural systems and elementsare designed to work as socio-spatial tools-kits for urban life.5. In chapter five, that builds on chapter four, I will investigate recentpatterns of architectural and iconographical developments andcharacteristics in the three study areas. I will here focus on how newand established architectural forms and patterns interrelate.6. In chapter six, I will investigate patterns of practices andexperiences as described in the interview material. I will here focuson how these patterns relate to or play upon architectural forms andfeatures examined in chapter four and five.In the final discussion called “Zooming out” I will present some moreconcluding reflections on the outcomes of these two parallel investigations.A thesis-project related to the larger research project: ImmigentriMy thesis-project has been related to a larger research project at Oslo schoolof architecture and design (AHO), financed by the Norwegian ResearchCouncil (NFR) during the period 2001-2005: Urban transformation: urbanform, gentrification and immigration – Oslo as an example of European citydevelopment (“Immigentri”). 9 The overall aim of the Immigentri-project wasto investigate the relations between physical urban form and socio-culturalpractices by case study analysis in three study areas in Oslo.The main purpose of the Immigentri-project was to examine theinterrelationship between physical transformation and processes ofgentrification and immigration. Instead of focusing on structural causes ofgentrification and immigration, the project focused on the effects theseprocesses have on the physical fabric of the city, and vice versa, what kinds9 Project group (at department of urbanism, AHO): Professor Ed Robbins (project leader and anthropologist),Jonny Aspen (cultural historian), Elin Børrud (architect), and myself. Internal resource group: Karl OttoEllefsen, Lars Haukeland and Gro Bonesmo (all architects). The project also had an international referencegroup: Prof. Eric Clark (Lund University), prof. Michael Keith (Goldsmiths College, London), prof. ArnaldoBagnasco (University of Turin), prof. Carlo Trigilia (Univ. of Florence), prof. Neil Smith (Rutgers University),prof. Anne-Vernez Moudon (University of Washington), ass. Prof Rodolphe El-Khoury (University ofToronto), researcher John Pløger (NIBR).13


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y - I N T R O D U C T I O Nof effects the physical fabric could be said to have on the processes ofimmigration and gentrification. Another central issue was to see theseprocesses together: To develop a theoretical approach for understanding theinteraction and interrelation of gentrification and immigration and their effecton the physical fabric of the postmodern city.The project was summarized in a final research report to NFR in December2005. Central findings and issues were also discussed in articles by thedifferent project group-members, in Jonny Aspen (ed.) 2005: By og byliv iendring. Studier av byrom og handlingsrom i Oslo, Oslo, ScandinavianAcademic Press.Both during the project period and thereafter I was given more or less fullliberty to define and design my own PhD-project in relation to theImmigentri-project. The leader of the research project, professor Ed Robbins,who also was my main adviser during the project period, encouraged me tofollow my own curiosities rather than worrying about how my thesis-project,as it developed, would provide outputs that matched the Immigentri-project’sinitial description. As a member of the project group I was also able toinfluence the profile of the data that were to be collected. Thus I’ve had greatbenefits from having access to a wide range of collected data.The data material feeding the empirical analysesThe data material that is to be used in the empirical analyses (chapter 4-6)consists of historical data and a number of new registrations in addition tosecondary sources that will be referenced. As mentioned above, beingassociated with the larger research project – representing resources to hirestudent research assistants to carry out a number of quite time-consumingregistrations – I’ve had the privilege to be able to be quite extravagant in myuses of data material. The most important historical data that will be used inthe empirical analysis are historical city maps (listed at end of thebibliography), architectural drawings of different types of buildings in thestudy areas, 10 historical photos (from Oslo City Archives) and historicalregisters of businesses and enterprises. Of the material that was gathered inthe Immigentri-project, I will first of all make use of the following:Regular surveys in all three study areas: 11 Systematic and yearly photographic registrations of façades, signsand shop-windows in five key streets,10 Gathered from the archives of Oslo municipality, Plan- og bygningsetaten.11 Carried out by architect-student research assistants in the summer of 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005.14


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y - I N T R O D U C T I O N Photographic registrations of a large selection of space interiors inall five key streets, Photographic registration of streetscapes, street-life, park life,furniture in public space, signs, shop windows, backyards and openshared spaces in all three study areas.(Totally this represents a photo-database of approximately 30,000 pictures.)Interviews in all three study areas: 12 Home-interviews with 104 inhabitants focusing on dispositions,practices and experiences related to living in and using the differentstudy areas. Interviews with 66 shopkeepers in key streets focusing oncommercial and architectural strategies.The three study areas: Grønland, Grünerløkka and FurusetThe three study areas have different development histories, locations in theurban structure and architecture:The three study areas in the urban landscape of Oslo (figure-ground-map highlighting the shapeof buildings)12 Carried out by ethnology-student research assistants 2002-2004.15


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y - I N T R O D U C T I O NGrønland is located near the city’s historical and current transport junctionand has architectural fragments from all of the city’s historical developmentphases. Grünerløkka is a uniformly planned classical urban area that wasdeveloped in the period of industrial urban growth from the 1870s andonwards. Furuset is a modernist satellite-town from the post-war welfarestate urban growth period, as a “third generation” satellite town, Furuset wasplanned and realized after, an as a response to the massive critique ofmodernist urban planning in Oslo.All three areas are in different ways involved in socio-cultural processes ofchange, which among other issues implies that they are put to use in otherways and by other social groups than previously. All three areas are currentlyexperiencing significant gentrification and/or immigration, but in relativelydifferent ways. The ways that these areas are involved in the processes ofgentrification and immigration, will make it possible to study some of themore important mechanisms of urban development in contemporary Oslo:Grünerløkka is today associated with gentrification, while Grønland isassociated with ethnic diversity. Population statistics from SSB 13 show thatthe immigrant population from both Western and non-Western countries isgradually increasing in Oslo. From 1997-99 the non-Western immigrantpopulation has increased in most of Oslo’s 25 districts, apart from in morehomogenous western districts of the city. Of districts with the highestpercentage of immigrants, there in the inner districts is some decrease inGrünerløkka-Sofienberg and some increase in Grønland/Gamle Oslo, whilethe satellite towns of Furuset, Stovner and Søndre Nordstrand are about todevelop as Oslo’s new immigrant districts, whereas the ‘older’ immigrantareas in inner parts of the city are becoming more and more gentrified. BothGrünerløkka and Grønland, as previously run down and working classdominated areas, have in recent times received significant public investmentsthrough urban renewal programs, increased commercial activity related to“urban recreation”, and an increased number of relatively young, ethnicNorwegian inhabitants. Like many other suburban satellite towns in Oslo,Furuset has in the last ten years received an increasing number of non-Western immigrants, both from central urban areas like Grønland andGrünerløkka, from abroad, and from other places in Norway. Simultaneously,the commercial businesses at the satellite town centre are suffering fromcompetition from both regional shopping centres and central urban areas –such as Grønland.13 Statistisk sentralbyrå (Statistics Norway).16


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 1PART 1Theoretical and analytical framework1 HUNTING IN THEORETICAL LANDSCAPES2 AN APPROACH TO ARCHITECTURALDIFFERENCES IN SOCIAL SPACEPRODUCTION3 A METHOD FOR ARCHITECTURALANALYSIS OF INTERRELATED PATTERNS17


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R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 11. Hunting in theoretical landscapesAN EMPIRICAL REFERENCE ANALYSIS IN OSLOMy case studies are situated in the urban landscape of Oslo. Probably themost famous and celebrated work on socio-architectural matters inScandinavia is the Norwegian sociologist Dag Østerberg’s monograph onOslo. 14 Østerberg’s Arkitektur og sosiologi i Oslo represents an attempt tocombine a sociological and an architectural interpretation of a large urbanarea. Østerberg’s analysis of the Oslo landscape is based on his ownexperience and knowledge of historical contexts in which different sociomaterialelements of the landscape were produced. His analysis is by manyconsidered as ground-breaking. Even though Østerberg’s analysis providesinsights both on how the urban landscape can be seen as a socio-materialsynthesis, and also knowledge about my case Oslo, what interests me and hasrelevance for the focus in my own project, is that different kinds of dynamicsbetween social and architectural urban transformation seems to elude hisanalysis. 15In my search for a theoretical approach I will discuss Østerberg’s analysisas a help to clarify in what ways, and why aspects of his approach seemunsuited for grasping the dynamics I want to investigate.Dag Østerberg: Architecture and sociology in OsloØsterberg 16 bases his analysis on a notion of “human life as a materialexistence in material environments”, where “the material activity changes theenvironments, as traces, or signs, or as tools and other forms suitable for the14 Dag Østerberg 1998: Arkitektur og sosiologi i Oslo – en sosio-materiell fortolkning, Pax forlag, Oslo. Thetitle translated: Architecture and sociology in Oslo – a socio-material interpretation.15 To Østerberg’s defense it is maybe appropriate to mention that he has explicitly clarified (once I invited himto a seminar related to the practice/experience based master program in urbanism, November 2004) that hisproject was not about investigating urban transformation or societal development at all: His project was only todemonstrate that it is possible to see the urban landscape as a socio-material synthesis – a socio matter. Butsince I would have appreciated his initiative even more if it also could have shed light on how the socio-matteris involved with societal development, I allow myself to use Østerberg’s analysis as a reference study to workon from.16 All quotes from Østerberg are my translations from Norwegian. Many of Østerberg’s concepts are his ownconstructions: socio-matter (sosiomaterie), the socio-material field for/of action (det sosio-materiellehandlingsfelt), and socio-material condensations (sosiomaterielle fortetninger) are examples of conceptsintroduced to the Norwegian vocabulary by Østerberg.19


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 1purpose”. 17 In this way the socio-matter is understood as matter formed by(collective) human activities, as a socio-material product of historicaldevelopment. The socio-material environments represent constraints andpossibilities, or experiences of burden and relief for the users exercising theirlives there:The environments emerge as a socio-material field of action,where the socio-matter in a way communicates with people inthe field, who respond through their behavior. 18Østerberg deliberately avoids concepts like “city” and “urban”, as he findsneither of them operational nor accurate enough the understanding thephenomena he observes. Instead he describes environments as systems inwhich buildings and other kinds of material are in proximity to each other,where people and the human activities are densely localized, as “sociomaterialcondensations”.Two interwoven perspectives on the socio-matterAs I read Østerberg, he combines two perspectives in his approach to thesocio-material environment: On the one hand the material environment is seen as sociomatter:as a socio-material product of a societal order(representing a structure perspective) On the other hand, Østerberg describes how the individual issensitive to the socio-matter because it can be recognized assuch, and not just as material environments. According toØsterberg individuals experience and respond to symbols andsituations as historically produced characteristics in the sociomateriallandscape (practice perspective).The two sides are closely interwoven, and cannot, according to Østerberg, betotally separated. Østerberg illustrates the distinction between the twoapproaches by presenting two different interpretations or perspectives. Firstlyhe describes Oslo archeologically as a landscape consisting of fragments offour different layers or sediments. Each of the sediments are interpreted as an“imprint of a corresponding system of government – or a political code”. 19Secondly, he gives a more general discussion of different sorts of experiencesof burden and relief, specifically related to conditions of highly dense sociomatter(urban life or urbanity), experiences which are not explicitly related to17 “En sosio-materiell tilnærming legger vekt på at menneskelivet er en materiell tilværelse i materielleomgivelser, den materielle virksomheten forandrer omgivelsene, som spor, eller tegn, eller som redskap ellerandre formålstjenlige former” Ibid p.2718 “Omgivelsene fremstår som et sosio-materielt handlingsfelt, hvor sosio-materien på et vis henvender seg tilmenneskene I feltet, som svarer tilbake gjennom sin adferd” Ibid p.2719 Ibid p.3420


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 1Oslo. Secondly and finally he continues the discussion of the Oslo-area,based on insights from former chapters, focusing on burden and relief, itsimaginary and real characteristics, its form and deformation (transformation).A diachronic investigation of four “archaeological layers” – reflecting historical regimesThe most recent archaeological layer Østerberg identifies is the mazdaisticsediment – with reference to the car-dependent, commuting, regional way oflife, where a secondhand Mazda is a reasonable choice as the car is aninevitable necessity – not a passion. The mazdaistic sediment stretches out ofOslo’s administrative borders and includes a number of surroundingmunicipalities, including the neighbour towns Drammen and Moss. Thesprawl along the communication system, with its shopping malls, high-techand cargo businesses, and suburban housing areas, all belong to thissediment, produced after 1960.The next layer, the functionalistic sediment, was based on a socio-liberalor socio-democratic political code, which produced functionalisticinstitutions and housing areas as a ‘liberation’ from class-conflicts at thesame time as the social differentiation of the recreational institutions becamemore expelled. Cinemas, sport-arenas and libraries (replacing the opera,theaters and museums as the most important cultural institutions), publictransportation, and the first public housing programs all belongs to thissediment.The third layer, the bourgeois sediment is described as an imprint of theliberal political code. This sediment gave Oslo its east and west division, butalso the monumental buildings and public spaces related to the city’s role asthe capital of the new and young national state (since 1814). This sedimentwas produced during the 19 th century and even today includes most of olderbuildings inside the ring road 2.The eldest layer is the disciplinary sediment, a material imprint of theabsolutistic-mercantile political code, whose three elements were the State,the Market (not yet a liberal one), and the subject-inhabitant. This sediment isan imprint of the absolute monarchy; with the first grid localized besides thecastle (Kvadraturen), as a result of the Danish-Norwegian king’s decision in1664 to remove the old (medieval) town 400 meters westwards for betterprotection. In Christiania the division of socio-economic classes did not gobetween east and west, but between the more or less privileged who livedinside the city walls and those who lived in the illegal suburbs outside.Critical deliberations on Østerberg’s approachØsterberg’s interpretation of the Oslo-area as a socio-material imprint ofchanging systems of governance and changing political codes, grantsprivilege to the last sediment (produced in “our” times, by “our” society and21


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 1“our” way of life) and attributes little meaning to earlier layers. They arereduced to reminiscences and material memories, with potential powerlimited to symbolic flavouring of the functions they shelter today. Theaddition of a new sediment is described as a contrasting reaction to theformer one, which implies a discrimination of “what was not new? /what didnot change?” in benefit of “what was new? /what was different?”Østerberg’s diachronic description presents the socio-material landscapeof Oslo as a stack of four archaeological layers, each an imprint of regimesdifferent from the previous period, each layer both wider and thicker than theformer. But even though increasing mobility has given more individualslarger range, and even though the continuous carpet of the “builtenvironment” has grown wider, this approach, as I see it, gives a somewhatsimplified insight into dynamics of the transformation and development ofthe landscape / socio-material field of Oslo. The four-layer-imprint-view onthe growth of the socio-material field makes it difficult to observe importantaspects of historical continuity in Oslo’s regional development or importantaspects of transformation and change: Geographically, the functional regionof Oslo in the 17 th century was not that different from today. The mainchange is related to functional and physical appropriation of the landscapeaccording to increased mobility, changing modes of production and changingways of life. The reach of Østerberg’s disciplinary sediment from the 17 thcentury, for example, is limited to the city walls. But even at that time theadministrative region of Christiania (Oslo) can be said to have reached as faras 50 kilometres westwards, to the Drammen River. And the regional subcentresbetween Drammen and Oslo already at that time had characteristics ofregional nodes, 20 although they were based on other functions than today.They were licensed for trade and commerce first around 1860 (until then theywere considered to be localized too near the capital).Compared with structural-morphological analyses of environmentalproduction that focus on relations between elements in a transformingstructure, 21 Østerberg’s socio-material archaeology of sets of objects (not20 This is historically well documented in historical monographs on each of the regional sub-centers or suburbs,but also in regional maps showing the center-structure of the Oslo-region in the 18 th century. Se for instanceWilse’s 1790 regional map “Plan av Egnen omkring Christiania mest efter egne Iagtagelser utdkastet og tegnetaf Mag. J. N. Wilse. Prof. Theol. og Sognepræst til Edsberg i Agershus Stift. 1790” in Wilse, Jacob Nicolai1798: Reise-Iagtagelser I nogle af de nordiske Lande: med Hensigt til Folkenes og Landenes Kundskab, C.Poulsens Forlag, København.21 As for instance discussed by Aldo Rossi: The Architecture of the City (1966, 1984). In his discussions of thestructural aspects in the morphological history of cities, Aldo Rossi combines insights from two differenthistoriographic traditions in France, which in the first half of 20 th century gave rise to two classic masterpieces:Pierre Lavedan’s L’histoire de l’urbanisme (1926-52) and Marcel Poëte’s Une vie de cite; Paris de sanaissance à nos jours (1924-31). The aim of the general history of urbanism (Lavedan), like that of the generalhistory of art, is to create a kind of genealogy of ideas, in this case urban planning ideas. In contrast,topographical or morphological history traditionally focuses on the physical aspects of particular cities. Poëtegave a particular twist to this way of writing the urban history of Paris in that he conceptualized the Paris ofthe past and of his days not as successive beings, but as one and the same being under constant evolution: “Lacontinuité dans la vie de la cite constitue une donnée essentielle. Le Paris d’autrefois et celui de nos jours ne22


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 1structures) in separate layers (not stages of development/transformation of thestructure), leaves out exactly what is the main focus in structuralmorphologicalurban analysis: An understanding of the city as a structurewhich transformation is regulated by certain laws or relations. Structuralmorphologicalanalyses of the historical development and shifting regionalroles in relation to Oslo of, for instance, Sandvika, 22 a regional sub-centre 15kilometres southwest of Oslo, and the next town of Drammen, 50 kilometressouthwest of Oslo, demonstrates how elements within an urban region areinterrelated and co-dependent. This perspective is left out in Østerberg’ssocio material analysis. This includes discoveries of connections betweencomparable phenomena which are not by nature homogenous along temporalcoordinates: as for instance how the relationship between regional nodesmaintain some formal characteristics even when contents change; howregional roles and the characteristics of a city of parts are transformed, butnot completely altered; etc.Østerberg uses a historical materialistic approach to organize his analysisof the socio-material landscape, but he does not focus on relations betweenchanging modes of production, changing ways of life, and environmentalproduction in different historical periods. By differentiating sets of objects –i.e. architectural and programmatic elements historically produced underdifferent political codes – the socio-material elements that are identified arepresented as different sets of past power-systems. In this perspective, byemphasizing differences between the sets of institutions and (symbolicallyloaded) architectural elements belonging to each of the four archaeologicallayers, Østerberg distinguishes four relatively independent, but also relativelystatic layers. These are seen as frozen, dead and passive in the sense that theyfirst become alive, so to speak, in contact with the user, as part of a situationwhich both is challenged by and challenge the operations of the individual inthe city. Objects in different layers operate in different realms, without anysynergies or counter effects. As the differences between environmentalelements produced under the different regimes become more obvious, thetransitions between them are blurred, so is the transformation that hashappened over time.sont pas des êtres successifs. C’est une seul et même être en constante evolution. Ce qu’on appellecommunément le vieux Paris est, au contraire, un Paris jeune par rapport au nôtre”. (1924: I) Poëte wanted tounderstand and describe the essential characteristics of a particular city: to study the “soul” of the city andexamine how it was related to the physiognomy or skeleton of the city. Poëte and Lavedan worked in the sameplace (Institut de l’Urbanisme de Paris), and later in their career both of them more or less swiched topics:Poëte published a lecture series that he held on the evolution of cities: Introduction à l’urbanisme (Boivin,1929); and Lavedan published Histoire de l’urbanisme a Paris (Hachette, 1975).22 Asplan Viak AS (Hilde Haslum) 2000: Byanalyse Sandvika. Historisk utvikling. Byrom og bystruktur.Endringspotensial i dag. rapportnr. H2000-30, prosjektnr.101485 and Asplan Viak AS (Hilde Haslum, AaseSkaug & Rune Langseth) 2003: Stedsanalyse Sandvika..23


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 1As a preliminary conclusion, I will argue that Østerberg’s analysis of thesocio-matter as a layered image of the city represent an approach that isessentially different from analyses focusing on structural relations within theurban landscape: 23 Østerberg’s approach to the socio-material environmentas a sum of different sets of objects makes it difficult to understand urbantransformation in a structural way. Østerberg’s socio material analysis can becontrasted with both Rossi’s and Henri Lefebvre’s more relationalapproaches to urban transformation (which I will return to).Rossi’s main argument is that it is both possible and important to study thespatial continuity of a city. 24 His theory of permanence is based on bothMarcel Poëte and Pierre Lavedan. Rossi puts one central aspect in thefollowing way:(…) that all those elements which we find within a certainregion or within a certain urban area are artifacts of ahomogenous nature, without discontinuities. (…) It would alsodeny that the open city and the closed city are different kinds ofartifacts. 25If the artefacts are not of a different kind, but comparable phenomena atdifferent temporal stages, the relation between them is a key to understandhow the urban structure has been transformed. Also Lefebvre stresses, in alater preface to La production de l’espace, the analogous relations betweenthe territorial, the urban and the architectural, which only can be understoodin terms of their both abstract and concrete relations. 26Symbols and meanings change over timeØsterberg’s analysis imparts knowledge of qualitative and contextualdifferences within the urban landscape understood as a socio-materialsynthesis. Østerberg uses his own subjective perceptions and experiences toillustrate how the landscape of Oslo can be seen as a socio-material synthesis.In a subjective, almost poetic way he describes and analyses how differentenvironmental characteristics flavour situations in which he himself in the23 As described earlier, Østerberg has a structural approach in the sense that he studies how socio-materialelements can be related to historical societal structures. When I here raise criticism of Østerberg’s approach tostructural analysis, it is based on an argument that is confined to examining the urban landscape as a structurein transformation.24 Rossi 1984: p.57-63, 139, 158-9.25 Ibid, p.63.26 The French quote: “Le territorial, l’urbanistique, l’architectural ont entre eux des relations analogues:implications – conflits. Ce qui ne peut se saisir que si l’on a compris les relations. “logique-dialectique”,“structure-conjoncture” exposées et supposes ici dans une certain é clairage, explicitées ailleurs (Cf. Logiqueformelle, logique dialectique, 3ème éd. Messidor, 1981). Ces relations, à la fois abstraites et concretes,surprennent dans une “culture” philosophique et politique qui laisser de côté cette “complexité” pour cherchercelle-ci ailleurs”. The 4 th French edition, 1974, 2000, p. xxiv.24


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 1urban landscape experiences encounters with others. The first part ofØsterberg’s socio-material interpretation of the Oslo-area is kept on a globallevel and is a description of four overlapping archaeological sediments: Theissue is “Oslo” as a whole – and the four-step history of the development ofthe city is presented: from the 17 th century city with about 3,000 inhabitantsbehind the city-walls to a commuting region with a radius of at least 50kilometres and one million inhabitants in the late 20 th century. The differentparts of this socio-material environment, as they exist today, are seen asfragments of different layers produced under different regimes. The secondpart of Østerberg’s socio-material interpretation takes the oppositeperspective. Although both parts contain fragments of each other, he herewrites from the perspective of the individual walker in the city. In this lastchapter of his book the occasionally touches upon issues related to bothtransformation and the potential development of the urban area, but toØsterberg these issues do not seem to be a central field of interest. His projectis to provide a synthesis of different possible interpretations of the urbanlandscape, and in this way to identify aspects of the urban area that mightincrease our consciousness about both qualities of and problems in, likes anddislikes about, the city of Oslo. Østerberg does however present somebeautiful impressionistic descriptions of socio-material situations in Oslo.Indirectly, this kind of communicated experiences can inform debates aboutboth local urban qualities and the urban situation and urban development inOslo and elsewhere, even though they don’t represent an analysis of theurban structure or urban transformation.Østerberg identifies qualitative (symbolic, aesthetic and functional)characteristics of places, buildings and areas in Oslo that affect his own, andtherefore probably also other user’s interpretations of possibilities andconstraints in their environment – and by this their use of the materialstructure. Whether there are differences in how individuals and social groupsactually appreciate, benefit from, or are limited by, different aspects of thesocio-material field, does not seem to be important issues for Østerberg. Tothe extent that such issues are addressed, they are class related: workingclass, rented domicile, collective ways of life in the East, and capitalist,owned domicile, individual ways of life in the West. This sociologicalinterpretation of the Oslo-agglomeration sheds light on aspects of thearchitectural (and programmatic) landscape of Oslo that may affect both theimage and experience of, and practices in, the urban landscape. But any otherwalker-in-the-city would probably not read exactly the same symbolicqualities into the urban landscape of Oslo as a well mannered, well educatedand Foucault-inspired Dag Østerberg does, not even those who have beeninformed about the meaning of historical symbolic value by reading hisanalysis. Østerberg’s analysis gives privilege to symbolic, power-related25


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 1qualities of monuments, institutions and architectural elements in space, andhow they flavour the urban spaces they occupy. According to Østerberg thecontemporary everyday landscape contain symbolically loaded socio-materialensembles and elements from different historical periods or regimes ofarchitectural production. Østerberg describes how the presence of suchhistorical elements and ensembles (by himself) are experienced as“resonances” or “voices” from the past. The aggregated socio-materiallandscape is thus seen as a container of objects belonging to differentcategories: Individuals make different interpretations of their socio-materialenvironment and this affects their individual dispositions. Patterns inindividual perceptions of constraints, possibilities and symbolic valueproduce differentiated patterns in urban practices. Dynamics related tovariations in individual interpretations, choices and practices as observablepatters at a certain time and place, as well as transformation of such patternsover time, elude Østerberg’s analysis. The urban landscape is analyzed as asum of sets of socio-material elements, in which the symbolic meanings ofarchitectural elements are treated as stable and determined entities. Østerbergdoes not though incorporate individual interpretations of elements in thearchitectural structure: the socio-material dialectics of space productionembedded in emerging patterns in individual dispositions and practicesresponding to differences, elude his analysis of the socio-material landscapeof Oslo.To investigate architecture as environmental tool-kits rather than spatio-symbolic systemsCompared with Foucault’s panoptism, the subjectivity of Østerberg’sanalysis of symbolically loaded architectural elements represents a quitelimited and static way of reading architecture or material culture. If one wasless aware of, or less interested in, monumental symbols of historical powerrelations,the structure of Østerberg’s analysis (with the same four historicsediments as well as similar discussions of possible experiences of burdenand relief), one could have produced quite different socio-materialinterpretations of the urban landscape of Oslo. Even just a more playfulattitude to the authority of symbols of power would have opened up fordifferent perspectives to the socio-matter as a product and an action field, asexperienced by individuals who respond to it through their behaviour. In thisperspective, Østerberg’s meticulous sensitivity for signs of burden and claimscan be contrasted to Iain Borden’s Lefebvre-inspired study of the irreverentinventiveness among skateboarders that transform public monumental andalso abandoned de-industrialized spaces into their own playgrounds. 27 Acomparison with Foucault’s analysis of environmental production as a result27 Iain Borden: Skateboarding, Space and the City (2001)26


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 1of power relations and power strategies has made me aware of another aspectof Østerberg’s almost semiological analysis: The strength of Foucault’spanopticon-example, as I see it, is the focus on how the panopticon works,not on how it can be read, nor on what it means. In Foucault’s discussions ofthe relations between ideologies and power apparatuses, the spatial strategiesare analyzed by their effects and how they work. Foucault focuses on how thepanopticon was designed to work as an environmental tool for surveillanceand control:Foucault identifies correspondences between visually recognizable,functional characteristics of the spatial configuration (sightlines, visibility,uniformity, lack of places to hide, etc.) of the physical environmentsproduced under panoptism, and the more or less explicit ideas and ideals ofsurveillance and control that dominates such a specific regime of powerstrategies (including architecture and urban design) – in replacement offormer and other (penalty) systems of control. Analysis of architecturalenvironments that focus on how they are produced as functional spatial toolsfor specific ways of life as in architectural analysis of urban morphology 28 –is a perspective that could have clarified Østerberg’s attempt to bridgearchitectural and sociological analysis. An example: In their study of thedevelopment of the relation between spatial configuration and the idea(l)sbehind five large European urban extensions between 1850 and 1959,Panerai, Castex and Depaule use the relation between the architecture and thecity at the level of the city block as a piece of measure of how the conceptionof the city, the urban and urban life over time has changed among architects28 In her inaugural article in the first volume of the ISUF Journal Anne Vernez Moudon gives an overview ofthe unifying aspects of the multidisciplinary research field of Urban Morphology. Moudon describes thecoming together of researchers from different language areas and disciplines as founded on common ground:”First there is agreement that the city or town can be ’read’ and analyzed via the medium of its physical form.Further, there is a widespread acknowledge that, at its most elemental level, morphological analysis is basedon three principles.1. Urban form is defined by three fundamental physical elements: buildings and their related open spaces,plots or lots, and streets.2. Urban form can only be understood at different levels of resolution. Commonly four are recognized,corresponding to the building/lot, the street/block, the city, and the region.3. Urban form can only be understood historically since the elements of which it is comprised undergocontinuous transformation and replacement.”What is of course not an issue in this first collective project of a very diversified (and probably much moremultidisciplinary than interdisciplinary ) research field is how studies of related, but totally different aspects ofthe city represent different levels of knowledge, epistemologically different questions, and the dangers ofblurring the differences. Moudon, and others in the ISUF Journal, describe the interdisciplinary field of UrbanMorphology as a synthesis of many, but especially two different schools, founded respectively by the Italianarchitect Saverio Muratori and the British (but coming from a German tradition) geographer Michael R. G.Conzen. While some of the Anglo-Saxon urban morphologists (in particular) have studied the physical(architectural, geographic) structure of a town almost as straightforward projection of society (and historicalchanges) on the ground, their Latin peers, and particularly the French, have been far more dialecticallyoriented. Still, dialectics is always an issue in typomorphological studies of urban form, but then mainlyreferred to as types defined by dialectic relations between built form and the open spaces it defines;building/lot, block/street, monument/plaza, neighbourhood/park, etc. Anne Vernez Moudon 1997: “UrbanMorphology as an emerging interdisciplinary field”, in Urban Morphology 1997-1, International Seminar onUrban Form, pp.3-10.27


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 1and urban planners. 29 What characterizes the work of the architect/sociologistteam Ph. Panerai, J.P. Castex, and M. Depaule (and discern them from atleast some of their Anglo-Saxon colleagues within the research field UrbanMorphology) is their focus on theoretical architectural models 30 and thefocus on how morphological variation within architectural production reflectsdifferent ideas of urban life or what kind of socio-spatial practices thearchitectural environment is accommodated for. By this, morphologicalsystems of types of buildings and related spaces 31 can be identified as sociospatialsystems, designed to work in a particular way, and by that containinga recognizable set of functional possibilities and constraints (which of coursecould be exceeded or transformed, but not completely arbitrarily). In chapter3 I will come back to how I will proceed to include such elements of such anapproach in my architectural analysis.“Situations” as a local synthesis of place and practices vs. dialectical focus on differencesIn a “hors d’oeuvre” section between the preface and the chapters of sociomaterialanalysis, Østerberg presents a series of “intuitions”, or portraits ofcertain socio-material experiences. The “intuitions” are not products of hisanalysis; they are just presented as “hors d’oeuvres” or “intuitions”. Inparticular I appreciate his portrayal of a late summer evening in the parkSankthanshaugen, where interaction between the physical environment,people and their practices creates what is described as a “warm ambience thatis vulgar in a pleasant way”, making Østerberg perceive the hill as hummingand glowing like a hive or a burning pine log. The experience is described asa synthesis of both material and social characteristics. Some may even saythat his description illustrates a situation produced by the dialectic relationbetween a social situation and a physical, material “situation”. But , as I seeit, this implies a too local and too synthetic perspective to grasp any of thesocio-spatial dialectics producing the distinctiveness of this particularsituation. The distinctiveness of the particular socio-material (or sociospatial)situation of a warm summer night at Sankthanshaugen that Østerbergportrays so well, and as I as well as many others recognize and share, cannotbe explained by relating it to characteristics of static objects in a container29 Ph. Panerai, J.P. Castex, M. Depaule: Formes urbaines: de l’îlot à la barre (1974). The five case studies are:Paris under Napoleon 3 and Hausmann, The garden cities of London, The urban extensions of Amsterdam,Frankfurt Siedlungen and Corbusier’s Ville Radieuse.30 A concept they have borrowed from Aldo Rossi. “Architectural model” is an analytic concept used ininvestigation and discussion of how different sets of architectural forms can be related to different sets of ideasand ideals.31 Within typo-morphology differences in spatial configuration are analyzed as characteristics of differenttypes of urban environments, which are defined by dialectic relations between built form and open spaces.Types of urban environments are structural systems that can be identified at different levels, as a particulartype of building relates to the more or less private/public open spaces surrounding it in a particular way, thebuilding refers to a particular kind of functional relation between the street and the block, and so on: an arearelates to the city, and the city to its region.28


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 1model. The distinctiveness of both social and spatial aspects of the situationare relational and characteristic, not per se, but in relation to aspects of othersocio-material or socio-spatial situations in our memories as well as in thesocio-material landscape.To illustrate this, I will point at some relational aspects of the described “snapshot situation” at Sankthanshaugen in relation to other socio-spatialsituations: historically, spatially and socially. The historical development ofcollective rituals and recreational practices of this particular park can berelationally distinguished from other parks in the area. This is not an explicitelement in Østerberg’s “intuition”, although I expect him to be aware of it,and indirectly it may even have flavoured his experience of the situation: Inthe early history of Oslo this hill was a place of sacrifice, later a burial mound(for some time the hill was also used as grazing land and a place for depositand burning of rubbish, horse cadavers, straw, manure etc). In the 1840s thecitizens of Oslo started gathering to celebrate Midsummer Eve with acollective feast around a huge Midsummer Eve bonfire on the hill. 32 Whenthe hill was cultivated into a park later in the 19 th century, it was developedinto a park for entertainment (containing an outdoor restaurant, park concerts,a smaller zoo, and peculiar entertaining installations such as the optic “laternamagica”) – in contrast to other contemporary parks that mainly weredeveloped for representative promenades. Sankthanshaugen is localized on ahill in the central western part of Oslo. In the western areas of Oslo the parksare larger, and there are fewer parks than in the central eastern areas. Thepopulation is also more homogenous (socially, culturally and ethnically) inthe West than in the East. On the top of the hill there is a wide view, anartificial pond and an inspector tower at the top of an underground drinkingwater reservoir. No other parks in central Oslo have a topography thatprovides such a nice view in several directions (most of them are quite flat),Sankthanshaugen is the only park containing a whole hill – and even a hillwith a history of collective rituals. Warm summer evenings are in themselvesexclusive experiences in Norway, thus they are defined as special in relationto most evenings of the year. Collective recreational situations aredialectically related to other everyday situations. The relations of associationand contrast defining a socio-material situation is not just a matter ofdialectics between social and material aspects of ‘here and now’ as such: bothsocial and material aspects of the ‘here and now’ relate to whole landscapesof other situations.32 Thereby the name of the park: “Midsummer (Eve)” is “St Hans (aften)” in Norwegian.29


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 1On individual freedom to challenge situations and limitations of the subject-object perspectiveAs a theoretical background for his analysis of how the material structure is acarrier of not only power and demands, but also for liberating experiencesand practices, the second part of Østerberg’s book elucidates “generalexperiences of relief and burden” related to dense (more or less urban) areas.The concept socio-material field (of/for action/practice) is rooted in Sartre’sthinking about freedom and action: Man is thrown into a world made byothers, one acts in relation to a world that is not created by oneself, bymaking something out of the situation. What one does, depends on thesituation. The situation contains aspects both concerning oneself (skills, ideasetc.) and the external world (representing possibilities and constraints). Thefacticity 33 is what limits our operations. The situation-based philosophy offreedom treats the relation between freedom and restriction as a relationbetween freedom and facticity, whether it exceeds or is limited by it.Østerberg describes different experiences of burden that are shared by allwho live in dense areas, experiences that are not particular to a specific classor a specific group of inhabitants (even though not all people are exposed toall same kinds of things in the same manner). Critical as Østerberg is towardswhat he sees as a decline of urban qualities due to the suffocating effects ofthe “mazdaistic” sediment, he is far more occupied with the repressingaspects of the material than with liberating potentials. He describes a largenumber of “experiences of heaviness and burden”, 34 experiences that “areshared by all those who live in highly dense socio-matter”. These experiencesare such as the horrors of the rush hour traffic or life in the underground,problems related to parking, large crowds, the queues and the noise followingoverpopulation. The high density of people and materiel affects man’sactivity; both the design of the material and the presence of the other bodies(in queues, at the underground etc.) deprive individuals of the possibility ofbeing an active human being. 35 In this way both embodied and materialfacticity is experienced, and man’s activities are no longer formative, hisfreedom is damaged. Another aspect is illustrated in situations when we areconfronted with the downsides of our neighbours; the socio-matter itselfconfronts us with demands and requests; something which clean matter(nature) is free of.33 Østerberg relates this perspective to Sartre. He is not explicitly referring to particular works of Sartre, butØsterberg’s discussions of facticity seem to be taken from Sartre’s Being and Nothingness. APhenomenological Essay on Ontology, particularly part II and IV. In the works of Sartre, facticity signifies allof the concrete details against the background of which human freedom exists and is limited. For examplethese may include the particular time and place of birth of an individual as well as the prospect of their death.One cannot, factically become a genuine samurai warrior in the 21th century.34 Does not translate so well: “Erfaringer av tyngsel og tyngde”; experiences that are “felles for alle som lever ien høyt fortettet sosiomaterie”, Østerberg 1998: p. 60.35 Ibid p.6030


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 1But dense socio-matter also provides us with opportunities of experiencingrelief, says Østerberg; collective goods as electricity, running water, a sewagesystem, public transportation etc., relieves us from physical labor. Socialforms, conventions, ways of dealing with dense coexistence related to densesocio-matter, such as anonymity, typicality, and sub-individuality, are waysin which the crowd can relieve us from more direct confrontations with theothers.Still, Østerberg is far more occupied with the constraints of dense sociomatterthan its liberating potentials. I relate this to his overall perspective:1) By seeing the individual as a victimized or at least a determinedobject, the transforming power of individual socio-spatial practicesare overlooked.2) By conceiving the “city” and the “urban” through a formal logic,characteristics of urban form (socially and architecturally) are stuckto the characteristics of its content at a specific historical moment.By overlooking how “urban” qualities can be contrasted with characteristicsof the “anti-urban” (even if its content has changed), the possibility ofidentifying particular aspects of the urban which may make a difference inprocesses of transformation, become absent:In contrast to the creative, liberating, transforming power of individualpractices recognized by other theorists which I soon will return to, 36Østerberg’s individual is an object that passively experiences theenvironments more than a subject with projects. Østerberg’s socio-matter isnot a collective oeuvre, not a shared work of art produced by us, the othersand millions of individuals throughout history. Østerberg’s socio-matter is aproduct of political codes.Let me add some comments to what Østerberg seems to consider a delusionof “the urban”. He deliberately avoids concepts like “city”, “urban” and“urbanity”. Østerberg states that “the notion of Oslo as a “city” is outdated,and therefore only an image, an obsession, from which it is important toliberate oneself.” 37In his introduction, Østerberg argues that the distinction between city andcountryside, between the urban and the rustic, has been annihilated. Todemonstrate the argument, he refers to two (more than a hundred years old)classic works on the urban-rural distinction: Ferdinand Tönnies’36 I.e. the perspectives of making smooth space by Deleuze and Guattari, tactics by De Certeau, and socialpractice by Lefebvre.37 In Norwegian: “Oppfatningen av Oslo som en “by” er foreldet og derfor bare en forestilling, ja, entvangsforestilling, som det gjelder å befri seg fra”. (Østerberg1998: p. 34)31


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 1Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft (1887), and Georg Simmel’s The metropolisand mental life (1902). The characteristics of the city as described in thesetwo works are, Østerberg argues, not valid any more: The countryside hasbeen urbanized (today sociologists cannot find the unambiguous rustic, asdescribed by Tönnies), and the distinction between what is urban and what isnot urban, between what is a city and what is not a city, has become more andmore difficult to outline. Therefore the concepts of the “city” and the“countryside” have become outdated. In Østerberg’s argumentation, which isthe basis for his socio material analysis of Oslo, Østerberg uses whatLefebvre describes as formal 38 (and not dialectic) logic to “prove” that theconcept of the “city” has lost its validity. As I see I, Østerberg makes anabstraction that leaves out all possible dialectical relations between what iscity/urban, and what is not city/urban. I read Østerberg’s argument asfollows: As the form and content of the contemporary city, i.e. in 1998 whenthe book was published, (dialectically defined as contrary to the countryside)is different from the form and content of the city of 1887/1902 (in contrast /as opposed to the countryside), the “city” cannot be discerned from “noncity”.Thus the concept “city” is empty or at least not valid anymore. But in adialectical perspective, the socio-matter itself (neither urban nor rural) has nosocio-material antithesis. By leaving out any attempt to understand essentialcontradictions within the socio-matter, it is also hard to see how the sociomaterialanalysis can inform studies of urban transformation, or studies ofpatterns in changes within the urban structure. Again, this was neitherØsterberg’s ambition, but when someone (like Østerberg) finally tries tobridge the socio-architectural gap, this seems (to me) as an essential questionto deal with.To enable investigation of how contradictions within the socio-matter aremaintained and transformed through processes of development and change,other perspectives on the urban landscape and its dynamics may be morefruitful. I will come back to this in my discussion of Lefebvre’s and Rossi’sapproaches later in this chapter.Summarizing remarksIn this first attempt to clarify elements of an approach to my study object Ihave used an empirical reference analysis, i.e. Østerberg’s socio-material38 According to Lefebvre, the basic difference between formal logic and dialectic logic is that while formallogic, as exemplified by simple mathematics, focuses on the singular identity and differences betweenelements, dialectical logic focuses on the relationship between elements and the process by which new statesof affairs arise out of deep contradictions in the status quo. Formal logic is logic of identities, dependent ofhaving the same kind of content (categories of objects in a container). Dialectic logic emphasizes the changingquality of things as they encounter opposition, or antithesis, and are re-synthesized with the contradictoryforces to become entirely new objects. The differences between formal logic and dialectical logic arethoroughly discussed in Henri Lefebvre: Logique formelle, logique dialectique, Editions antropos Paris, 1969(2 nd edition – 1 st edition 1947).32


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 1synthesis, in which he analyses the same urban landscape as I will do in mycase study. I have done this in order to clarify insufficiencies in Østerberg’sapproach which for my purpose makes it necessary to add other theoreticalelements.In order to find an approach to how architectural differences may affectprocesses of urban transformation we need a theoretical perspective thatdiffers from Østerberg’s on central issues:To investigate how new socio-cultural patterns can develop within anexisting architectural environment, we need a theoretical perspective thatincorporates individual variations in interpretation of symbolic value as wellas use value related to elements in the architectural landscape: By seeingsymbolic value and use value of architectural elements as stable anddeterminate, urban transformation cannot really happen.In order to find out how out patterns in socio-spatial practices transformthe urban landscape we need a theoretical perspective that allows formapping the relation between architects’ production of physicalenvironments and individuals’ urban practices and the way this generatessocial patterns as subject-object-subject–relations, and not only subjectobject-relations:By treating the individual users, walkers and inhabitants ofthe city as objects, the transforming power of urban life as aggregatedpatterns of individual dispositions elude analysis.AN EXCURSION: DIALECTICAL PERSPECTIVESON POWER, ACTION SPACES AND PRODUCTIONIn the following I will make use of a few selected theorists and discussconcepts and aspects of their approaches that add perspectives to thetraditional structural model of societies produce landscapes and structuresdetermining the action space of individuals. This is meant as an inspiration ora voyage of discovery, or just help to clarify an alternative, in my generalsearch for an approach to empirical investigation of dynamics betweendifferent kinds of social and architectural transformation of the urbanlandscape. In this first phase, the purpose is not at first to produce an analyticmodel, but to carry out a more general discussion of theoretical perspectivesand approaches to clarify elements of an analytic approach and to search foranalytic concepts that can be combined to inform empirical analysis if socioarchitecturalinterplay.33


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 1Deleuze and Guattari: space striation versus making smooth spaceIn the two volumes of Capitalism and Schizophrenia: Anti-Oedipus 39 and AThousand Plateaus 40 Deleuze and Guattari present a general theory ofproduction and of the process of Reason, in terms of desires, which in turnare related to the spatial and the social. Their study of desire, the state andcapitalism, is a critique of traditional ways of analyzing production, causeand reason. Deleuze and Guattari do not separate the producer from theproduct, but describe both of them as different aspects of the same: theconnective synthesis of production.Through their critical analysis of power and production, Deleuze andGuattari present a way of understanding dialectics in power and production.Their metaphorical concepts are quite abstract, they don’t deal specificallywith architecture or individual choices in situations that can be observed, andneither do they present an alternative method for studies of socioarchitecturaldynamics. Still, their critique and their discussions of conceptscan provide insights or a sensitivity that, as I see it, can clarify aspects of analternative approach for understanding dynamics between architectural andsocial transformation of urban space in general, and that makes it possible toexamine how urban areas change function, role and meaning by transformingpatterns in individual urban practices more specifically.First, they suggest seeing practices and choices as a product of desires ratherthan needs: strong wishes or desires may follow different logics, they aremore individual than needs, less predictable, and they may change direction.To Deleuze and Guattari the concept of desire is positive and constitutive, incontrast to needs, which they define as a lack, predictably indicating thatsomething is missing. As desire is not to be considered as an expression oflacks, the realization of a desire is not about getting what one or it does nothave. Neither is desire about creating a fantasy world where the objects ofdesire exist separately from the real world: On the contrary, desire issomething that connects the mental and social to individual, liberating actionin the real world. Desire is a productive, creative power, and what it producesis realization of potentials. 41 The way I read their suggestion of focusing on39 Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari 1983: Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia I, University ofMinnesota Press (English translation of 1972: L’Anti-Oedipe, Les Editions de Minuit, Paris).40 Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari 1987: A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia II, Universityof Minnesota Press (English translation by Brian Massumi, of 1980: Mille Plateaux, Les Editions de Minuit,Paris)41 “Desire does not lack anything; it does not lack its object. It is, rather the subject that is missing in desire, ordesire that lacks a fixed subject: there is no fixed subject unless there is repression. Desire and its object is oneand the same thing: the machine, as a machine of a machine. Desire is a machine, and the object of desire isanother machine connected to it, hence the product is something removed or deducted from the process ofproducing; between the act of producing and the product, something becomes detached, thus giving thevagabond, nomad subject a residuum. The objective being of desire is the Real in and of itself “(1983: p. 26-27).34


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 1desires rather than needs is that it is an argument for focusing on sociallyconstitutive incentives rather than seeing actions as primarily determined byneeds. This does not imply a denial of the existence of more absolute needs,but needs can be satisfied in different ways, and this represents an action fieldfor societal and cultural change in which desires are essential.The driving force in development of any society or any development atall, is the desiring-machine: The metaphor of the desiring-machine, carriesthe idea of productive desire, which recombines the capitalist divisionbetween labour and production on one hand and needs and consumption onthe other. The Schizoanalysis insists that even though desire and labouractually are the one and same productive power, under capitalism both ofthem operate under different regimes, which again usually are studied bydifferent disciplines: political economy and psychoanalysis. AlthoughDeleuze and Guattari disregard the division between the two disciplines, theymaintain the distinction between the two regimes which they refer to asdesiring-production (corresponding to libido) and social-production(corresponding to labor).The truth of the matter is that social-production is purely andsimply desiring-productions under determinate conditions. Wemaintain that the social field immediately invested by desire,and that libido has no need of any meditation or sublimation,any psychic operation, any transformation, in order to invadeand invest the productive forces and the relations ofproduction. There is only desire and the social, and nothingelse. 42This necessity of understanding individual socio-spatial practices as drivenby desires, and not needs, is also addressed in Rob Shields’ discussions ofLefebvre’s writings on socio-spatial dialectics, for instance in his discussionof how Lefebvre’s philosophy of needs and desires is built around thequestion of how people produce themselves. 43 In his Métaphilosophie from1965 Lefebvre introduced poësis as a broadening of the Marxian concepts ofproduction, praxis and alienation: the poësis is a link between alienation andpraxis, and includes not only activities oriented to the realisation of politicaltheory, but also the realisation of self, similar to Sartre’s concentration onprojects. Lefebvre describes poësis as “the experience and creation of humannature: the realisation of the self, including the creation of the city, the idea of42 Deleuze & Guattari 1983, p.29.43 Shields, Rob 1999: Lefebvre, Love and struggle: spatial dialectics, London, Routledge. pp 135-40.35


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 1‘absolute love’, psychoanalysis, the decision to change one’s life – in short,the creation of new ‘situations’.” 44According to Shields, Lefebvre’s poësis represents a broadened conceptof production that aims at realisation of desire and will. The aim of work isthus understood not to achieve free-time, as presented by the leisureindustries, but non-work, spontaneity and even idleness. The absence of workis understood as a need for unlimited indulgence. Rob Shields points out thatLefebvre, by creating a “slacker” philosophy before its time, sought a nonmoralizingconception of production that creates the external and internalnature of the total person. 45 Shields also discusses the consequences ofDeleuze and Guattari’s critique of the alienating effects of the conventionalseparation between production and consumption in general, and morespecifically the importance of their concept of desiring-production for thedevelopment of Lefebvre’s concept of poësis and oeuvre: the conceptproposes an emancipatory theory of self-production within everyday life,where any act of self-production is aimed not at satisfying needs (negativelydefined as lacks), but at realisation of desire.In Østerberg’s analysis of the development of the architectural landscape ofOslo he describes different sets of architectural elements as archaeologicalsediments produced by different historical regimes of urban development.For each historical period or each regime of architectural environmentalproduction he identifies a predominant power-relation with a superior forceactor (the church, the king, the state, and capitalism), its apparatus forexecution of power, and characteristics of the socio-material products of eachof these different successive regimes. Each regime is described as providingits inhabitants with given different framework conditions for a certain way oflife, representing different possibilities and constraints for satisfaction of theirneeds. By this approach it is difficult to explain the processes of developmentof transformation that leads from one regime to another, and it is alsodifficult to discover how for instance symbols, areas and environments canchange function and role over time. What happens between the regimes?Where do new regimes come from? How do structures established by earlierregimes represent constraints and possibilities for development under laterregimes? How do later regimes operate in relation to previously establishedstructures? Can we imagine an external place that exports new regimes towhole collections of cities, or isn’t it more likely to believe that new regimesdevelop from tensions between differences and potentials within thedifferentiated urban landscapes?44 Lefebvre quoted in M. Poster: Existential Marxism in Postwar France: From Sartre to Althusser, Princeton1975, p. 242, quoted in Rob Shields (1999:136)45 Shields 1999: p. 13636


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 1As an alternative to the traditional approach to societal development byidentification of a superior force actor, its apparatus, and its environmentalproduct, Deleuze and Guattari argues that any force, any actor, any apparatusor any production must be understood as a dialectical play between forcesand counter-forces, actions and counter-actions etc. And this leads to anotherapproach for understanding dynamics in the relation between architecturaland social transformation of urban landscapes:Each element in Deleuze and Guattari’s abstract analytic model is a pair ofmetaphorical concepts representing a productive dialectic relation: The Stateand the Nomad represent two different actor-perspectives, dialecticallydefined in relation to each other. These two are connected to two differentkinds of dialectically opposed apparatuses representing different ways ofoperating, organizing and executing power: The hierarchical state apparatusof the State and the network-based war-machine of the Nomad. Theoperations of the two actor perspectives and their apparatuses work on theterrain, the space or society in different ways, by space-striation (the state)and by producing smooth space (the nomad). By this, the agency or theoperations of one of the two actor perspectives are seen as a continuousreaction against, working on or challenging the product of the other actorperspective, and visa versa:Deleuze and Guattari distinguish between striated space and smooth space asproducts two different but coexisting, and dialectically related sorts ofagency, that reflect two different modes of spatialisation or attitudes towardsspace, two complimentary logics of space production, or two complementarysystems of forces and counter-forces: Striated space as the deterritorialisationproduced by the State apparatus, and smooth space as thecounteract of re-territorialisation produced by individual nomadic thoughtand practice.Smooth space and striated space – nomad space and sedentaryspace – the space where the war machine develops and thespace instituted by the State apparatus – are not of the samenature. (…) the two spaces in fact exist only in a mixture:smooth space is constantly being translated, transversed intostriated space: striated space is constantly being reversed,returned to a smooth space. 46Studies of the dynamic relation between architecture, ways of life andsocietal development are in general based on diachronic investigation of46 Deleuze and Guattari 1987: p 47437


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 1historical urban development presented as a linear, evolutionary narrativefrom the striation-perspective: A history of changing regimes producing newlayers of urban environments in order to serve shifting needs as society andtechnology evolves. “The city”, which includes both a social, economic andpolitical context, but also the architecture of the city at a given moment, cantherefore be seen as the ultimately striated space. 47 But to describe the city asmainly a striated space (although in some ways possible to live in as smoothspace), does not mean that the city belongs to some sort of category, or that ithas a fixed set of properties: What is identified by the striated aspects is someproductive, transforming potentials: constraints to react upon, organizedmatter to disorganize, reorganize. Some aspects of the city, some strata in theurban structure, are “more striated”, others are “smoother”, and by that have agreater potential for striation. But which aspects that turns out to worksmoothly or striated has as much to do with what sorts of agency they turnout to be involved in, as with internal qualities. 48Deleuze and Guattari explain how the sea, the archetype of smooth space, canbe considered the archetype of all striations of smooth space: The reason isthat the smooth always possesses a greater potential of deterritorialisationthan the striated.Illustrations of such dynamics can also probably be drawn from thehistory of urban development: The Hausmannisation of Paris in the 19 thCentury can, as I see it, be used as an illustration of the archetype of Stateapparatus-striation of urban space. But if a process of striation only works onaspects of space seen as smooth space, the archetype of striation of urbanspace must also have been a reaction against a certain amount of urbansmooth space. The Hausmannisation of Paris can just as well be described asa counteract against a boiling social situation: a situation in which the smoothspace of the working class areas of central Paris were conceived as about tocreate a war machine threatening the position of the growing bourgeoisie, a47 “In contrast to the sea, the city is the striated space par excellence; the sea is a smooth space fundamentallyopen to striation, and the city is the force of striation that reimparts smooth space, puts it back into operationeverywhere, on earth and in the other elements, outside but also inside itself. The smooth spaces arising fromthe city are not only those of worldwide organization, but also of a counterattack combining the smooth andthe holey and turning back on against the town: sprawling, temporary, shifting shantytowns of nomads andcave dwellers, scrap metal and fabric, patchwork, to which the striations of money, work or housing are nolonger even relevant. An explosive misery secreted by the city, and corresponding to Thom’s mathematicalformula: “retroactive smoothing.* Condensed force, the potential for counterattack? (1987, p. 481) * Deleuzeand Guattari refer here to René Thom’s expression applied to continuous variation in which the variablesreacts upon its antecedents: Modèles mathématiques de la morphogenèse, Paris: 10/18, 1974, pp 218-219.48 “In each instance, then, the simple opposition ‘smooth-striated’ gives rise to far more difficultcomplications, alternations, and superpositions. But these complications basically confirm the distinction,precisely because they bring dissymmetrical movements into play. For now it suffices to say that there are twokinds of voyage, distinguished by the respective role of the point, line and space. (…) In short, whatdistinguishes the two kinds of voyages is neither a measurable quantity of movement, nor something thatwould be only in mind, but the mode of spatialization, the manner of being in space, of being for space.Voyage smoothly or in striation, and think the same way (… ) But there are always passages from one to theother, transformations of one within the other, and reversals.” (Deleuze and Guattari 1987, p. 482).38


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 1war-machine that maybe even was capable of starting a new revolution. Thefocus and scale of the intervention can be seen as a reflection or recognitionof the power of the smooth space in the existing urban structure. Only by ade-territorialisation of urban life in central Paris, which included extensivedemolition and rearrangement of central parts of the city, could NapoleonIII’s reforms of French society be realized, and the urban bourgeoisie obtaintheir institutionalized city: 49 by producing their own set of spaces forthemselves (cf. “espace propre”). 50Neither of the concepts smooth space and striated space is probably meant tobe related to architectural space at all. Rather than representing analyticcategories the smooth/striated perspective provides, I will argue, a generalapproach for understanding society/city and societal development/urbantransformation as interplay between complimentary sorts of agency andinterventions in urban space: Urban planning, can – as in the Hausmannianexample – be seen as an integral part of State apparatus-striation, and thespatial practices of everyday life, when added up to a transforming power, asa part of making smooth space. Understanding the city as smooth and striated/ striated and smooth excludes spatial determinism and points at somedifficulties related to “mapping smooth space”. 51Deleuze and Guattari’s writings on the State and the Nomad, do notdescribe a power relation between respectively a strong and a weak part.What they deal with are two equal, but different cultures for organizing andexercising power, two different relations to time and space, two differentkinds of spatialisation. They point at how nomadic tribes and national statesthrough history have lived side by side, struggling and shifting power. Whilethe nomad represents structures of network, relating to space as makingsmooth space, the State represents a hierarchical structure relating to itsenvironment as making striated space, which is reflected in the powerstrategies of both. The distinction is illustrated by analogies to the gamesChess and Go: 52 Chess is the game of the State, according to Deleuze and49 As discussed by Manfredo Tafuri, 196950 “Espace propre” is a concept discussed by Michel De Certeau, that I soon will come back to.51 “Smooth space is filled with events or haecceities* far more than by formed and perceived things. It is aspace of affects, more than one of properties. It is haptic** rather than optical perception. Whereas the striatedforms organize a matter, in the smooth materials signal forces and serve as symptoms for them. It is anintensive rather than extensive space, one of distances, not of measures and properties. Intense Spatium insteadof Extensio. A Body without Organs instead of an organism or organization. Perception in it is based onsymptoms and evaluations rather than measures and properties” (Deleuze and Guattari 1987, p. 479). *Haecceities is a Deleuze-term (ecceités or heccéités in French): un-personalized and un-objectifiedindividualization of qualities: ‘natures’, ‘essences’. ** Haptic is the science of touch (analogous to acousticsand optics).52 Go is a 4,000 year old Chinese (war strategy) board game for two players. Go is played with 181 black and181 white ’stones’. The board has 19 horizontal and 19 vertical lines (361 crossings). By turn, the playersplace one stone at the time at free spaces. Black starts. You conquer areas by surrounding free spaces withyour own stones, or by surrounding the other player’s stones in the same way, and then remove them from theboard. In contemporary East Asia Go is more popular than Chess.39


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 1Guattari, the game of place; played by the emperor of China. Chess-piecesare coded; they have internal nature and intrinsic properties from which theirmovements, situations and confrontations derive. They have qualities; aknight remains a knight, a pawn a pawn, a bishop a bishop: 53 their space ofaction is determined by their coded qualities.The pieces of Go, on the other hand, are like grains, or pellets; arithmeticunits that only have an anonymous, collective function, continuously shiftingcharacter. The pieces of Go have no intrinsic characteristics, only extrinsic,determined by the situation. Deleuze and Guattari call Go a game of purestrategy, while Chess is semiology. The games also operate differently inrelation to space. 54Through historical (genealogical) studies of power and the development ofsocieties, cultures and, not at least, cities, Deleuze and Guattari show howeverything lives in fields of tension between hierarchies and networks, andhow these two different systems work on different aspects of the city, andthat the cities themselves also are situated in such systems at a more globallevel. Deleuze and Guattari discuss the dynamism in development of citiesand urban systems in the essays ”Apparatus of Capture”, ”Treatise ofNomadology – the War Machine” and ”The Smooth and the Striated”: 55Cities work within both networks and hierarchies. Simultaneously, cities alsodevelop in dialectics between hierarchies and networks.(…) the town and the State, however complementary, is not thesame thing. The ”urban revolution” and the ”state revolution”may coincide, but do not meld. In both cases, there is a centralpower, but it does not assume the same figure. Certain authorshave made a distinction between the palatial or imperial system(temple-palace), and the urban, town system. In both casesthere is a town, but in one case the town is an outgrowth of thepalace or the temple, and in the other case the palace, temple isa concretion of the town. In one case, the town par excellenceis the capital, and in the other the metropolis. 5653 “Each is the like a subject of the statement endowed with relative power, and these relative powers combinein a subject of enunciation, that is, the chess player or the game’s form of interiority.” (Deleuze and Guattari1987: 352)54 “The “smooth” space of Go, as against the “striated” space of Chess. The nomos of Go against the State ofChess, nomos against polis. The difference is that the chess codes and decodes space, whereas Go proceedsaltogether differently, territorializing or deterritorializing it (making the outside a territory in space;consolidate that territory by the construction of a second, adjacent territory; deterritorialize the enemy byshattering his territory from within; deterritorialize oneself by renouncing, by going elsewhere (…). Anotherjustice, another movement, another space-time.” (1987: 353)55 Deleuze & Guattari 1987.56 Ibid p.43240


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 1Deleuze and Guattari emphasize that the cities’ embedded potential fordynamic network development sometimes is exploited, and sometimescountered. In the same way as the nomad and the state will utilize and exploita road in different ways, they will pull the city, or the development of thecity, in different directions. The city is a potential, not an actor, and not aprocess itself, only mediation between these processes. 57The Nomad and the State are abstract metaphorical concepts elucidating howdifferent ways of operating in space in principle interact with patterns in theproducts of its counterpart’s manoeuvres. Neither “nomadism” nor “spacestriation” have empirical correlates in the sense that the abstract model ofinterplay between different modes of space production or (de-/re-)territorialisation could be applied directly on empirical analyses of howindividuals make choices in concrete situations. But the abstract model ofinterrelations clarifies the lack of explanatory power for understandingdynamics of change and development by analytic models that only examinedevelopment and change as products of one kind of space production. TheNomad (which to some degree could be associated with individualsproducing patterns in social life in the city) and the State (which to somedegree could be associated with political, economical and professional powerproducing patterns in architecture) here represents two principles oforganization, societal structures and systems for exercising power. The twowork within the same areas, but they have different effects and generatedifferent processes. Individuals can relate their actions to both systems, asalso tangible material elements such as a town or a path through thelandscape can be involved with both systems.The reference to Deleuze and Guattari’s smooth and striated space is hereused as an illustration of my reading of urban transformation as interplaybetween patterns of different kinds of human spatialisation. Such aperspective is, as I will come back to, also elucidated in Lefebvre’s triad, inMichel De Certeau’s tactics (and strategies), and in Ian Borden et al.’s tacticsand filters. All these works of urban analysis (although in quite differentways) focus more specifically on how individuals challenge their urbanenvironments (and thereby also society) through their everyday life in thecity.57 “The town is the correlate to the road. The town exists only as a function of circulation, and of circuits; it is aremarkable point on the circuits that create it, and which it creates. It is defined by entries and exits; somethingmust enter it and exit from it. It imposes a frequency. It effects a polarization of matter, inert or human; itcauses the phylum, the flow to pass through specific places, along horizontal lines. It is a phenomenon oftransconsistency, a network, because it is fundamentally in contact with other towns. It represents a thresholdof deterritorialization, because whatever the material involved, it must be deterritorialized enough to enter thenetwork, to submit to the polarization, to follow the circuit of urban and road decoding. “(1987: p. 432)41


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 1Michel De Certeau: Strategies and tacticsAs discussed above, urban transformation, or the continuous production ofspace, can be understood as two different sets of human agency working onthe physical urban structure. On one hand are the economically, politicallyand professionally powerful agents: planners, architects and entrepreneurs,performing urban development within the existing discourses of urbanism –in relation to the prevailing modes of production. On the other hand are theindividuals, using the urban structure, creating their everyday life byconducting constraints and seeing possibilities in the urban landscapeprovided them – in relation to their chosen (or given) way of life. While theformer represents the sovereign, the majority, capital, the king, the parliamentetc.; i.e. superior actors in economical and political power structures of thesociety, the latter can be said only to represent themselves. But also thesovereign strategies are gradually transformed by tactics. Throughdiscussions of different aspects of practices of everyday life, Michel DeCerteau establishes the space of the other as an equally important point ofview towards space and urban environments: by a theory of how individualtactics relate to a landscape produced by the strategies of others. 58The walker in the city and the planner/architectDe Certeau distinguishes between two different sorts of practices towardsspace and place, by describing the planner-user-relation not as one subjectobject-relation,but as two opposite subject-object-relations. According to DeCerteau, neither producers of books nor producers of landscapes (hererepresented by planners and architects) have the privileged role of controllingwhat their reading public actually reads out of their products. The reader isnot a passive object receiving and consuming their products; he or she is alsoa subject that creates his own space through the act of reading. But the twodifferent actors (the reader and the writer, or the planner and the walker in thecity) are not equal in power and influence. Their strategies and tactics areactions of respectively the strong and the weak. Strategies are performed bythose who possess power (and knowledge), while tactics is the bricolage ofeveryday life: “a tactic is determined by the absence of power, just as astrategy is organized by the postulation of power.” 5958 Michel De Certeau 1984: The Practice of Everyday Life, Berkeley, University of California Press.(Translation of 1974: Arts de faire, 2nd ed. 1994 with comments). Michel De Certeau & Luce Giard & PierreMayol 1998: The Practice of Everyday Life. Volume 2: Living and Cooking, Minneapolis, University ofMinnesota Press (1994: L’invention du quotidien, II, habiter, cuisiner, Paris, Editions du Gallimard, translatedby Timothy J. Tomasik)59 De Certeau 1984, p.3842


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 1The power-perspective is important in De Certeau’s distinction betweenstrategies and tactics, as are the differences in how they operate. First hedescribes the strategies:In sum, strategies are actions which, thank to the establishmentof a place of power (the property of a proper), elaboratetheoretical places (systems and totalizing discourses) capableof articulating an ensemble of physical places in which forcesare distributed. They combine these three types of places andseek to master each by means of the others. 60The tactics operate differently:Tactics are procedures that gain validity in relation to thepertinence they lend to time – to the circumstances which theprecise instant of an intervention transforms into a favorablesituation, to the rapidity of the movements that change theorganization of a space, to the relations among successivemoments in an action, to the possible intersections of durationsand heterogeneous rhythms, etc. 61In De Certeau’s distinction between strategies and tactics, the power ofindividual practices is not recognized as equal to the global strategies in thecity (equally interesting, of equal value, but not equally powerful): “In short,a tactic is an art of the weak”. 62 Tactics refers to the ways people cope with agiven situation, to how they create space from the places that are alreadythere, as they try to live out their dreams. Place is the material structurecontaining possibilities and constraints, while space is something that comesout of practice, the realization of possibilities: space is where life is lived,while place is the physical environment where almost anything can happen.By this, strategies become the production of place, while tactics are theproductive reactions upon something already produced: the production ofspace.In short, space is practiced place. Thus the street geometricallydefined by urban planning is transformed into space bywalkers. In the same way, an act of reading is the spaceproduced by the practice of a particular place: a written text,i.e., a place constituted by a system of signs. 6360 Ibid, p. 3861 Ibid, p.3862 Ibid., p.3863 Ibid, p.11743


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 1De Certeau develops a theoretical perspective for analyzing how the “weak”make use of the “strong” and create for themselves a sphere of autonomousaction and self-determination within the constraints that are imposed uponthem. So also in urban environments; tactics are counteracts to the planners’strategies and the state apparatus. When individuals populating the urbanlandscape see possibilities, conduct constraints and by their spatial practicere-create the places given them, they produce space. Only strategies arecapable of creating a proper place: a place of its own, a dominated place,while the place of tactics belongs to the other:A tactic insinuates itself into the other’s place, fragmentarily,without taking it over in its entirety, without being able to keepit at a distance. It has at its disposal no base where it cancapitalize on its advantages, prepare its expansions, and secureindependence with respect to circumstances. The “proper” is avictory of space over time. On the contrary, because it does nothave a place, a tactic depends on time – it is always on thewatch for opportunities that must be seized “on the wing”. 64Architecture as technological apparatuses: environmental tools for strategiesIn Michel De Certeau’s Practice of Everyday Life, the actions of ‘the weak’ –the tactics – are barely something that goes on in physical, tangible,architectural environments. But in his discussions of Foucault and Bourdieuin Chapter IV, 65 De Certeau addresses the efficiency of architecture as spatialstrategies. De Certeau refers to Foucault’s Discipline and Punish, 66 wherespatial strategies as urban organization, architecture, and urban design isdescribed as technological apparatuses (mechanisms, machineries,instrumentalities, techniques) which, when first born as fruit of an ideology,continue a life of their own and keep reproducing themselves so that theproduct of a subject of power subsequently itself becomes a power apparatus:Foucault’s historical example is the panopticon. The panopticon was at firstthe spatial invention which made the reformation of penal systems in theeighteenth century possible, according to the revolutionary (with regard topenal justice) ideology of the Enlightenment. Foucault analyzes the processof a chiasm: how the place occupied by the reformist projects of the lateeighteenth Century was “vampirized” and “colonized” by the disciplinaryprocedures of surveillance and control. By this Foucault raises the question ofthe decisive role of technological procedures and apparatuses in theorganization of society, and on the other hand the privileged role of one of64 Ibid, p.xix65 Ibid, p.45-6066 Michel Foucault 1975: Surveillir et punir, Paris, Gallimard (1977: Discipline and Punish, English translationby A. Sheridan, New York, Pantheon).44


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 1these apparatuses. De Certeau criticizes Foucault for being selective in hischoice of historical material: Foucault traces the technology (panoptism) backthrough history, isolates it from the whole body of ‘cancerous growth’ thatinvaded it, and explains its current functioning by its genesis over the twopreceding Centuries. De Certeau questions the privileged development thatFoucault ascribes to panoptic apparatuses, points out that it is impossible toreduce the functioning of a society to a dominant type of procedures, andasks for more attention drawn to other practices, as: “They could beconsidered as an immense reserve constituting either the beginnings or tracesof different developments.” 67De Certeau questions the impressive coherence of the practices Foucaultselected and examined, something that seldom is characteristic of othertechnological practices:Beneath what one might call the “monotheistic” privilege thatpanoptic apparatuses have won for themselves, a“polytheism”of scattered practices survives, dominated but not erased by thetriumphal success of one of their number. 68One of the hypotheses of De Certeau’s essay is that the system of disciplineand control which took shape in the nineteenth century on the basis of earlierprocedures, today itself is “vampirized” by other procedures. De Certeau isparticularly interested in how we should consider the procedures that havenot been privileged by history, but that nevertheless are active in many waysin the opening of technological networks. He refers particularly to proceduresthat “do not have the precondition, associated with all those studied byFoucault, of having their own place (un lieu proper) on which the panopticmachinery can operate”. 69 These techniques are what De Certeau calls“tactics”. By studying the everyday and the art of doing, Michel De Certeaureveals the subterranean forms of dispersed creativity in the everyday, a tacticof bricolage adopted in the face of networks of surveillance. By this he posesboth similar and contrary questions to those of Foucault. The procedures andruses of the consumers are anti-discipline – something that, as he statesLefebvre’s works, is a fundamental source for. 70De Certeau describes urban environments as stratified places, as multilayeredenvironments, where the different layers contain qualities that affect theefficiency of urban strategies, by offering resistance or response. The67 De Certeau 1984, p.4868 Ibid, p.4969 Ibid, p.4970 De Certeau 1994, in a footnote to the introduction to the 2 nd French edition of Arts de faire, page .xi (1 st ed.1974, English translation 1984).45


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 1complexity of the urban environments, representing different degrees ofresistance towards strategies, is considered a difficulty, which according toDe Certeau makes the planners prefer working in more predictable areas, ormaking them more predictable by reducing complexity through urbanclearance and replacement of habitants:The kind of difference that defines every place is not on theorder of a juxta-position but rather takes the form of imbricatedstrata. The elements spread out on the same surface can beenumerated; they are available for analysis; they form amanageable surface. Every urban ”renovation” nonethelessprefers a tabula rasa on which to write in cement thecomposition created in the laboratory on the basis of discrete“needs” to which functional responses are to be made. 71To the ethnologist De Certeau the urban landscape is of course not mainlythe architectural, physical landscape. His “urban landscape” containscontemporary and historical spatial practices, and differences andcharacteristics within such an urban landscape affect the potential effect ofdifferent kinds of spatial interventions in different places. 72 But in what waysare architectural characteristics or differences involved in this?Architectural elements as reminders of different (historical) habitatsIn a later essay, Michel De Certeau addresses the significance of historicalenvironmental elements, their restoration and “life” as “ghost in the city”,affecting present practices, narratives and social life: 73In the urban imaginary world, there are first of all things thatspell it out. They impose themselves. Or, even better, they are“characters” on the urban stage. Secret personas. (…) They areactors, legendary heroes. They organize around them the citysaga. (…) These wild objects, stemming from indecipherable71 De Certeau 1984, p.200-20172 “However, beneath the fabricating and universal writing of technology, opaque and stubborn places remain.The revolutions of history, economic mutations, demographic mixtures lie in layers within it, and remain there,hidden in customs, rites and spatial practices. The legible discourses that formerly articulated them havedisappeared, or left only fragments in language. This place, on its surface, seems to be a collage. In reality, inits depth it is ubiquitous. A piling up of heterogeneous places. Each one, like a deteriorating page of a book,refers to a different mode of territorial unity, a socioeconomic distribution, of political conflicts and ofidentifying symbolism.” (1984: p.201)73 Michel De Certeau (1998) describes a change in urban strategies: how previous strategies aiming atdevelopment of new urban spaces little by little has been transformed into rehabilitation of cultural heritage.De Certeau describes a shift in focus from the modern perspective considering the city in the future to the postmodernperspective of considering it in the past, like a “space for journeys in itself, a deepening of itshistories”: a focus on narratives and staging, replacing the focus on progress and modernity. Althoughproblematizing numerous aspects related to urban restoration, Michel De Certeau emphasizes the value ofthese historical elements – as they are related to other socio-spatial practices than those dominating today, theirpresence represent contact with different habitats, broadening the urban multiplicity. Furthermore heproblematizes numerous aspects related to urban restoration (socio-economic issues and gentrification, andissues related to selectiveness, authenticity and identity).46


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 1pasts, are for us the equivalent of what gods of antiquity were,the “spirits” of the place. Like their divine ancestors, theseobjects play the role of actors in the city, not because of whatthey do or say but because their strangeness is silent, as well astheir existence, concealed from actuality. Their withdrawalmakes people speak – it generates narratives – and it allowsaction; through its ambiguity, it “authorizes” spaces ofoperations. 74The way I read this quite abstract and metaphorical, poetic and seductive text,the argument is that historical architectural elements represent spatialpresence of reminders of different (historical) habitats in the same place. Bytheir silent presence they represent a potential, offering exiting but nonconfrontingexperiences of encounters with otherness. According to DeCerteau, this alone safeguards an essential urban quality: multiplicity (andspace for multiplicity) as a quality characterizing urban encounters:(…) it is true that restored buildings, mixed habitats belongingto several worlds, already deliver the city from itsimprisonment in an imperialistic univocity. How enamelpaintedthey may be, they maintain there the heterodoxies ofthe past. They safeguard an essential aspect of the city; itsmultiplicity. 75However, when De Certeau discusses restoration and rehabilitation ofarchitectural heritage as spatial strategies, his emphasize is on how they maywork homogenizing, selectively territorializing the historically developedcomplexity, in favour of some, and in disfavour of multiplicity. But, as I seeit – interpretations of whether developed patterns represent homogenizationand/or “territorializing” or not, depend on what the composition of patternsare related to, as well as the composition of the patterns themselves. But, ifnew patterns imply a reduction of ‘publicness’ and multiplicity, and if thepotentially multiple spatial stories of the past are homogenized andinstrumentalized to support a particular set of spatial narratives referring to aparticular image of an area (or a particular place identity), this may beinterpreted as an homogenization and territorialization of a historicallymultilayered area. On the other hand, if the new patterns imply new kinds ofmultiplicity and ‘publicness’, playing on different historical rhythms andpatterns, allowing a diversity of spatial stories to coexist, this may not solikely be ascribed forces of homogenization or territorialization. I will come74 De Certeau 1998, p.135-13675 Ibid, p.138-13947


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 1back to concrete analyses of how more recent patterns in architecturaldevelopment play up against previous architectural patterns in chapter 5.Summarizing remarksIn my search for theoretical elements that can shed light upon studies of theinteraction between architectural space and social space, De Certeau addssome important insights:The first is the recognition of produced patterns in urban planning andarchitecture as spatial strategies, to which the tactics of the individual user ofthe urban landscape respond, challenge, and also can exceed.The second is his focus upon relations between ideologies andapparatuses, which can be related to Aldo Rossi’s architectural models(which I will return to). Here I read De Certeau’s critique of Foucault’sdiscussions of the panopticon as a request for taking a closer look atinteraction between tactics and strategies related to the apparatuses – whichalso comprise a way of seeing transformation of architectural strategies inrelation to tactics.The third is his distinction between how the multiple urban practices overtime produces manifold multilayered places, while the spatial strategies ofplanners and architects by nature work in a homogenizing way, making lieuxpropres (Fr.:“[ones/their] own places”), as a territorializing act ref. Striatedspace. Consistent architectural interventions on the urban landscape canprobably always be seen as strategies, related to ideologies and apparatusesof political, economical and professional power. However I don’t read theethnologist De Certeau as a sensitive authority on nuances in architecturaltactics and I am not fully convinced that any kinds of architectural changesalways represent strategies. On the other hand, tactics – individual andscattered at first – also form patterns that can be perceived as strategies byothers, maybe even as much as architectural strategies. Such tactics thataggregate into strategies are also produced in architectural environments.Michel De Certeau’s discussions prompt sensitivity towards dynamics insituations between individuals and socio-spatial environments formed byothers’ strategies. But in regards of how dynamics within the urban landscapeas a whole can be investigated and understood, De Certeau is less helpful,and likewise when it comes to how observable patterns in architecturaldifferences as well as patterns in individual uses of the urban environmentmay be conceptualized and studied interrelated.48


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 1APPROACHES TO TRANSFORMATION OF SOCIO-SPATIAL OR SOCIO-MATERIAL STRUCTURESIn the following I will take a closer look at different theoretical approachesfor understanding transforming structures of socio-spatial situations atdifferent levels. For my own professional and academic work, the theoreticalperspective of the Italian architect and urban theorist Aldo Rossi has been anessential source for understanding aspects of the city and its transformationsthrough its architecture. But in what concerns social life and itstransformations Rossi’s theoretical approach to the city and itstransformations is quite vague, and questions of for instance individualagency, or how individuals choices relate to concrete socio-spatial situations,are to a little extent touched upon. For my own understanding of theproductive tensions between aspects of abstract space and social space, thetheoretical discussions of the French sociologist and philosopher HenriLefebvre represent an important supplement to Rossi’s perspective. HenriLefebvre theorizes on how societal development is produced by spatialpractice: The space production includes actions, transactions and encountersof planned, lived and experienced practices in the “real” space of practices,each related to different aspects of mental space. The focus in Lefebvre’stheoretical treatises is not the patterns that we can observe (or how to goabout to analyze them), but the “spatial dialectics”, or the complexities ofhidden interrelated dynamics of the processes producing observable patterns.By discussion of correspondences and differences between these twoperspectives I will try to clarify epistemological aspects of an approach forunderstanding and investigating interrelations between the continuousdevelopment of architectural and social patterns within the urban landscape.Lefebvre’s production of social space versus Rossi’s production ofarchitectural spaceBoth Aldo Rossi’s The Architecture of the City 76 and Henri Lefebvre’s TheProduction of Space 77 provide theoretical frameworks for understandingurban transformation as dialectics within structures of architectural and socialspace. But their different theoretical positions and perspectives give differentmethodological approaches. They both developed their urban theories in1960s and -70s – as a critique of modernist urban planning and the reductivefunctionalist conceptualization of “the urban” as reflected in planningprinciples such as zoning, suburbanization, hierarchies of urban functions,76Aldo Rossi 1984: The Architecture of the City, Cambridge, Mass, MIT Press (first Italian edition 1966:L’architettura della cìtta, third French revised edition 2001: L’Architecture de la ville, Suisse, Il FollioEditions coll. Archygraphy).77 Henri Lefebvre 1991: The Production of Space. Oxford, Blackwell (English translation by DonaldNicholson-Smith) 1974: La production de l’espace, Paris, Éditions Anthropos49


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 1neighbourhood planning, etc. They both give elaborate descriptions of howsuch planning principles has caused loss of essential urban qualities – as aloss of repertoires of encounter situations that again have brought about alack of potentials for getting a fulfilled life for dislocated people (Lefebvre),and a loss of spatial continuity related to aspects of architecture as a culturalstructure and a carrier of the collective memory (Rossi).Both Rossi and Lefebvre apply a structural approach to urbantransformation. Transformation of urban structures is seen as a necessaryprecondition for all modern societies in change, and as a characteristic aspectof the dynamic role of cities in the development of societies through history.Their answers to the critique of modernist urban planning can be read asarguments for more sophisticated approaches for understanding both thecomplexity of the city, urban dynamics, and the dialectics at work in urbantransformation.Rossi’s main focus is on the production of architecture and how theproduction of architecture is related to culture and society. Lefebvre’s mainfocus is on the production of social space and how social formation throughindividual socio-spatial practice is related to production of architecture anddevelopment of society. As I see it there are more useful connections anddiscrepancies than overlaps and conflicts in their approaches to the city andits architecture. I will therefore carry out a comparative discussion of theapproaches of Rossi and Lefebvre in order to set out a basis for discussinghow architectural analysis of differences and discrepancies within the urbanstructure can inform studies of processes of socio-cultural urbantransformation.First, I shall focus on the specificities of “urban form”, as described byhence Lefebvre and Rossi. The reasons for doing so are the following:1) A first identification of the essential characteristics of urban form,understood as a synthesis of urban life and urban environments, can later beused as a basis for discussing stability and transformation: what are theessential characteristics of urban form even when the content has beenchanged?2) A first discussion of correspondence between concepts, approaches andcontents in their writings can later be used to establish connections betweendifferent aspects of how new patterns in socio-spatial situations aredeveloped in relation to previously produced patterns. In this way relatedconcepts may give methodological points of entry to empirical investigationsof manifestations of practices.50


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 1Lefebvre: Specificities of the city and urban formHenri Lefebvre produced a number of books and articles devoted tounderstanding the urban, the city and urban transformation: dynamicdialectics between the urban and the city. 78 In Le droit à la ville (Right to theCity), 79 Lefebvre describes the city is as:(1) a spatial object,(2) a mediation, and(3) a work (oeuvre) – not a product.What unifies these three aspects is the particular urban form, which is bothmental and social.(1) The city as a spatial object: The city is direct, present reality, a tangibleand architectural fact, while “the urban” can be described as a social andmental reality. But neither urban society nor urban life can be understoodwithout a tangible basis – a morphology. 80 Urban space is both produced andproducing through the evolutionary interaction between tangible, urbanlandscapes and human social life. As urban development, urban problems arerelated to space, the city is discussed as a spatial object.(2) The city as a mediation: In his discussion of what characterizes the city(the urban phenomena), Lefebvre starts by pointing out that the city alwayshas been related to society as a whole, with all its elements (rural areas,offensive and defensive forces, political power, the State, etc.) and its history.Therefore the city changes when society as a whole changes. But urbantransformation cannot be reduced to a passive result of societal order orsocietal change alone: The relation between city and society is also dependant78 Most of his texts on urban matters were produced between 1966 and 1974, but both his dialectic approachfor studying the production of space, and the problems he addresses (for instance the liberating potential ofurban life) has clear links to earlier parts of his work: Logique formelle, logique dialectique; Critique de la viequotidienne, I: Introduction (both published in 1947); Critique de la vie quotidienne, II: Fondement d’unesociologie de la quotidienneté (1962); La Vallée de Campan, étude de sociologie rurale (1963). In the twolatter books issues of urban versus rural sociology are amongst the issues that are discussed.79 Two of Henri Lefebvre’s first books on urban matters, Le droit à la ville (1968, Paris, Anthropos) and Larevolution urbaine (1970, Paris, Gallimard), can be read together as a political manifest for the right to adecent urban life: the right to centrality, access to multiplicity, productive encounters of differences, the rightnot to be excluded from urban form (including decisions, actions of power and corporation in public space).Lefebvre’s discussions in these two books of both the specificity of the city, urban dynamics, and urban life,can be read as a critique of the persistent reductive conceptualization of space and society in modern urbanism:Lefebvre attempted to explain how functionalistic urban development, with zoning, segregation, etc. had vastnegative impacts on aspects of the city which are considered essential to both the quality of individual life andthe development of society in general. In his critique of modernist urbanism, Lefebvre emphasizes the relationsbetween social space, mental space and the space of practice (in physical, “real” space).80 “Urban life, urban society and the urban, detached by a particular social practice (whose analysis willcontinue) from their half ruined morphological base, and searching for a new base, these are the contexts of thecritical point. The urban cannot be attached to a material morphology (on the ground, in the practico-material),or as being able to detach itself from it. It is not an intemporal essence, nor a system among systems or aboveother systems. It is a mental and social form, that of simultaneity, of gathering, of convergence, of encounter(or rather, encounters). It is a quality born from quantities (spaces, objects, products). It is a difference, orrather an ensemble of differences”.Henri Lefebvre: Right to the City, translated in Kofman and Lebas 1996: p.13151


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 1on relations between individuals and social groups: The city cannot thoughbe reduced to the organization of either of these relations. Lefebvre poses thecity mid-way between the order of individual practice (l’ordre proche) andthe structure of society (l’ordre lointain), and describes the city as amediation that in many ways is analogous to language. 81 The ‘mediation’refers not only to the city’s scale-wise in-between position, but to thatproduction of the oeuvre (the city), or urban transformation, should be seenas a dialectic between the far order and the near order (structure andpractice).(3) The city as a work (an oeuvre) – not product: Lefebvre describes the cityas a work (oeuvre), similar to a work of art, formed by collective life. A work(oeuvre) is different from a pure material product (produit): The productionof cities and of social relations within cities implies continuous productionand reproduction of human beings through human beings. 82 The productoeuvredistinction points at both the process of origination, and the way bothof them operate: An oeuvre is created (like nature creates), and thereby it hassomething unique and irreplaceable about it. A product, on the other hand,can be reproduced exactly; it is the result of repetitive acts and procedures.And while a product can be consumed and spent, an oeuvre is lived andthereby relates itself to processes of creativity, in the same manner asperception of an oeuvre d’art is a creative and productive activity. 83Lefebvre’s discussions of urban morphology are based in a theory of forms: 84Forms are derived from differences of content and in turn codify the practiceswithin which a particular content operates. Their emptiness gives them agreat versatility and capacity for renewal and combination. Thus, forinstance, the form of the Greek polis and the Roman urbs come together inthe medieval city. To clarify the meaning of the concept form, Lefebvre uses81 “The city is a mediation among mediations. Containing the near order, it supports it; it maintains relations ofproduction and property; it is the place of their reproduction. Contained in the far order, it supports it; itincarnates it; it projects it over terrain (the site) and on a plan, that of immediate life; it inscribes it, prescribesit. A text in a context so vast and ungraspable as such except by reflection.” Ibid: p 10182 “And thus the city is an oeuvre, closer to a work of art than to a simple material product. If there isproduction of the city, and social relations in the city, it is a production of human beings by human beings,rather than a production of objects. The city has a history; it is the work of a history, that is, of clearly definedpeople and groups who accomplish this oeuvre, in historical conditions. Conditions which simultaneouslyenable and limit possibilities, they are never sufficient to explain what was born of them, in them, by them.”Ibid: p. 10183 “There is no oeuvre without a regulated succession of acts and actions, of decisions and conducts, messagesand codes. Nor can an oeuvre exist without things, without something to shape, without practico-materialreality, without a site, without a ‘nature’, a countryside, an environment. Social relations are achieved from thesensible. They cannot be reduced to this sensible world, and yet they do not float in the air, they do notdisappear into transcendence. If social reality suggests forms and relations, if it cannot be conceived in a wayhomologous to the isolated, sensible or technical object, it does not survive without ties, without attachment toobjects and things.” Ibid: p. 10384 He first developed such a theory in Logique formelle Logique dialectique, and later more particularly appliedto the urban in Right to the City (1965, ch.12)52


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 1dialectical logic to explain the dynamic relation between form and content:urban transformation or the urban production of space is conceived as a playbetween social forms and physical, material forms – in the city. 85Lefebvre’s forms are abstract qualitative aspects of productive situations orprocesses of change, and not empirically observable phenomena such associal conventions and architectural types of forms. The urban form isdescribed as a mental and social form, which combines simultaneity (ofevents, perceptions, and elements in an ensemble) with the encounters andcollection of all that exists in the urban environment (supplies and products,activities, values), i.e. a quality that comes out of quantities – making theurban society a privileged place to live: By emphasizing that the multiplicityand encounters of difference in “the urban form” represents a powerfulliberating potential, Lefebvre demonstrates how the decentringhomogenization of the technocratic governmental urban development in Paris(and elsewhere) around 1970, represented a threat. He also explains why ithas to be so: that professionals in urban development are guided by abureaucratic, hierarchic conception of society, that their ‘scientisme’ 86dissimulates an ideology which is reductive of urban reality, and that thereductionism adopted by modernist urbanists as representative of urban order,works in a segregating (and counter-liberating) direction. 87Centrality is an aspect of the urban, but centrality as discussed by Lefebvre isnot a simple question of linear distance from a “centre”: Centrality isdescribed by Lefebvre as “focusing of productive energies” or “a momentaryconcentration of energy”. In an urban situation there are always different85 “Form detaches itself from content, or rather, contents. Thus freed, it emerges pure and transparent:intelligible. That much more intelligible as decanted from content,‘purer’. But here is the paradox. As such, inits purity, it has no existence. It is not real, it is not. By detaching itself from its content, form detaches itselffrom the concrete. The summit, the crest of the real, the key to the real (of its penetration by knowledge andthe action which changes it), it places itself outside the real.” Lefebvre in Kofman & Lebas 1996: p.134.86 French for (exaggerated) belief in science.87 In The Urban Revolution (1968) Lefebvre both anticipates and agitates for an urban revival: a futuresituation where “the people” (the working class) conquer the (anti)urban development, with the production of(social) space through spatial practice as the vehicle of the development. To my case study of socio-culturaltransformation related to gentrification and immigration in Oslo, the reference to Lefebvre has relevance alsoin a more direct manner, related to the local historical context: Lefebvre’s books on the city and urbanism, Ledroit à la ville and La révolution urbaine reached a wide public, including the much despised technocrats. Thenew urban policy that germinated in France in the early 1970s, echoed many of the themes of Lefebvre’swritings. These included the urban, conceived in social as well as spatial terms, the revival of the city as acollective entity and as quality of life. Politically, both the left and the right in France lamented the lack of thefête, around which inhabitants could unify, and the disappearance of the ludic element. Through both histeaching and his writings, Lefebvre also had a significant influence on the radical (majority of) architects in theearly 1970s, especially in France, but also more generally throughout Europe. In Oslo, for instance, both thecontent of the activist resistance against the slum clearance plans in the central east of the city in the 1970s,and the ideals from which the later urban renewal program of the 1970-80s was formed (and also the“Sustainable city development program” of the 1990s), can be seen as strongly influenced by, if not Lefebvre’sthoughts directly, but very similar ideas. Paradoxically this development can now be seen as a necessaryprecondition for the gentrification processes, and the homogenizing effects of gentrification, happening in thevery same areas.53


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 1centralities at work at the same time, and they are all in a process ofdevelopment. Centrality is never a constant; centralities are affected by, asthey also affect, the production of space. The form of centrality calls for acontent and attracts or concentrates particular objects. By becoming a locusof action, the form acquires a functional reality. Around the centre a structureof mental/social space is then organized, a structure that along with form andfunction contribute to a practice 88 – which can be seen as a perspectiveenabling understanding of how localization of study areas in a historicallydeveloped urban landscape may affect their development and dynamics.The city and urban form in Aldo Rossi’s The Architecture of the CityRossi presents his urban theory as a “theory of urban artifacts, [which] stemsfrom the identification of the city itself as an artifact and from its divisioninto individual buildings and dwelling areas”. 89 The use of the term artefactin the English translation might explain why The Architecture of the City sooften is read as a theory of the physical items, things, or products which canbe referred to as architecture – within the city. But Rossi’s definitions of botharchitecture and artifacts contain a wider understanding of urban dynamics:In a small editorial comment in the margin in the English translation ofRossi’s book one can read:The Italian fatto urbano comes from the French faite urbaine.Neither the Italian nor the English translation “urban artifact”(…) adequately renders the full meaning of the original, whichimplies not just a physical thing in the city, but all of itshistory, geography, structure, and connection with the generallife of the city. This meaning is the one intended throughoutthis book. 90An alternative way of translating faite urbaine can be ‘urban incident’, ‘urbanoccurrence’, ‘urban happening’, ‘urban issue’ or ‘urban fact’ – which all refermore directly to Rossi’s theoretical position and his analytical approach tounderstanding the city and its transformation. Rossi uses the term urbanartefact with reference to the city as a man-made object, as a collective workof art, a structure of urban artifacts where the contrast between the particularand the universal, between the individual and the collective, between the past88 “The notion of centrality replaces the notion of totality, repositioning it, relativizing it, and rendering itdialectical. Any centrality, once established, is destined to suffer dispersal, to dissolve or to explode from theeffects of saturation, attrition, outside aggressions, and so on. This means that the ‘real’ can never becompletely fixed, that it is constantly in a state of mobilization. It also means that a general figure (that of thecentre and of ‘decentering’) is in play which leaves room for both repetition and difference, for both time andjuxtaposition.” Lefebvre 1991: p. 399.89 Rossi 1984: pp. 21-2290 Ibid, p.2254


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 1and the future, emerges from the city and from its construction, itsarchitecture. The title of the book, The Architecture of the City, may also giveexpectations of a book in which the hero is The Architecture. But already inthe first paragraph of the introduction, Rossi points out that the subject of thebook (and his theoretical analysis), is the city. It’s a book on urban theory,not architectural theory. The architecture represents an analytic approach: thebinoculars through which he studies the city. 91The research object – the architecture of the city or the structure of urbanartefacts – is by Rossi defined in two ways: firstly as ultimate and verifiabledata that can be observed and described within a real city, secondly as anautonomous structure. In his hypothesis of the city as a man-made object, asa total architecture, Rossi puts forward three propositions: Firstly, that urbandevelopment has a temporal dimension, that the city has a before and after.This implies that comparable phenomena which are not homogenous can beconnected along temporal coordinates. Rossi’s idea of permanence derivesfrom this proposition. Secondly, that the city contains spatial continuity; thatall those elements which are found in a certain region or within a certainurban area are artifacts of a homogenous nature. Rossi’s perspective is arejection of the notion, historically speaking, that there are qualitative leapsbetween different archaeological layers of the city, layers produced underdifferent modes of production and different spatial codes (like, for instance,between the historical city and the city of the industrial revolution). He alsorejects that the open city and the closed city can be considered as differentartefacts. Thirdly, and finally, Rossi acknowledges that there within the urbanstructure are some primary elements of a particular nature, which have thepower to retard or accelerate the urban process.Rossi’s exploration of the city as architecture has many similarities withLefebvre’s first specification of the city “as a spatial object” (1). But also thetwo other specificities of the city as a mediation (2) and an oeuvre (3) isaddressed by Rossi:Ad (2), Rossi sees the city as a mediation between the particular and theuniversal, between the individual and the collective which can be studied inthe relationship between the public and private sphere manifested in therelation between public and private buildings, and between the structural91 “The city, which is the subject of this book, is to be understood here as architecture. By architecture I meannot only the visible image of the city and the sum of its different architectures, but architecture as construction,the construction of the city over time. I believe that this point of view, objectively speaking, constitutes themost comprehensive way of analyzing the city; it addresses the ultimate and definite fact in the life of thecollective, the creation of the environment in which it lives.” Ibid, p.2155


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 1orders in urban architecture and particular characteristics of place. 92 LikeLefebvre, also Rossi points at structural resemblance between the city andlinguistic structures 93 as methodologically important in urban studies 94(3) Finally, Rossi describes the city as an oeuvre, a collective work of art. 95In his theory of urban artifacts, the city itself is studied as an artefact; itsproduction over time carries the collective memory. Rossi quotes LewisMumford’s introduction to The Culture of Cities in his discussion of the ideaof the city as a work of art. 96The collective but also the individual, the creative but the structured, and theunconscious but also the conscious, are all aspects that characterize the cityas a work of art, according to Rossi. 97 Rossi describes the analogy withlanguage as important for his perspective. When Rossi sketches out “a logicalgeography of any city”, he emphasizes that this will have to be appliedessentially to the problems of language, description and classification. Inrelation to this he refers explicitly 98 to structuralists such as MauriceHalbwachs (La memoire collective) and Claude Levi-Strauss (TristesTropiques), and to contemporary (i.e. in the 1960s) developments 99 within92 “The contrast between the particular and universal, between individual and collective, emerges from the cityand from its construction, its architecture. This contrast is one of the principal viewpoints from which the citywill be studied in this book. It manifests itself in different ways: in the relationship between the public andprivate sphere, between public and private buildings, between the rational design of urban architecture and thevalues of locus or place.” Ibid, p.21.93 Linguistic structures, not semiological systems: Urban life and urban architecture are studied asmorphological, cultural, transformable structures.94 “The significance of permanent elements in the study of the city can be compared to that which fixedstructures have in linguistics; this is especially evident as the study of the city presents analogies with that oflinguistics, above all in terms of the complexity of its processes of transformation and permanence..” Rossi1984: pp.22-23.95In the recent French translation L’Architecture de la ville, the similarities with Lefebvre’s conception of thecity in the French original La production de l’espace, is more obvious than in the English translations of bothThe Architecture of the City and The Production of Space. This can be exemplified with the translation of afew key concepts: As mentioned earlier, the concept vivre and (espace) vecu is consistently translated ‘live’and ‘lived’ (space) in the The Production of Space, while the same concepts consistently are translated‘experience’ and ‘experienced’ (artifacts) in The Architecture of the City. In addition, as mentioned a fewpages back, the translation of faite urbaine to ‘urban artifact’ limits Rossi’s both social and architecturalconcept to be read almost purely architectural. In addition, and less important, in the English translation of TheArchitecture of the City one gets the feeling that Rossi is building up his own theory, while in the Frenchtranslation L’Architecture de la ville his arguments appears more implicit as elaborations on references toothers. For exemplification, see a few footnotes further down..96 “The city is both a physical utility for collective living and a symbol of those collective purposes andunanimities that arise under such favoring circumstances. With language itself, it remains man’s greatest workof art.” Lewis Mumford, The Culture of Cities (1938), p. 5, quoted in Rossi (1984) p. 18097 “The question of the city as a work of art, however, presents itself explicitly and scientifically above all inthe question of the nature of collective artifacts, and I maintain that no urban researchers can ignore this aspectof the problem. How are collective urban artifacts related to works of art? All great manifestations of sociallife have that in common with the work of art the fact that they are born in unconscious life. This life iscollective in the former and individual in the latter; but this is only a secondary difference because one is aproduct of the public and the other is for the public: the public provides the common denominator.” Rossi1984, p.33.98 Rossi (1984): page 33; a longer footnote page 180; Halbwachs is thoroughly discussed pp. 146-152.99The French translation: “Mais à l’intérieur meme des sciences dont j’ai parlé, on voit pourtant se developperactuellement un type d’analyse plus large, plus concret et plus complet; elle s’attache à la ville comme à “lachose humaine par excellance”, et peut-être aussi à ce qu’on peut apprendre qu’en vivant concretement un fait56


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 1urban geography, urban topography, architecture and other disciplines. But,while the focus of the structuralism of Lévi-Strauss and Halbwachs is thecoherence of the structure and its transformation, 100 Rossi uses his structuralapproach to explore freedom in the situation of individual architecturalpractice; how the relative autonomy of architectural practice in the urban(social, cultural and architectural) structure represents both a limited freedomof choices reproducing existing patterns, and a limited freedom to exceedpatterns in the existing situation and thereby challenge and transform theexisting urban situation.Rossi: morphological systems, (relatively homogenous) study areas and structural relationsRossi suggests a methodological approach to studies of transformation ofurban areas at two different structural levels: studies of identifiablemorphological characteristics in geographically limited parts of the city(study areas), and structural studies of how such parts relate to thedevelopment of the urban structure as a whole.At the first morphological level, he describes how for instance manyresidential urban areas can be observed and described as characteristic areasrepresenting a particular morphological system: that is architectural systemsof forms that can be related to social system of forms. Identification andstudies of the morphological characteristics of relatively homogenous areascan give access for empirically understanding how a particular type of sociomaterialfield of action, represents possibilities and limitations for individualsocio-spatial practices (in relation to a particular way of life). 101urbain donné.” (Rossi 2001: pp. 27-28), which I would have translated: “But inside the same disciplines ofwhich I have spoken, we can however, at the moment see the development of a kind of broader analysis, moreconcrete and more complete; attaching to the city as to ‘the human issue par excellence’, and perhaps also tothat which one cannot learn in other ways than by ‘living’ concretely a given urban situation.” The Englishtranslation says: “By using those disciplines to which I have just referred, we are working toward a broader,more concrete and more complete analysis of urban artifacts. The city is seen as the human achievement parexcellence, perhaps too, it has to do with those things that can only be grasped by actually experiencing agiven urban artifact”. (Rossi 1984: p. 33)100 Not in general, but as exposed in both Levi-Strauss and Halbwachs’ structuralist studies of societies andtheir environments that is referenced and discussed by Rossi.101 “(…) the study area would include all of those urban areas that have a physical and social homogeneity.(Even if defining what constitutes homogeneity in things is not easy, especially from a formal point of view, itis still possible to define a typological homogeneity: that is, all those areas where consistent models and typesof living are realized in similar buildings; thus the homogeneity of residential districts, Siedlungen, etc.) Thestudy of these characteristics ends up by becoming specific to a social morphology or social geography (and inthis sense the homogeneity can also be defined sociologically), so that the activities of social groups areanalyzed with respect to how they are continuously manifested in fixed territorial characteristics.” Rossi 1984:p.6557


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 1As stated by both Lefebvre and Rossi, 102 the relation between social andarchitectural morphology is not a static one-to-one relation. In contrast tomore static notions of urban neighbourhood morphologies, the qualitativecharacteristics of Rossi’s residential “study areas” are related to the structuralrelationship they have to other elements in the urban landscape, and to thedynamics of the urban structure as a whole. 103 Furthermore Rossi focuses onhow: “the relationship between primary elements and residential areascorrespond, in the architectural sense, to the operative distinction made bysociologists between the public sphere and the private sphere as characteristicelements of the formation of the city.” 104In other words: An urban residential area does not only consist of spaces for acommunity of neighbours, and the socio-spatial practices in a certain urbanneighbourhood are not independent of development of socio-spatial practiceselsewhere in the urban landscape. By their relation to the circulation systemand the system of “fixed elements” (social, cultural and commercialinstitutions), residential areas can be related to the differentiated urbanstructure as a whole – in different ways.Corresponding analytical concepts for investigation of dynamic relationsAlthough dealing with different aspects of the city and its transformation, Ifind an interesting kinship between the relational analytic concepts ofLefebvre and Rossi.Dynamic differences: “particularities and differences”,“décalages” and “primary elements”For studies of permanence and continuity in processes of urbantransformation where urban (residential) areas change function, role andmeaning, both Lefebvre’s and Rossi’s dialectic focus on productivedifferences within the urban landscape as such, show the way to a secondstructural level of dynamic relations between socio-spatial characteristicsinvolved in urban transformation.102 “The form of the study area, seen as a constituent part of the city is thus useful for analyzing the form of thecity itself. This type of analysis does not involve a communitarian idea of the area nor any of the implicationsin the idea of community which relates to neighborhood; these questions are largely sociological in nature. Inthe present context the study area always involve a notion of the unity both of the urban whole as it hasemerged through a process of diverse growth and differentiation, and of those individual areas or parts of thecity that have acquired their own characteristics. (…) These areas, these parts, are defined essentially by theirlocation, their imprint on the ground, their topographical limits, and their physical presence; and in this waythey can be distinguished within the urban whole. Thus, we arrive at a more general and conceptualdevelopment of the problem: the study area can be defined as a concept that takes in a series of spatial andsocial factors which act as determining influences on the inhabitants of a sufficiently circumscribed culturaland geographical area” (Rossi 1984: p. 64)103 “The study area is a surface that relates to the specific mass and density of a part of the city and alsobecomes a dynamic moment within the life of the city itself.” (Rossi 1984: p. 65)104 Ibid. p. 8658


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 1Differences – or discussions of differences between ways of being differentand ways of making difference – may be another point of entry forunderstanding relations between the production of social space and tangiblespace. My project implies a search for a way of defining and identifyingarchitectural differences within the urban landscape that may affect thepotential for social and cultural transformation: how architectural differencesmay make a difference in further differentiation of the socio-spatial urbanlandscape. To qualify a discussion of why and how some differences couldbe seen as more crucial than others, what’s needed is a basic understanding ofdifferences (between differences).Theory of differences is difficult, and even though Lefebvre has beencritical to the mathematical-philosophical dominant way of exploring spatialconcepts, Lefebvre 105 himself turned to mathematical analogies in order toclarify “differences between differences”. 106In an urban situation differences induced within a given mode ofproduction coexist with produced differences promoting the demise ofexactly the same mode. Lefebvre describes such coexistence not only as aproduced difference, but also as a productive difference: qualitative leaps arealways long prepared for by gradual quantitative changes. According toLefebvre no epoch, no society and no mode of production produce its ownspace directly. It is the dominating contradictions in every epoch, thecontradictions between spatial practices in society that produces the space ofevery period. 107More recently, the French geographer Marcel Roncayolo has introduced theconcept décalage, 108 to discuss a corresponding perspective on urbantransformation:105 Most of Lefebvre’s discussions of differences in The Production of Space (1991/1974) are more or lesselaborations of elements from his earlier works. Lefebvre refers explicitely to his own works : Logiqueformelle, Logique dialectique (1947/1969) and Manifeste différentialiste (1971).106 Lefebvre makes two inseparable, basic distinctions: The first is the distinction between minimal andmaximal difference, which belongs to logic. The second distinction is between induced and produceddifferences which belongs to the theory of dialectical movement. A minimal difference is a repetition: thedifference between first and second, one and one more. By contrast, the difference between finite cardinal andordinal numbers on the one hand and transfinite cardinal and ordinal numbers on the other hand is a maximaldifference. An induced difference is produced according to a particular law, and remains within the set orsystem. By this, the induced differences constitute the set or the system; like in numerical sets where thedifference between successive elements are generated by iteration and recurrence. By contrast, a produceddifference presupposes the shattering of a system; a given set gives rise beyond its boundaries to anothercompletely different set: like when the set of whole numbers generates first the set of fractions, then the set of‘incommensurables’ and ‘transcendentals’, and ultimately the set of transfinite numbers107 Lefebvre 1991: p. 372108 Un décalage is a discrepancy in both time and space: synonymous with dislocation, displacement etc. inspace, but also synonymous with the time-equivalent (dismomentation..? distimement.. ? time-lag?, but not interms of defining the direction of the lag in the way terms like ‘delay’ or ‘advance’ would do: “décalage” justindicates a qualitative discrepancy without identifying its (quantitative) “direction: in contrast to for instancebefore/after, more primitive/advanced, delay/advance. Décalage is also used to describe an unbalance or adistance. ‘Décaler’ is the verb, ‘décalé’ the adjective (past tense of the verb).59


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 1In the urban tissue and in the practices, there exist at the sametime areas, fragments of the city, ways of life which are out ofphase 109 with the main social formation (of the type dominatedby industrialization, in the same notion as modernity). Thesecan drive the transformation or the displacement of the urbanensemble, re-question forms and meanings agreed upon (notonly the material device, but the hierarchy of spaces, and forinstance the centrality). 110Roncayolo emphasizes that in order to understand socio-spatial dialectics, itis essential to study urban transformation not only as space produced by adominating power-relation in society, but as dialectics between differentusers and spaces and the development of the material urban structure overtime. 111 To enable such studies, Roncayolo suggests an understanding of theurban structure in transformation as a structure of multiple layers, or asmultiple elements relating to different layers, each belonging to differentrhythms of temporalities and space. 112When we see the qualities of Rossi’s primary elements in relation to hisproposition that the city contains a spatial continuity in time, i.e. that allelements which are found in a certain region or within a certain urban areaare artifacts of a homogenous nature, 113 I find it useful to see Rossi’s conceptin relation with Lefebvre’s theory of differences, and also his understandingof “particularities”. 114 Lefebvre describes particularities as:(…) a function of primary nature, of sites, of resources. Onbasis of their differences, unknown or misunderstood, theyconfront one another. Out of their struggles, which imply andcomplicate class struggles as well as conflicts between peopleand nations, there emerge differences properly so called.109 The phrase “out of phase” is my translation of décalé: The French quote: “Dans le tissu urbain et dans lespratiques, il existe a la fois des quartiers, des fragments de ville, des modes de vie qui sont décalés par rapportau charactère majeur de la formation sociale, au type marquant d’industrialisation, à la notion même de lamodernité. Celle-ci peut conduire la transformation ou le déplacement de l’ensemble urbain, remettre enquestion les formes et le sens qu’on leur accorde (non seulement le dispositif materiel, mail la hiérarchie desespaces et, par exemple, la centralité).” (Roncayolo, 2002: p. 183)110 Roncayolo 2002: p.183, my translation.111 French quote : “(…) on ne peut plus mettre en valeur les seules conditions de la production de la ville, lesacteurs privilégiés de la croissance et de la creation urbaines, mais la manière don’t les habitants ou lesutilasteurs, au cours de temps plus ou moins longs, sans modification notable des structures matérielles ou parajustements successifs, ont infléchi leur usage et leur apparence, ou maintenu contrastes ou contradictions,dans des contexts sociaux différents.” (Roncayolo, 2002: p. 183)112 French quote: ”.. que chaque strate, équipement, fragment géographique, a son temps de vie, de même quechaque espéce végétale dans la forêt équatoriale a son rythme. Les strates de la ville, tant qu’elles conserventune presence dans le paysage et e fonctionnement, sont affaire de temporalities différentes autant que d’espace.(Roncayolo, 2002: p. 183)113 Such a perspective implies a denial of qualitative leaps between “archaeological layers” in the city,appurtenant to different modes of production and different spatial codes. (Rossi 1984: p. 63)114 Lefebvre 1991: pp. 352-400, most explicit on p. 373.60


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 1Drawing a clear distinction between particularities anddifferences makes it possible to dispense with such confusedand dangerous metaphors as specificity, authenticity, and soon. The formal theory of differences opens itself onto theunknown and the ill-understood: onto rhythms, ontocirculations of energy, onto the life of the body (whererepetition and differences give rise to one another, harmonizingand disharmonizing in turn). 115Aldo Rossi describes primary elements as particular kinds of urbanartifacts. 116 The primary elements are characteristic in both form andfunction:(…) they have an absolute clarity, they are distinguishable onthe basis of their form and in a certain sense their exceptionalnature within the urban fabric; they are characteristic, or betterthat what characterizes a city. If one looks at the plan of anycity, these immediately identifiable forms leap out as blackspots. The same is true from a volumetric point of view. 117The primary elements contain ‘qualities’ that characterize or summarize theparticularities of a city. A primary element can be a monument. Monumentsare often primary elements. The urban plan of a planned city can also beconsidered a primary element, as can major collective events in a city (whichshould be seen in relation to the city’s collective memory). In a comparativehistorical study of the development of an urban fabric, one can study thefunction and value of the primary elements, and the relations they have withthe development of the city as a whole. Even though primary elementsrepresent permanence in the development of an urban fabric (although theform or function of the primary element might have transformed over time),they are also closely related to urban dynamics:[primary elements are] those elements capable of acceleratingthe process of urbanization in a city, and they also characterizethe processes of spatial transformation in an area larger thanthe city. 118115 Ibid: p. 373116 Cf. the already mentioned editorial comment to the English translation of Rossi’s book: “The Italian fattourbano, (translated “urban artifact”) comes from the French faite urbaine. Neither the Italian nor the Englishtranslation adequately renders the full meaning of the original, which implies not just a physical thing, but allof its history, geography, structure, and connection with the general life of the city. This meaning is the oneintended throughout this book.” (Editors comment, Rossi 1984, p. 22)117 Rossi 1984: p. 99118 Ibid, p.87.61


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 1Permanence can be both of a propelling character, or have a pathologicalcharacter, as isolated and aberrant artifacts, i.e. only as the form of the past.Primary elements are collective by nature:[…] they refer to the public, collective character of urbanelements, to the characteristic fact of public things that aremade by the collective for the collective and are by natureessentially urban. 119Through their importance in the formation and constitution of the city, and byway of their character of permanence, the primary elements are carriers of thecollective memory of a city. In a discussion of the relationship betweenarchitecture and locus, Rossi uses The Roman Forum to exemplify amonument and primary element of fundamental importance forunderstanding urban artefacts: 120 Through history, the program and functionof The Roman Forum has with shifting regimes and modes of productionbeen transformed several times: First a necropolis, then a place of battles andreligious rites, then a marketplace, then a public square and a symbol ofpublic power (and “occasionally the theatre of bloody events”), and todayrestored as a tourist attraction – a monument of the Roman Empire. Butthrough all these changes (which also implied modifications of thearchitecture of the Forum), the particularity of the primary element remainedunchanged:Augustus’ systematization and the enlargement of the centralzone of Rome by the Forum of Augustus and the marketplaceof Trajan, after Hadrian’s works and until the fall of theEmpire, the Forum did not lose its essential character as ameeting place, as the center of Rome, (…) it became a specificartifact within the very heart of the city, a part that epitomizedthe whole. 121Much later, in the middle of the 19 th century, the event of a revolution causedan urge for reading antiquity in a ‘modern’ way. When the restoration of theForum started, it was based on a study, not of the Forum as an assemblage ofsingle monuments, but as a total artefact, as “a permanence like that of Romeitself”. The case study of the Roman Forum can illustrate the complicatedrelation between form and function. Function alone is insufficient to explainthe continuity of the urban artefacts. Form persists and comes to preside overa built work as its functions continually become modified. But also in formthe material is modified. A function must always be defined in relation to119 Ibid, p. 86120 Ibid, p. 119-126121 Ibid, p. 120.62


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 1time and society. An urban artefact that has been determined by one functiononly, will not necessarily survive if the function changes. The continuity ofan artefact depends closely on the development of its function over time. Inthis perspective the concept of primary elements refers to a historicallyrelatively permanent, geographically identifiable, and, in relation to material,form and function, transformable relation that is closely related to theconstitution and further development of the city.The way I here read Rossi, primary elements like The Roman Forum areparticular urban artefacts: a synthesis of place, architectural form andcollective function with a particular primary position in the urban society at acertain time (and therefore also an important element in the collectivememory). Over time society transforms, so does the architecture of the city(seen as a transformable structural environmental tool). Even the primaryelements might change both physical form and program. What does notchange, is what makes the primary elements to primary elements: thedialectic relation between particular urban artefacts (synthesis of place, formand function) and the general life of the city. The localization of The RomanForum has not changed through history. Its architectural form (the buildingssurrounding the open plaza and even the form of the open square) has beentransformed as the program of the Forum has changed. But the spatialorganization of the Forum as a scene for a major collective events, closelyrelated to the role of Rome in relation to its environment (as a capital in TheRoman Empire, as a global tourist attraction etc.), has been resistant to someaspects of urban transformation, and accelerated others.Lefebvre’s triad of socio-spatial dialecticsIn The Production of Space Lefebvre emphasizes that architectural space isnot space itself, but only a way of looking at space – or aspects of the “real”space, which is the space of social practices. 122 But in the same way asarchitectural space only represents some aspects of space, the representationsof space made by social scientists, psychologists and other researchers willalso only give access to some (but fairly different) aspects of the “real” space,i.e. the space of social practices.In contrast to urban sociologists that have sought to provide architects andurbanists with a scientific understanding of the constraints of urban life andthe city (the Chicago school of sociology etc.), which actually quite easilycould have been translated into normative theories of urban form, Lefebvrefirst of all describes the city and urban life as a dynamic dialectic process ofpossibilities and encounters. His more overall theory of spatialisation can be122 Lefebvre 1991, p.18.63


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 1read as a discussion of different dialectics at work in and between differentkinds of human agency in urban transformation. To Lefebvre, the architectureof the city is not conceived of as a product of society, neither is urban life notseen as a product of its architectural environments. On the contrary, HenriLefebvre describes the life and development of society and the city as spaceproduction,as dialectics between different kinds of human practice in space.These processes again are by Lefebvre described as different kinds ofspatialisation or space-producing dialectics between mental and “real” space.Based on this, urban transformation can be conceived as interaction between,in principle, different kinds of human practice in the city. These again can beinvestigated as two different kinds of dialectics between physical,architectural space and mental and social space. In his exploration of theproductive connections between mental space and real space, Lefebvreproposes a conceptual triad that distinguishes three “moments” or aspects ofspatial production, or three dialectic sets of relationships between actualspace and mental space: (1) Spatial practice, (2) Representations of space,and (3) Spaces of representation.(1) Spatial practice is the most direct and the most important aspect of spatialproduction: “The spatial practice of a society secretes that society’s space; itpropounds and presupposes it, in a dialectical interaction; it produces itslowly and surely as it masters and appropriates it.”(1991: p. 38). Spatialpractice includes human and social activity in space, and with space. At themoment of practice, space is perceived – and by this the mental space of thespatial practice is the perceived. By emphasizing spatial practice as the mostimportant moment of production of space, Lefebvre privileges the use valueof the city at the expense of the exchange value. In the conceptual triadspatial practice is reduced to pure human action in or with space, and to theinstant perception of space related to spatial practice. But spatial practice isclosely connected to the other two moments of spatial production: spatialpractice is guided both by the rational conception of space (representations ofspace, cf. 2) and/or by associations, images and symbols related toexperiences, memories and images of space (representational spaces/Spacesof representation, cf. 3). It also works the other way around: the directly livedexperiences with space through spatial practice inform the representationalspaces.(2) Representations of space are the second moment of spatial production.Professionals working with urban transformation, either as scientists,urbanists, architects, “technocratic subdividers and social engineers”, arenever – and will never be – able to deal with all aspects of urban space. Whatthey/we work with are abstractions or representations of space, analyses64


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 1based on maps and diagrams, statistics, drawings, texts, etc. And as much asbeing representations of space, what these representations reflect is their/ourconception of the urban situation in terms of aspects that are consideredeither constant or transformable, in terms of problems to be solved, or interms of what is believed to be pure urban mechanisms. Representations ofspace influence professionals in their operational abstractions in professionalproduction of space: tools for maintenance and transformation of the urbanstructure. These conceptions of space are limited by what is consideredpossible to represent by intellectually worked out systems of cartographic,statistic, numeric, and verbal representation.Representations of space are certainly abstract, but they alsoplay part in social and political practice: established relationsbetween objects and people in represented space aresubordinate to a logic which will sooner or later break them upbecause of lack of consistency. 123According to Lefebvre, representations of space are the dominant moment ofspatial production in any society. Representations of space have a practicalimpact; they intervene in and modify spatial textures and are informed byeffective knowledge and ideology:Representations of space must therefore have a substantial roleand a specific influence in production of space. Theirintervention occurs by way of construction – in other words, byway of architecture, conceived of not as the building of aparticular structure, palace or monument, but rather as a projectembedded in a spatial context and texture which calls for‘representations’ that will not vanish into the symbolic orimaginary realms. 124By this, the product of representations of space is related to the contextualunderstanding affecting the work of architects and urban planners, i.e.pragmatic problem-definition and search for answers.By contrast, the only products of representational spaces aresymbolic works. These are often unique; sometimes they set intrain ‘aesthetic’ trends and, after a time, having provoked aseries of manifestations and incursions into the imaginary, runout of steam. 125123 Lefebvre 1991: p. 41124 Ibid: p.42125 Ibid: p.4265


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 1(3) Representational spaces 126 or Spaces of Representation is the thirdmoment of spatial production. Spaces of Representation is the mentalunderstanding of qualities of space of those who use it (inhabitants, users)and those who endeavors to describe it (artists, writers, philosophers) withouttrying to make the description an operational tool in transformation of space(like planners, architects etc.). Spaces of Representation are related to theassociated images and symbols connected with the experience of space: “Itoverlays physical space, making symbolic use of its objects. Thus spaces ofrepresentation may be said, though again with certain exceptions, to tendtowards a more or less coherent system of non-verbal symbols and signs.” 127Lefebvre emphasizes that this perceived-conceived-lived (experienced) triadis not to be treated as an abstract ‘model’. He also emphasize that it isimportant to study the dialectic by way of a triad: “A triad: that is, threeelements and not two. Relations with two elements boil down to oppositions,contrast or antagonisms.” 128 Neither is the conceptual triad to be thought ofas separate categories, or autonomous modes of social production of space:That the lived, conceived and perceived realms should beinterconnected, so that the ‘subject’, the individual member ofa given social group, may move from one to another withoutconfusion – so much is a logical necessity. Whether theyconstitute a coherent whole is another matter. 129Lefebvre’s triad, and his discussions of spatial dialectics, is thus not meant tobe understood as separate categories or phenomena, but to direct our attentionto the dialectics between different kinds of human spatialisation as theproduction of space.Lefebvre’s RhythmanalysisIn the last years of his life, and in cooperation with Catherine Régulier,Lefebvre developed “Rhythmanalysis” as a strategy for analysis of placerelatedrhythmic differences in practices and encounter situations.126 A literal translation of the French Espaces de representation would have been Spaces of Representation,which at least to me seems to communicate better the distinction between the associative characteristics of thismoment and the more rational, reductive representations of space. More important is that “vecu” (past tense ofvivre) means both “lived” and “experienced” (direct perceived experience through practice – which translatesboth levd and opplevd in Norwegian), while éxperience in French connotes a more permanent mental imprint(erfaring in Norwegian) than experience in English (both opplevelse and erfaring in Norwegian). The lack ofdistinction confuses the English translation in several places. Lefebvre’s use of the term in both meaningsillustrates the connection: sometimes with emphasis on the living (spatial practice) and other times withemphasis on the mental outcome/experience of the living (representational spaces), like when Sartre used theterm ‘vecu’ about individual experience of possibilities and constraints.127 Ibid: p.39128 Ibid: p.39129 Ibid: p. 4066


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 1In his exemplified rhythmanalytic analysis of urban situations, 130 Lefebvredescribes the rhythmic differentiation of encounters as related tomorphological, contextual differences at different levels – from the mostglobal to the more local:• Differences in rhythms between different types of cities: betweenMediterranean cities and Oceanic cities, which are related toconstitutive landscape elements and to the historical, functionalrelation between the city and its environment,• differences in rhythms related to particular elements in the urbanlandscape – such as monuments, commercial nodes, and elementsrepresenting the presence of the State in the City,• differences in rhythms related to the historical socio-spatial elementsof the city – like the “medieval-like festivity, between Saint-Merriand Modernism: fire-eaters, jugglers, snake-men, but also preachersand sit-in discussions”, 131• differences in rhythms in different urban neighbourhoods, and• differences in rhythms of spaces within the same neighbourhood –for instance, as in Lefebvre’s own “Seen from the window”-example, observed from two different windows in an apartment (thewindow facing the garden space and the window facing the street).All these differences are presented as parts of a synchronic study ofdifferences in rhythms which can be observed in the current situation. But, asin his own analysis of differences, Lefebvre underlines the importance ofmaking use of historical knowledge of how differences have been produced.In Lefebvre’s rhythmanalysis different patterns of socio-spatial practicesrefer to different time-space relations, time being more or less cyclical orlinear, spaces being produced by practices in physical (or architectural)places: Everywhere where there is interaction between a place, time and usesof energy, there is rhythm, writes Lefebvre 132 . The three main components inrhythmanalysis – in studies of particular concrete cases dealing withindividual life and the life of a group – are studies of:a) repetition (of gestures, of acts, of situations, of differences),b) interference between linear processes and cyclic processes, and130 “Seen from the window” (1996: p. 219-227) and “Rhythmanalysis of Mediterranean Cities” (1996: pp.228-240).131 1996: p.226132 Partout où il y a interaction d’un lieu, d’un temps et d’une dépense d’energie, il y a rythme. Donc:a) répétition (de gestes, d’actes, de situations, de differences)b) interférences de processus linéaires et de processus cycliquesc) naissance, croissance, apogee, puis decline et fin.Ceci fournissant le cadre des analyses sur les cas particuliers, donc reels, et concrets, qu’il s’agisse (…) de lavie individuelle ou de celle d’un groupe. L’analyse devrait dans chaque cas parcourir jusqu’aux termes lesmouvements, dans telle suite d’actions. (1992: p. 26).67


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 1c) birth, growth, peak, then decline and end (rhythms in occurrenceof phenomena and situations).Through his rhythmanalysis Lefebvre conceptualizes spatio-temporalrhythms incorporating the rhythms of individual everyday lives, the rhythmsof encounters situations and the rhythms of places, streets, cities and flows:It is on the one hand a relationship of the human being with hisown body, with his tongue and speak, with his gestures, in acertain place and with a gestural whole, and on the other hand,a relationship with the largest public space, with the entiresociety and beyond it, the universe. 133The observable rhythms are conceived as a synthesis of three kinds ofrhythms: the rhythms of self, the rhythms of others and the rhythms of place.To Lefebvre, all turn upon the practices: The rhythms, or the shifting timespaceconstellations are both shifting time-space constellations in peoples’different lives, and shifting space-time constellations differentiating spacesand places in the city (or elsewhere): Linear time as perpetual routine,encounters by chance and places, people and situations passing by, and cyclictime as returning encounters, recognition, and trajectories connecting anhome to the world outside, organising the social in everyday life.These last rhythms, (those of schoolchildren, shoppers andtourists) would be more cyclical, with big and simple intervals,within more intense, alternating rhythms with short intervals –cars, regulars, employees, bistro clients. The interactions ofvarious repetitive and different rhythms, as one says, animatethe street and the neighborhood. The linear, that is, succession,consists in comings and goings and combines with the cyclicaland spells of longer duration. The cyclical is socialorganization manifesting itself. The linear is routine, thus theperpetual, made of chance and encounters. 134Although practices, in time and space, might be distinguishable as more orless cyclical or linear, it is important to keep in mind that these are relationalanalytic concepts, not absolute categories. 135133 Lefebvre & Régulier (1981) in Kofman & Lebas 1996: p. 235.134 Ibid, p. 221-222.135 “If therefore the cyclical and the linear can be clearly distinguished, the analysis which has separated themmust rejoin them, for they enter into a perpetual interaction and are even relative to each other, to the point thatone becomes the measure of the other. An example: so many days of work.” Ibid, p. 231.68


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 1Likewise, the composition of rhythms produced by the practices of a space ata time or at different times, or by a temporality at different times and spaces,might be distinguished as dominated by more or less cyclic or linearrepetitions – but neither these are analytic categories: rhythms are relative.The relativity of rhythms means that any study of rhythms necessarilybecomes a comparative study. 136Two examples of Rhythmanalysis and aspects of architecture involvedLefebvre exemplifies his Rhythmanalysis with two urban studies at twodifferent levels. In both, the differences in rhythms are related to differencesin temporality and in spatiality:(1) In Seen from the window, 137 Lefebvre analyses the rhythms – theencounters of different time-space constructions – which can be observedfrom the windows on each side of his typical Parisian apartment, on anordinary day. Lefebvre discusses how the differentiated flows of practices indifferent spaces (streets, areas) distinguish them from each other: how therhythms observed from the window facing the garden and courtyard differsfrom the rhythms observed from the window facing the busy street, but alsohow ‘hidden’ logics such as the omnipresent State (with its monuments), thedivision of labour and leisure, and the co-presence of different space-timeelements(super modern and medieval, both spatial codes and urbanfunctions) affect the composition of rhythms in different spaces. The ‘hidden’logics Lefebvre describe as related to the composition of rhythms in differentspaces can therefore be related to the contextual composition of architecturalelements – to aspects of the spatial situation. 138 Lefebvre describes the logicsas ‘hidden’ in the sense that they are not sufficiently unambiguous andexplicit to be recognized by any or every practitioner of the spaces theyinvolve: and therefore they can not be ascribed spatial determinism. Still, thepresence of these products of power and intentions in architectural sociospatialpractice – designed to serve past and present rhythms of socio-spatialpractices – affect the present contextual repertoire of encounter situations.And the ‘hidden’ logics in the composition of architectural elements areempirically accessible: they involve visually observable elements that can bedescribed and analyzed through studies of the composition of patterns in the136 “Let us insist on the relativity of rhythms. They cannot be measured like that of the speed of a mobile on itstrajectory is measured, with a well-defined start (zero point) and a unit defined once and for all. A rhythm isfast or slow only in relation to other rhythms to which it is associated within a greater or lesser unity. Anexample is a living organism – our own body – or even a town (of course not reducing it to that of a biologicalorganism). Which leads us to emphasize the plurality of rhythms as well as their interactions or reciprocalactions.” Ibid, p. 230.137 Ibid, pp. 219-227.138 Aspects of the spatial situation – ‘hidden’ logics in the composition of architectural elements – that arerelated to contextual differences in ‘rythms’. ‘Hidden’ logics in the architectural environment are empiricallyaccessible through studies of patterns in the architectural production in the urban landscape over time, whichwill be demonstrate in the next chapter.69


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 1architectural production of socio-spatial elements over time (related toknowledge about historical changes in society and architectural ideas that canbe associated with the production of the different architectural elements of anarea).(2) In Rhythmanalysis of Mediterranean Cities, 139 Lefebvre analyses thedifferences between the historical development (and current situation) ofMediterranean cities and other types of cities (oceanic cities, Nordic citiesetc). Lefebvre argues that shifts in time-space-practices (or temporalities)have been as significant as shifts in spatiality (space-time-practices, spatialcodes, centralities, etc.) in the development of the societies of the city-states.Through a discussion of differences in natural conditions (no tide, warmerclimate, “solar cities” rather than “lunar cities”, sea ports not oceanic ports,etc.) and political and economical conditions (constituted as city-states, smallbut protected trade, regimes of compromise between political powers, etc.),Lefebvre identifies differences in the rhythms in lived everyday life, socialpractices, public and urban life – between the Mediterranean cities andNordic and oceanic cities. These differences in rhythms of different types ofcities (in relation to their environment and other types of cites) can be relatedto differences in their constitutive elements, and the differences (or dynamicrelations) which have generated growth and decline in various periods of theactual cities’ historical development.Lefebvre’s rhythmanalytic project is as much a discussion of a mode ofanalysis as a discussion of how to analyze specific rhythms. The way I readLefebvre, 140 his discussions of a mode of analysis is an attempt to make usboth think time and space together, and think them differently, to focus onthe everyday, and to balance a non-linear conception of time and history witha conception of space-production as a trialectic between spatial practices,spaces of representation and representations of space. 141139 Ibid, pp. 228-240.140 Henri Lefebvre 1992: Éléments de rythmanalyse, Paris, Éditions Syllepse.141Lefebvre’s explicit ambition is (no less than) to introduce rhythmanalysis as a new science, an alternativeway of conceptualizing our dynamic everyday (life, time and space). According to Lefebvre, the skilled andsensitive rhythmanalyst “uses his body as a metronome” when he “listens to the world”, “calling on all hissenses”, “recognizing the representations by their curves, phases, periods and recurrences”, pursuing his“interdisciplinary approach to give an account of the relation between past and present: their rhythms”, etc.(Lefebvre [1981: chapter 2] in which he presents “a previsionary portrait of the Rhythmanalyst”). Lefebvredeclares that the rhythmanalyst will have some points in common with the psychoanalyst, though emphasizingthat there are differences, as the rhythmanalyst will be attentive not only to the words and pieces ofinformation (confessions and confidences) of a client or partner, but listen attentively to “…the world: noices,rumors and silences”.It is both easy and tempting to make fun of the very ambitious descriptions of the rhythmanalytic project, therhythmanalytic mode of analysis and the rhythmanalyst portrayed as some kind of hyper-sensitive and intuitiverenaissance universal genius (Lefebvre’s pompous and bombastic formulations, unfortunately, even moreencourages an ironic and distanced attitude towards his message and his incompleted last project). Apart fromthis (which concerns form rather than content), I find the rhythmanalysis very useful and inspiring.70


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 1Lefebvre’s own essayistic demonstrations of a concrete rhythmanalysiscommunicates as I see it in a far better way the synthesizing outcomes ofsuch an analytic approach, though it less informative on how one goes about:In the “seen from the window”-example, 142 Lefebvre’s incomplete sentences,the rhythmic shifts between series of very short and passages of longer andmore complex sentences, represents rhythmanalysis as an image of the hereand-nowlistening to the sounds of a complex of activities and the impulsive,associative distractions of an old but playful man on his balcony. It seems soeasy. As if almost anyone could go out and “map” the complex and dynamicrhythms of the city – just by listening carefully enough from any balcony orany other urban space. But the light-hearted easiness of his essayisticpresentation is probably not at all as casual and arbitrary as it may seem:neither the choice of the balcony as a setting – facing the corner of RueRambuteau 143 and Rue Beaubourg, one block away from the roman cardo, inthe heart of modern Paris – nor the choice of ears listening to the sounds ofthe city: This is written at the end of Lefebvre’s life, at the age of almost 90,after a life-long engagement in – among other things – urban studies andParisian urban development: His very selective uses of knowledge of hiddenstructures, of historical processes and dialectical relations are elegantlycamouflaged as side-comments and flows of associations structured by theimmediate perceptions of sounds. 144The crucial point then, of course, are which aspects one selects and include insuch an analysis: Which aspects of the socio-spatial situations seem to berelated to what kinds of aspects of what kinds of observable “rhythms” insocio-spatial practices? Lefebvre provides a theoretical approach to discusshow rhythmic patterns in practices are related to issues of stability andchange in society as a whole. The way I read him, he approaches the urbanlandscape from a macro-perspective in which patterns of differences areunderstood as a dynamic and differentiated structure of rhythms ofencounters – or a structure of effects:142 Lefebvre 1981: 41-53/1996:219-227143 “From a window open to R.street facing the famous P.centre, one does not have to lean over much to seeinto the distance. To the right, the palace-centre P., the Forum, right up to the Bank of France. To the left, up tothe National Archives. Perpendicular to this direction, the Hôtel de Ville and on the other side, the Arts etMétiers. All of Paris, ancient and modern, traditional and creative, active and idle.” (Lefebvre in Kofman andLebas 1996: p.220).144 The French author Georges Perec had earlier been involved with urban studies, as a student researchassistant for Lefebvre. In 1974 and 1975 Perec presented two important essays on urban analysis, based onpatterns in observable phenomena – activities and urban spaces – that can be related to Lefebvre’s later“Rhythmanalysis”. The first is a discussion of kinds of spaces, and ways of seeing spaces, at different levels,from different perspectives: Georges Perec 1974: Espèces d’espaces, Paris, Editions Galilée. The second is astudy of current activities, situations and people at place Saint-Sulpice (Paris, 6 th arrondisement): GeorgesPerec 1975: tentative d’épuisement d’un lieu parisien, Paris, Christian Bourgois editeur. Both these studies canbe seen as explorations of the perceived space, practiced space – as textual representations of what Lefebvredescribes as “spaces of representations” – to be distinguished from the imbedded agency of architects’ andplanners’ conceptions of space: “representations of space”.71


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 1On one hand the total repertoire of spatial practices of a society “secretesthat society’s space; it propounds and presupposes it, in a dialecticalinteraction; it produces it slowly and surely as it masters and appropriatesit.” 145 The dialectically related rhythmic patterns of differences in sociospatialpracticed situations are produced by the individual and collectiveeveryday life of the inhabitants of the society, all their activities and projects.On the other hand differences in exposure to such rhythms of practicesalso affects the individual “spaces of representations” or the mental space ofits inhabitants: In Urban Revolution Lefebvre describe the dislocated urbaninhabitants of modern urban planning as alienated by being secluded from thecollective rhythms of all parts of urban productive, cultural and recreationalpractices. Or in other words: What he here describes is a loss of potential foremancipation and self-realization through exposure to a more limited rangeof “rhythms of practices” and encounter situations in the everyday life.Bourdieu and issues of architectureIn some of his earlier studies the French sociologist Bourdieu dealt with therelation between the spatial organization of physical environments and thesocio-cultural structure of a society. The perspective on physicalenvironments is though completely absent in his later and more complexstudies of societal structures in processes of transformation, like for instancein the book Distinction. 146I’ve not come over any explicit explanation for why Bourdieu abandonedhis earlier interest in the spatial organization of the physical environment(conceived as tools for certain ways of life). My guess is however that asimilar approach would not have worked if applied to the complex structuresof modern social spaces: A strict structuralist ethnological approach to therelation between the structure of society and the physical environment’sspatial configuration – seen as a stable and determinate one to one relation –is better fit to investigate the relatively stable socio-spatial structures oftradition-oriented pre-modern societies, than to grasp the complex dynamicsof modern societies in terms of growth, progress, individual freedom ofchoice, mobility and changes in the future.145 Lefebvre 1991: p. 38.146 Pierre Bourdieu,1979: Distinction. Critique sociale du jugement, Editions de Minuit. English translation1984: Distinction. A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste. Cambridge MA, Harvard University Press.72


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 1In the article “La maison ou le monde renversé”, 147 Bourdieu presents adetailed study of the organization of the interior of a Kabylian house. Thehouse is seen as an upside-down or an inside-out reflection of theorganization of the more public exterior. Bourdieu endeavours to demonstratethat the relation between the spatial organization of the interior (the privateinterior conceived as the women’s world of reproduction) and the exterior(the exterior conceived as the men’s social and public world) reflects therelation between men and women in this particular patriarchal society. Theplacements of tools and things in interior space, and the zoning andthresholds, are related to rules, symbols, power-relations, rituals and sayings– and to their counterparts in male exterior space. Bourdieu describes thehouse as a micro-cosmos or a small model of society. He seeks todemonstrate that there are four tangible issues that make the house a model ofsociety:1) the spatial configuration of the house set in the environment,2) the things that belong to the inside of the house,3) how things are ordered in relation to each other, and4) the uses of space and things.It seems quite obvious that the relation between the Kabylian society and itsenvironmental toolkit is not to be studied as a dynamic process or a structurein transformation. In the analysis of the Kabylian house, there is no room forindividual practice and agency. The only practices that exist are rituals andactions that can be related to fixed patterns in the structure of the Kabyliansociety. The relatively stable structures of society do not leave anytransforming power to the individual actors: the members of the societiesknow the rules of the game of their society, and even though they can play itdifferently, their practices have no power to exceed or transform the rules ofthe game.In Bourdieu’s analysis of the morphological system of the Kabyliansettlement, the meaning of all described socio-spatial elements of themorphological system are defined by their relations with other socio-spatialelements of the system. Each element in Bourdieu’s Kabylian examplerepresents a coherence between architectural form, with reference both tohow it looks, how it is made (even by whom it is made), and to social form,and with reference to conventions for use, symbolic meaning, rituals, myths147 Bourdieu’s study of the Kabylian house/settlement is presented in the second chapter of part one ofEsquisse d’une théorie de la pratique (1972). The first chapters of part one (the ethnological studies of theKabylians) is not part of the English edition of the book: Outline of a theory of Practice (1979). The article(“La maison ou le monde renversé”, ch.2 in Bourdieu: Esquisse d’une théorie de la pratique, Editions duSeuil, 2000, pp. 61-82) was first published as part of a homage to Claude Levi-Strauss’ 60 th birthday in 1968.(There is an English translation of the article: “The Berber House or the World Reversed” in Mary Douglas(ed.) 1971, Rules and meanings, Harmondsworth: Penguin, pp. 98-110). Bourdieu later described this study ashis “last work as a happy structuralist” (Bourdieu: Le sens pratique, Editions de Minuit, 1980, p.22).73


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 1and sayings. 148 At the same time both the internal organization of the houseand the external organization of the settlement refers to a number ofinternally related oppositions: fire : water; boiled : raw; up : down; light :shade; day : night; male: female; external : internal; fertilizing : fertile;culture : nature; etc. 149 In the end of his analysis, Bourdieu concludes byemphasizing the inseparable relations between the symmetrical and inversespaces for men and women in what is described as a particular hierarchicalsystem: 150 The house is defined as a whole female world inside a patriarchalworld, mirroring the world outside. Furthermore, neither of these spacescould have been replaced or changed without changing the whole system.The demonstration of perfect coherence between architectural and socialforms in Bourdieu’s Kabylian study makes the example even moreillustrative of the issue of how function and meaning of elements of amorphological system dialectically are defined in relation to each other byforming a system of association (ref. “symmetrical”) and contrast (ref.“inverse”). 151Bourdieu’s study of the Kabylian society was not, as many studies of‘primitive’ and ‘exotic’ societies, in a similar manner a study ofindividualism, individual identity-production, mobility, change anddevelopment. 152 In Bourdieu’s Kabylian study the society and itsenvironmental system is presented as one singular morphological system: asystem of social forms (a social morphology) belonging to a system ofphysical forms (a spatial morphology). In contrast, modern societies (andurban situations) are characterized by far more complex morphologies, bothsocially and physically.148 In strict structuralistic studies of societies as socio-material-symbolic-cultural systems there is usuallydescribed a perfect fit between the system of architectural spaces/forms and the system of social spaces/forms,due to the reason that architectural forms also are seen as products of relatively stable conventions of sociomaterialproduction of environmental tool-kits and therefore, like all other conventions, parts of the samesymbolic system.149 Clarification of such dialectical relations seems to have been an important aim of Bourdieu’s study: Asdiscussed in a footnote (Bourdieu 2000: third footnote p.63/193), Bourdieu claims that all previousdescriptions of the Kabylian/Berber house – even the most precise and stringent, or those observing theinternal spatial order (he references a long list of studies) – despite their outmost consideration, all displaysystematic lacks, due to the fact that they do not endeavor to study artifacts and practices as part of a symbolicsystem, i.e. in their relations to other elements of the system.150 Ibid pp80-82151 The existence of such a total socio-architectural coherence is rare though. And even in Bourdieu’s study, Isee examples of selectiveness and simplifications, particularly in his descriptions of the “whole universe” and“the world outside”: At the time of his study Algeria had been a French colony for a century, and an importantpart of the general French colonial strategy had been to leave existing settlements alone and establish parallelstructures for a separate colonial society. Bourdieu’s study then was carried out at a moment where Algeriawas fighting for independence, and the coming Arab republic was expected to modernize the whole society,and in particular “primitive” Berber settlements. Bourdieu empirical study of the Kabylian society was carriedout when he was in French military service in Algeria in the last years of the war, before the independence in1962.152 Neither was the purpose of Bourdieu’s ethnological studies in Algeria to study the development ortransformation of a society. His aim was probably rather to document a way of life, and a societal structure,before it was expected to dissolve or transform.74


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 1Later on Bourdieu both theoretically and empirically refined his analysis ontransformations of structures of social space, pulling it away from rigidstructuralism (as in the Kabylian house-study). The consequence was thoughthat all issues regarding architectural organization of private and collectivephysical space also were left out.Social space and its transformation – according to BourdieuIn the second part of Esquisse d’une théorie de la pratique (1972), Bourdieudescribes individual practice as a product of a dialectic relation between asituation and habitus. As a more permanent system of dispositions,integrating all former individual experiences, the habitus at any momentworks like a template of experiences, judgments and actions (in many waysparallel to Lefebvre’s “spaces of representations”). Both the perception of asituation and the choice of action in a situation, are products of habitus. Butpractices are not produced by habitus alone. Practices, in their punctualimmediateness, are at the same time necessitated by (but also in some waysindependent of) the actual situation.Bourdieu’s concept habitus bridges the antagonism between structure andpractice; between action as a result of rituals, structural pressures and norms,and expression of free individual choice and conscious strategies to obtaingoals. With the concept of habitus Bourdieu demonstrates that man throughsocialization become disposed for certain patterns of action. These patternsare not that definitely structured that they can be called ritual action, 153neither are they so loose that our actions can be characterized as free andtargeted action based on unconditional free choice and individualcalculations. 154 Facing an identical situation, not all human beings wouldwant the same. The multiplicity of man’s material and cultural desires are notarbitrary, but must be related to how material and cultural background(capital) enables individuals to manoeuvre within a social landscape.Bourdieu argues that we, as basically social beings, in choices related tomaterial and cultural consumption (choices where we apparently arerelatively free to choose), orient ourselves (and our choices) in relation to animage of social space. Through our choices (or practices), we orient ourselvestowards groups we want to be associated with, at the same time as wedistinguish ourselves from ‘the others’ – those we (like to) consider ourselvesdifferent from.153 objectivism ref – seeing action as a mechanistic function of the structure – without agency, as instructuralist anthropological studies (and also Bourdieu’s Kabylian study).154 subjectivism ref - as in rational choice theory etc.75


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 1Bourdieu describes habitus both as generative principles behind classifiablepractices and as a system of classification. The orthogonal diagram of socialspace that was presented in Bourdieu’s Distinction, showing the differentsocial classes’ distinguishable practices in France in the 70s, is an abstractrepresentation of social space (at a certain place and at a certain time), inmany ways similar to a map made to represent physical space. The diagramconsists of three superimposed layers (in the first editions of the book thediagram actually consisted of three transparent sheets): 155 The first representsthe space of social conditions (or the distribution of material and culturalcapital). The second represents the space of lifestyles (or distribution ofpractices). Finally, in between these two layers (which in themselves aresimpler diagrams), a third layer was inserted, representing the theoreticalspace of habitus (by its ideals such as for instance “aristocratic asceticism”for teachers). As a system of classification, the distinction between differenttypical groups of practices then can be said to work at two different levels:1) On an analytical level, the systematics in opus operatum (the productwhich here is the differentiated practices) are identified and explained as theproduct of modus operandi (the general, inherent orderliness reflecting thesystem of production behind the practices). Bourdieu intended not only toproduce a map of the former, but to understand the latter; the diagrammaticillustration of the former was a step in his theorizing on the latter.2) The system of classification also works on a practical level, affecting theindividual practices constituting the system. In the individual production ofself or identity (through practices), the practices of individual social beings,according to Bourdieu, refer to individual perceptions (related to e.g. socialconstructions) of the same kind of classification systems. What we actuallydo in situations when we, pragmatically seen, can choose freely (in terms offor instance recreation activities, buying things, eating and drinking), isrelated to judgments of taste. These again are, according to Bourdieu, relatedto considerations of with whom (which group values) we identify, and fromwhom (which group values) we distinguish ourselves.Is it possible to discern groups of individuals by their habitus?The illustrative clarity of Bourdieu’s diagrams of social space, space oflifestyles and the distribution of differentiated habitus ‘negotiating’ betweenthe two, is in danger of blurring the complexity of his theoretical model,giving the shallow reader simplified ideas. In my investigation of urbantransformation, constituted by differentiated practices and related to changing155 Pierre Bourdieu 1979: La Distinction, Minuit, Paris: pp.140-141.76


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 1roles and functions of places, it would of course have been nice to be able toidentify a set of typical and predominant habituses that could be said togenerate typical groups of practices related to different socio-spatialsituations. If this was the case, if the groups of practices producing changescould have been explained as pure functions of the practitioners’ position insocial space, as defined by differences in material and cultural capital, onewould easily have come close to a total overview of “the practice-andhabitus-situation”if one only could find unambiguous indicators formeasuring the individual capital situation.When Bourdieu himself explicitly clarified why such tempting ideasshould be strangled at birth, he also gave an explanation for whytransformation of social space must be seen as dialectics between systems ofdifferences. Bourdieu was very clear in his cautions against using the diagramtoo literally, and in explaining limits of his perspective. 156But even if one should not use Bourdieu’s perspective to determine a fixedrelation between the distribution of practices (and symbolic values related tothem) and the distribution of (cultural and material) capital among differentsocial groups, his theoretical perspective can be used to study relationsbetween practices (and symbolic values related to them) and perceptions ofmeans to choose (and the symbolic values of different choices). AlthoughBourdieu’s work on practices gives far more attention to habitus than tosituations, and although his concept of social space is far more concernedwith social than with spatial issues (spatial configuration etc.), his perspectiveon distinguishing social practices seems applicable to analyses of many formsof urban socio-spatial practices. If we make use of Bourdieu’s definition of inanalysis of urban practices, urban individual practices can be seen as beingproduced by dialectics between systems of dispositions (habitus) and sociospatialsituations (in the city). The situations, in which the individualpractices are produced, are themselves products of both spatial configurationsand social practices. In this way, the quality of a specific place and associatedpractices can be distinguished from other places and the practices that arefound there.156 The usefulness of the diagram is to be: “(…) able to ‘present simultaneous complications in severaldimensions’ as a means of grasping the correspondence between the structure of social space – whose twofundamental dimensions correspond to the volume and composition of the capital of the groups distributedwithin it – and the structure of the space of the symbolic properties attached to those groups.” Bourdieu clearlyforesaw that his diagram could be abused: “But this diagram does not aim to be the crystal ball in which thealchemists claimed to see at a glance everything happening in the world; and like mathematicians who alsotreat what they call ‘imaginery’ as a necessary evil, I am tempted to withdraw it in the very act of presenting it.For there is reason to fear that it will encourage readings which will reduce the homologies between systems ofdifferences to direct, mechanical relationships between groups and properties; or that it will encourage theform of voyeurism which is inherent in the objectivist intention, putting the sociologist in the role of the lamedevil who takes off the roofs and reveals the secrets of domestic life to his fascinated readers.” Both quotesfrom Bourdieu 1984: p. 12677


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 1Lefebvre and Bourdieu combinedOn an empirical or micro-social level Lefebvre’s macro-perspective is lesshelpful: Except for the collective, general “need” for self-realization throughaccess to a wide range of liberating, challenging and educating encounterswith differences, Lefebvre’s individuals do for instance not seem to have anydesires for individual or group-related identity-production in situations wherethey have a choice. Their practices form differentiated collective rhythms likethe grains in Deleuze and Guattaris’s strategic game Go. Through their livedlife in the urban landscape they are also exposed to experiences that formtheir social knowledge and expectations, but in contrast to Bourdieu’sperspective on individuals producing social space, Lefebvre’s urbanlandscape practitioners do not manoeuvre in social space: Lefebvre’sindividual’s social practices do not produce homologies or distinctions as wecan find in Bourdieu’s model of social space production. 157 While Lefebvre’sindividuals both produce differences and are exposed to differences that haveeffects for their experiences and immediate and future practices, they do notmake distinctions. Bourdieu’s individuals, on the other hand, can observedifferences that may represent symbolic value, and this may affect thechoices they make, and thereby the patterns of practices they are a productivepart of. On the other hand, Bourdieu is not very occupied with the repertoiresof encounter situations that his individuals are exposed to just by living at aparticular place in the differentiated urban landscape, nor of how this mayaffect both habitus or their experiences, expectations and individualdispositions.By this, I think Bourdieu and Lefebvre provide complementaryperspectives that can be used to examine different aspects of the kind ofsocio-spatial interacting dialectics I will be studying.SUMMARIZING REMARKSI have in the previous pages discussed what I see as similarities orcorrespondences between Lefebvre’s and Rossi’s approaches to the city. Theresemblances between their approaches do not represent a perfect fit, but thesimilarities are, as I see it, related exactly to those aspects that I find mostquestionable in Østerberg’s approach. Both Lefebvre’s social space,described as a structure of encounters and encounter situations, and Rossi’surban architecture, described as a structure of built form accommodated forsocial life, constitute dialectic structures of patterns of differences: The“glue” in each and both of these approaches are understood as patterns ofdialectical units dialectically related to socio-spatial practices.157 Bourdieu, Pierre 1979: Distinction. Critique sociale du jugement, Editions de Minuit. English translation1984: Distinction. A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste. Cambridge MA, Harvard University Press.78


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 1Earlier in this chapter I have discussed how urban transformation seen asdialectics between different systems of spatialisation (smooth – striated,strategies – tactics) give a theoretical framework for understanding how theproduction of differentiated social space and architectural space areinterrelated, but also related to continuity and change in society (and itslandscape) as a whole.I have also discussed how such a dialectical approach to urbantransformation leads to a conception of the urban landscape as a structure of(socio-material) morphological systems and interrelations of architectural andsocio-spatial kinds. Furthermore I’ve discussed that transformation within anurban structure can be seen as a product of (dynamics and tensions between)such differences as well as related to exogenous factors (like global economicand technological development). I’ve also introduced Lefebvre’s triad anddiscussed some challenges related to understanding dialectics. Lefebvre’sdiscussion of spatial 158 dialectics demonstrates that in relation to urbantransformation one cannot grasp dialectics by a singular empiric-analyticmodel (without reducing them into a kind of “representations of space” – anabstraction in which at least one ‘side’ of the dialectic is considered frozen).If we however conceptualize urban transformation as interaction betweendifferent dialectical processes of space-production, one way of conducting anempirical study of architectural affect in processes of social space productionis to take different part-studies as a point of departure. The part-studies thencan function as ‘peepholes’ for examining socio-spatial dialectics fromdifferent perspectives, thereby enabling comparisons between (described andanalyzed) patterns in socio-spatial dispositions with (described and analyzed)differences in socio-spatial situations. The outcome of such a comparativestudy will neither be to identify aspects of architecture that always will affectthe social production of space, nor to make a complete outline of architecturalaffects in the actual case-study area. The main aim of the analyses is to gainknowledge of how aspects of architectural differences, identified througharchitectural analysis, may affect differences in the production of repertoiresof social space.I have also discussed what I see as complementary elements in Lefebvre’sand Bourdieu’s perspectives on production of social space, and how it maybe possible, although in different ways, to use them in a way that opens upfor integrating analysis of architectural differences. To enable empiricalstudies of how aggregates of individual architects’ spatial practices affect the158 The term ‘spatial’ can be understood in two different ways; firstly in relation to the fact that Lefebvre seesthe dialectic as three-dimensional (not as a play between two, but between three part-dialectics, i.e. as a‘trialectic’ (as illustrated by his triad), and secondarily in relation to space production. In my forthcomingdiscussion of how elements of Lefebvre’s rhythmanalysis will be used in the case study, I will return to thediscussion of Lefebvre’s suggestions for triadic analysis.79


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 1situations in which aggregates of social individuals’ are produced, I need todiscern, describe and analyze architectural differences that are operative inthe same situations. But to be able to target and focus such an analysis ofarchitectural differences, I first need to clarify how architectural differencesare involved in processes in which differentiated patterns of social practicesare developed: The overall intention will be to analyse in which waysarchitecture makes a difference in the continuously ongoing process of socialspace production.80


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 12. An approach to architecturaldifferences in social space productionINTRODUCTIONI will now elaborate further on two complementary theoretical perspectiveson the production of social space that were introduced in chapter 1. Both ofthem deal with socio-material as well as socio-spatial issues. 159 My readingand discussion of selected texts by Bourdieu and Lefebvre will be used toponder how aspects of architectural differences can be related todifferentiation in social practices (production of social space).Both Henri Lefebvre and Pierre Bourdieu have, although in quite differentways, as their overall project to make a general theory that explains howsocial space – regarded as patterns in individual practices – is produced andtransformed through dialectics between mental perceptions of social spaceand socio-material issues. Most of their theorization was based on empiricalresearch in the 1950s, 60s and 70s. The major issue in sociological researchwas to a large extent the constraints and possibilities that the working classhad. As such, their main research is from a period before thedeindustrialization of European cities set in, before the citiesprogrammatically changed focus from industrial production to culture andrecreation, and before socio-cultural urban transformation related to issuessuch as gentrification and immigration became central research issues. Buteven though their general theories on socio-material dialectics were based onsocial conditions that seem quite different from today, there are someresemblances: There are fairly obvious similarities between processes relatedto transformation of lifestyles spaces, as discussed for instance in Bourdieu’sDistinction, and contemporary processes of social and cultural distinction thatare embedded into urban transformation processes as for instancegentrification. There also seem to be strong similarities between Lefebvre’sdiscussions of the transforming potential related to urban encounters of159 Cf. Pierre Bourdieu, especially his book Distinction and other theoretical writings on practice, and HenriLefebvre’s theoretical writings on social space and urban space.81


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 1differences – cf. his discussions of rhythms – and the celebration of urbanencounters and the presence of exotic foreigners as a ‘topic’ in contemporaryprocesses of socio-cultural urban neighbourhood transformation related toimmigration and gentrification.More important here, though, is in what way their theoretical approaches,their analytic concepts and the interpretative strategies they suggest, can bemade operative for empirical analyses by functioning:- as basis for programming the architectural analysis, by discussion ofwhich aspects of what kinds of interplay the architectural analysisshall be designed to grasp,- as a programmatic base for the analysis of socio-spatial practices, bydiscussions of what kinds of socio-architectural interrelations thisanalysis shall be designed to, and- as a analytic base for interpretations of interrelatedness within thesocio-architectural patterns of various kinds that I will investigate inthe empirical analysis.In Bourdieu’s Distinction, the individual (or more collective) practices whichconstitute and transform social space (the space of lifestyles) is restricted to(material and cultural) consumption. Neither urban practices, distinguishingpractices in urban space, consumption related to urban space or urbanlifestyles, the role of place identity in individual identity construction, nor thetopic of commoditization of urban space are issues in Bourdieu’s quiteexhaustive study of material and cultural consumption. My effort is toexplore possibilities and limitations related to integrating Bourdieu’s “spaceof lifestyles”-perspective into my own research design.Contrary to Bourdieu’s earlier structuralist studies – in which the materialworld was conceptualized as a socio-material structure – Bourdieu, in hislater works (for instance La Distinction, 1979) conceptualize the materialworld as an ensemble of objects. Bourdieu describes how the function,meaning and use-value of objects are produced through social practices andchoices related to consumption. Related to such a perspective: What are themost important similarities and differences in comparing the elements of anurban landscape and other kinds of objects related to consumption and tastein the perspective of producing (functional and symbolic) use-value? Andwhich aspects of architecture and spatial practice can be related to such aperspective?As discussed by Bourdieu, social space and lifestyle space representstructures of homologies and distinctions. Structures in transformation,according to intrinsic laws of transformation – which all circumscribe thedialectics of habitus. According to Lefebvre, social space is a structure of82


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 1encounters in social practices set in physical environments: A structure (bothmental and tangible) in transformation, according to intrinsic laws oftransformation – which all circumscribe the dialectics of practice, encountersand differences. Unlike Bourdieu, Lefebvre is actually writing about the city,about specific qualities of urban space and urban life, and also about sociospatialdialectics in the production (or transformation) of social space. InLefebvre’s Production of Space, in his critique of modern urban planning, 160in his critique of everyday life, 161 and in his Eléments de rythmanalyse, socialspace is described as a product of encounters of differences in practices set inphysical environments containing morphological 162 differences. Thesedimensions make Lefebvre’s theory of social space more abstract, complexand complicated than Bourdieu’s. But as such Lefebvre also directs ourattention towards important aspects of potential architectural affect inprocesses of socio-cultural urban transformation. For my own case studywhich has been related to a larger research project on immigration andgentrification in eastern Oslo, this is of great interest: The social seen as adifferentiated landscape of more or less public spheres, consisting of socialspaces with different characteristics wherein experiences with the other andencounters between strangers of different kinds take different forms. Thesesocial landscapes are formed in physical environments. The more specificresearch question is though: in what way do differences in the architecturalenvironment make a difference in relation to how encounters go about, socialspaces ‘perform’ and social spaces are experienced? And how can suchdifferences be identified and analyzed?What puzzles me in relation to the radical shift in Bourdieu’s body of work(cf. last part of chapter 1) is the following: Was it really necessary to throwaway the whole idea of architectural systems understood as socio-materialenvironmental structure of spatio-symbolic elements? Shouldn’t it bepossible to combine Bourdieu’s later approach for examining structures ofsocial space that are produced by individual practices with a more dynamicapproach towards analyzing the complex morphology of contemporary (andcontinually transforming) urban environments?160 Including The right to the city (Le droit à la ville, 1968), The urban revolution (La revolution urbaine,1970) and Production of Space (La production de l’espace, 1974), but also articles like “L’urbanismeaujourd’hui, mythes et réalités”, in Les Cahiers du Centre d’études de socialistes 72-73, 1967, pp. 5ff, and“Propositions pour un nouvel urbanisme”, in Architecture d’ajourd’hui 132 (June/July) 1967, pp. 14-16.161 Particularily the third tome of Critique de la vie quotidienne (1981) and Vie quotidienne dans le mondemoderne (1968).162 Lefebvre’s understanding of morphology is wider and more social than the definition of morphology withinthe research field of “Urban morphology”: Morphology implies the study of forms, or systems of forms – bothsocial and architectural forms.83


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 1To relate urban practices to patterns of material and culturalconsumptionIn a footnote to the introduction to chapter 2 in Distinction – “The SocialSpace and Its Transformations” – Bourdieu presents his study as total andexhaustive, dealing with “the whole range of” material and culturalconsumption:The extension of the survey to the whole range of material andcultural practices, legitimate or not, which can give rise tojudgments of taste – cooking and art, clothing and music,cinema and decoration – was intended to provide the means ofexamining the relationship between the dispositions generallyregarded as aesthetic and the dispositions which constitute thehabitus. 163The study is in many ways exhaustive, but, as I see it, not exhaustive enoughto include a thorough analysis of social practices in urban public space.Though symbolic consumption of objects, food, literature, music and otherforms of art is included, symbolic consumption of urban spaces, as one cansee in a broad range of urban socio-spatial practices and individual narrativesrelated to consumption of place identity, is not.In processes of gentrification, as most classical descriptions ofgentrification show, 164 the physical and social urban environment becomeobjects of consumption, and urban practices and domestic choices becomeindicators of life style. Even though resemblances can be found, there aresome important differences between urban areas and other issues ofconsumption: Unlike different types of music and entertainment that go outof fashion, clothing styles that come and go, different types of food and othermass produced articles that (temporarily or not) go out of production, ordesign objects that change symbolic value, urban areas are not that easily163 Bourdieu 1984, footnote 1 to page 99.164 The classic description of gentrification describes a process of socio-demographic, socio-economic andsocio-cultural transformation in three phases where an urban area changes role, function and image in relationto other urban areas. These changes again are related to demographic changes, and changes in urban practicesand user groups: In the first phase the centrality of a run down working class neighborhoods attracts a newgeneration of inhabitants and city-users that possess more cultural capital, but not necessarily more materialcapital, than former inhabitants did (students, artists). In the second phase the change of image that wasproduced in the first phase, attracts a next generation of inhabitants who possess more material than culturalcapital (“young aspiring professionals”, middle class groups, academics etc). In the third and last phase thegentrification processes in the former phase is consolidated. Often fringe areas of the neighbourhood(containing for instance former industrial sites) are made attractive for larger urban development projectsinitiated by private investors and entrepreneurs. When this happens though, most of both the original workingclass inhabitants, and also the first generation of new inhabitants, have to a large extent been replaced by newmiddle class inhabitants. At this point the gentrifying avant-garde of the first phase have moved on to new andexotic run down areas, which are about to go through the same phases. The physical transformation in the thirdphase is usually described as a consequence of the preceding two phases in which the image of the area hasbeen transformed, likewise the users and the patterns of use of the area. Se for instance Loretta Lees 2000: “Areappraisal of gentrification. Towards a ‘geography of gentrification’.” In Progress in Human Geography, No.24, 3, pp. 389-408.84


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 1abandoned: in spite of changes in the symbolic economy of the city, theysustain as living areas for people and somebody’s part of the city. Whensomebody moves out of an area, someone else (almost always) moves in. Thesame goes for the uses of, and the function and role of urban areas: Eventhough shifting attractiveness drives forces of investment and disinvestment,the physical environments of urban areas are rarely totally reconfigured,neither are they totally abandoned. Therefore, Bourdieu’s perspective must besupplemented with perspectives from Lefebvre’s and Rossi’s.The material (object) and its use valueBourdieu describes the status of objects which are given function andmeaning through practice, how objects are ascribed value through use (i.e.use value), and how the quality of objects are embedded in the consumers’perceptions and lived experience. If we apply this perspective on material(architectural) urban environments, Bourdieu’s argument can be stretched tosay something about the relation between architecture and the transformationof social space. Urban practices are, in the same way as consumption ofgoods, embedded into processes of appropriation. And in the same way as theconsumers help to produce the product they consume, 165 users of urban spacehelp to produce the places they consume through their dispositions acquiredover time.Bourdieu discusses the difference between the limited conception of theuse value of material products among professional producers (and marketers)of objects, and the perception of the objects’ useful properties and use valuesthat are created by the consumers or users. Although both De Certeau andLefebvre distinguish between (urban) spaces and other products, both ofthem also discuss the gap that exists between the professional, analyticconception of how “things are supposed to work” and the individual, livedperception of possibilities and qualities, function, use-value and meaningproduced through dispositions and practices. 166 But if we sustain theperspective on urban, architectural space as an object of consumption (orrather as a structure of objects of consumption), Bourdieu’s critique anddiscussion gives us further guidelines for what a science of the use value of165 “[C]onsumption of goods no doubt always presupposes a labor of appropriation, to different degreesdepending on the goods and the consumers; or, more precisely, that the consumers help to produce the producthe consumes, by a labour of identification and decoding which, in the case of work of art, may constitute thewhole of the consumption and gratification, and which requires time and dispositions acquired over time.”(Bourdieu 1984: p 100)166 I’ve discussed this more thoroughly in relation to material, urban environments in chapter 1. Both DeCerteau and Lefebvre – as also Bourdieu – argue that the full and whole knowledge of space – or objects –depends on an understanding of how these two different perspectives work together, i.e. of how aspects of theprofessional conception of what is produced, in different – and certainly not always in expected ways – givesome premises for what is produced through individual practices in real and lived life.85


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 1from and towards groups they want to be identified with. Their consumerpractices are, by Bourdieu, described as an exchange where leisure time andmoney spent in the different practice-patterns are transformed into symboliccapital in a structure of symbolic value systems.To apply such a perspective on the analysis of the interviews with inhabitantsand users of three different study areas in Oslo, presupposes a focus on howurban socio-spatial practices are ascribed symbolic value, and howpreferences in socio-spatial practices can help to discover distinctions andhomologies between different groups of urban landscape-practitioners. Thismeans to investigate how the informants’ narratives of their urban practicescan be read as necessary parts of individual identity-production, and howtheir stories about where they do what and with whom include descriptions ofparts of the socio-spatial landscape from which they distinguish themselves,and other parts towards which they include themselves.In this perspective, the distinguishing use-value of the material environmentis related to aspects of differences in the material environment that are usedin production of symbolic value. The recognition of symbolic values relatedto geographical, architectural or morphological places or areas in the city canthen be identified as qualitative aspects of the socio-material environmentwhich influence the production of social space (through patterns of practices)both aesthetically, functionally and symbolically.For my analysis of architectural differences it is therefore necessary to findan analytical method for identification of aspects of architectural differencesthat may be ascribed meaning that is flexible to both differences ininterpretations of meaning and different individual projects of identityproduction.Summing up: In the following analysis of individual narratives, i.e. of sociospatialdialectics in socio-cultural urban transformation (chapter 6), I willmake use of central constituents in Bourdieu’s approach. Central issues willbe: How qualitative elements of the urban environment are ascribedsymbolic values by the informants’ urban practices andconsumption of urban space. How individual narratives of urban life contain homologies anddistinctions related to their appreciation of such qualities.In other words, I will use the inspiration from Bourdieu to look forsimilarities and differences in the informants’ description of respectively87


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 1esthetical, functional and symbolic qualities in the areas they live (or use),and, furthermore, how such descriptions of environmental (spatial and social)qualities of the neighbourhood in which they live can be related todescriptions of various positions in a space of lifestyles.THE RELEVANCE OF LEFEBVRE’S PERSPECTIVEThe social space, and the space of lifestyles, as discussed by Bourdieu, is astructure of homologies and distinctions: A structure in transformation,according to its intrinsic laws of transformation – which all circumscribe thedialectics of habitus. Social space, as discussed by Lefebvre, is a structure ofencounters of differences through social practice in physical environments: A(both mental and tangible) structure in transformation, according to intrinsiclaws of transformation – which all circumscribe the dialectics of practice andencounters of differences. The focus in Lefebvre’s approach to the(continuous) production of social space (through individual social practices)differs at important points from the focus in Bourdieu’s perspective on theproduction of social space.Urban social space: not only homologies and distinctions, but encountersof differencesWhile Bourdieu’s social space is produced from individual projects reachingout, manoeuvring, in shared space, Lefebvre’s social space is produced by themeeting of differences in public space (reaching ‘towards’ the individual).Lefebvre’s social space contains a multiplicity of practices, simultaneity andencounters merging together in the collective, but sometimes alsoimpersonal, urban space. 168 From his earliest writings on social space to hislast pieces of work, Lefebvre kept reminding us that social space is not only a168 “Urban society stems from encounters; it must exclude segregation and be distinguished by the fact that itaffords the time and the place for individual and collective meetings, the coming-together of people fromdifferent classes, with different occupations and different patterns of existence. This urban society – which isalready more than a dream – is based not on the abolition of class distinctions, but on the elimination ofantagonisms that find their expression in segregation; it must involve differences and be defined by thesedifferences.” Henri Lefebvre 1971: Everyday Life in the Modern World, London, Penguin Press (Englishtranslation by Rabinovitch, 1968: La vie quotidienne dans le monde moderne, Paris, Editions Gallimard), p.190.Once again I would like to comment upon the English translation of the French theorists that I make use of: Iread the message in the French original text slightly different from the way I read the message in the Englishtranslation. The French text points at transforming potentials and possibilities related to the urban society – itdoes not at all mention dreams – and there is no “it must” in it. This is a general impression of this particulartranslation (of the whole book) that almost consequently makes me read the French original more as ananalysis and the English translation more as an agitating imperative: “La vie urbaine se compose de recontres;elle exclut la segregation et se définit comme temps et lieu de rassemblement entre individus et groupes encoremarqués par la division du travail, du classes, entre modèles (patterns) de vie differentes. La société urbainedésormais possible se base, non sur la disparation des classes, mais sur la fin d’un antagonisme qui se traduitprécisément par la ségrégation. “(La vie quotidienne dans le monde moderne: p348) – Another translation ofthis French quote could have been something like: “The urban life is composed of encounters: it excludessegregation and defines itself as time and place of coming-together of individuals and groups still marked bythe division of work, classes, between different models (patterns) of life. Nevertheless, the urban life enables tobase itself, not on the disappearance of classes, but on the termination of antagonisms expressed throughsegregation.” (my translation).88


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 1mental space, but a space of behaviors, attitudes, conducts, and reactions –and that it is through these practices, not through their representations that thesocial realization of mental space is produced. 169And while Bourdieu’s social space is defined by distinctions andhomologies in a social space produced by consumer practices, Lefebvre’ssocial space is produced by encounters of differences in physical, tangible,more or less public environments, where the ludic can conquer thematerialistic. 170The social meetings, the diversity of encounters – limited bycircumstances and structured by elements of shared understanding among theparticipants – are the material that produces society. Modern urban societiesare characterized by a complex diversity of encounters with foreigners,neighbours, friends and others. Through these encounters social spheres areproduced, and our perception of characteristics related to “us” and “them” arebased on experience or expectations of encounters: of confrontation,interaction and integration. Although much attention is directed towards thedevelopment of new virtual social spheres, provided by recent technologicaldevelopments, physical face-to-face encounters between individuals thatmeet in public, at the same time, still represent an important source of socialexperiences. These encounters take place in physical environments. Physical,tangible environments can be ascribed different contextual qualities –affecting both the repertoires of encounter situations, and the socio-materialtransactions related to such encounters.Rhythmanalysis revisited – a triadic approach to encounters anddifferencesTo Lefebvre, the encounters and the differences, the different encounters andthe encounters of differences, are what characterizes the urban, and whatmakes the city a privileged place to be, and also such an important factor inthe development of society. But Lefebvre’s critique of modern urbanplanning 171 (the professional production of spatial environments related to169 “Still, it is not useless to strongly remind that the social space is not only mental space, but space ofconducts. And that it is through these conducts (practice), not in their re-presentation, that the mental realizesitself socially.” (my translation) Lefebvre 1969: p. XLVIII, French quote: “Il n’est d’ailleurs pas inutile derappeler avec force que l’espace social n’est pas seulement espace mental, mais espace de comportements. Etque c’est dans le comportement (pratique), non dans la re-présentation, que le temps mental se réalisesocialement”170 “The city’s uninhibited self-expression and creativity (morphology, setting, shaped and moulded sites,adequate space and spaces) will restore adaptation so that it prevails over compulsion and sets a limit to makebelieve,restriction and imagination to style and works of art, monuments, festivals, so that play and games willbe given their former significance, a chance to realize their possibilities; urban society involves this tendencytowards the revival of the Festival, and, paradoxically enough, such a revival leads to a revival of experiencevalues, the experience of place and time, giving them priority over exchange value.” Lefebvre 1971: pp. 190-191.171 Including The right to the city (Le droit à la ville, 1968), The urban revolution (La revolution urbaine,1970) and Production of Space (La production de l’espace, 1974), but also articles like “L’urbanisme89


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 1advanced capitalism 172 ) is not an argument for a return to earlier spatialcodes; neither does he claim that the quality of the differences is a staticentity which could be planned. Lefebvre’s critique does not contain anynormative-prescriptive aspects of spatial determinism.The qualities of urban social space are dialectically defined by differences,i.e. not only by the encounters of differences in a particular urban place, butby the urban access to a differentiated repertoire of spaces, relationallydefined by their differences in relation to each other; these again areproduced by interplay between the material (which also include architecturaldifferences) and the social (differences in how spaces are perceived andpracticed).The differences in focus in Bourdieu’s and Lefebvre’s theories on how socialspace is transformed (or produced) by socio-material dialectics identifiedhere are, as I see it, complementary, but not contradictory: The focus or the‘main character’ in Lefebvre’s Production of Space is the encounters ofdifferences (not the formation of group habituses among “like-minded”people as distinguished from “others”). Thus Lefebvre focuses on theimportance of the (sometimes coincident, unexpected and sometimesexpected) encounters between groups and individuals being at the same(physical, architectural) place at the same time – making social space a spaceof differentiated collectivity and simultaneous activities in tangibleenvironments (not a mental space socially realized through consumerpractices). Lefebvre’s description of the individual perception of theseencounters of differences and the individual mental “spaces ofrepresentation” informing the individual spatial practices (which in turn areperceived by others, producing functional and symbolical differentiation ofsocial spaces), is epistemologically closely related to Bourdieu’s habitus. Butin Lefebvre’s conceptual triad the dialectic between “spaces ofrepresentation” (~ habitus) and differentiated practice is only one of the‘dimensions’ in the triad. Another, equally important, dimension in the triadis the dialectic between professional actors (architects, urban planners)mental conception of space (“representations of space”) and their spatialpractice: the production of differentiated architectural urban environments.The third dimension is the dialectic between both of them; the pivot point inaujourd’hui, mythes et réalités”. Les Cahiers du Centre d’études de socialistes 72-73, 1967, pp.5ff, and“Propositions pour un nouvel urbanisme”. Architecture d’ajourd’hui 132 (June/July 1967), pp. 14-16.172 In the third tome of Critique de la vie quotidienne (1981), Lefebvre argues that “the spatialisation ofadvanced capitalism” (the 20 th century zoning, segregation and hierarchisation of spaces for production, spacesfor consumption and spaces for reproduction and recreation) reinforces the alienation caused by thespatialisation of the earlier capitalism (the 19 th century spatial segregation of classes in working classneighborhoods and bourgeoisie neighborhoods). The “how and why the spatialisation (or the results of the laterregimes of urban development) could be blamed”-part of the critique is elaborated and developed as a moregeneral analytic perspective in Lefebvre (1992): Eléments de rythmanalyse. Introduction à la connaissance desrythmes, Paris, Editions Syllepse.90


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 1Lefebvre’s theory of social space (production) is the practice, or theencounter of different practices.Urban transformation expresses the development of society (economicallyculturally, technologically and socialy) in complex physical environments.Urban areas change role and function in different ways: by being rebuilt, bybeing used in new ways by new groups of users, and by that people’s desires,expectations and images of what happens where (in the urban landscape) arechanged through narratives that are communicated either by media orindividuals, but also through people’s different experiences of encounters indifferent socio-spatial situations. While Bourdieu distinguishes homologies ina social space of consumer practices, Lefebvre distinguishes homologies ofencounters in his reading of the rhythms of the city: In his essay on “rhythmanalytic”interpretation of urban life: “Seen from the window”, 173 Lefebvredescribes the different rhythms as differences in the streams of encounters,and as differences in the time-sets of practices: tourists, shoppers,commuters, people passing through, neighbours’ everyday activities,motorized traffic, etc.Spatiality – space-time-practice as rhythmic differences in energy and encountersIn a city people come together in different ways (interaction, confrontation,and just parallel co-use of same space at same time), and in different sociospatialsituations – at different physical places with different spatialconfiguration. Architectural spaces (urban physical form) are designed andconfigured differently in places having or meant to have different functions inthe urban landscape. Different morphological systems (architectural spatialsystems) are, and have been, produced in different urban societies (historicaland geographical variations) in order to serve as environmental tools fordifferent kinds of more or less public or private, culturally differentiatedsocial situations (urban social form, social morphologies). Studies of thesubdivision of our social world and the spaces we inhabit as public andprivate spheres, degrees of exclusiveness and openness, modes of socialencounter and associations with space have been discussed in diverseliterature on how urban architecture and urban design does, could or shouldprovide spaces for differentiated encounters – at different levels. 174Contrary to such studies that present typical, almost universal categories ofelements of socio-spatial situations or urban encounters (although withcultural, historical and geographical variations), Lefebvre presents thecontextual spatial differences (within an urban landscape and also betweendifferent urban landscapes) as rhythmic differences in spatial encounters: The173 Lefebvre 1996: p. 219-227, (1992: 41-53).174 Cf. for instance Madanipour 2003, Gehl 1971, Rapoport 1994, Kostof 1991, Alexander 1977 and 1979, etc.91


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 1rhythm of encounters and energies, or the difference in flows of present andpast practices in different spaces (areas, streets, squares, parks) of the city arerelated to differences in spatial contextuality: the morphology of theneighbourhoods, but also their relation to the dynamics, centralities,monuments and collectivity of the city as a whole.By this, in Lefebvre’s rhythmanalysis, the urban landscape is not onlyconceived as consisting of different (in terms of configuration and practice)more or less public or private (impersonal, collective, shared and individual)spaces, but as a structure of contextual socio-spatial differences. And toLefebvre (as also to Aldo Rossi (1984)) such structures of contextualdifferences in how the relation between the private and public is mediatedrepresents the dynamic potential of urban landscape, culture and society:essential not only in regards of how urban areas develop in relation to eachother, but in regards of how urban structures (landscape and society) developin relation to each other: The rhythms or the complex and dynamic sociospatialcontext is related to both the composition of architectural elements(spatial contextuality) and the past and present practices they accommodatefor (have accommodated). The rhythms of an area represent a structure ofpossibilities and constraints both for architectural and individual socio-spatialprojects.Rhythmic differences in socio-spatial practices can thus be related to bothpatterns in the architectural landscape, as well as to patterns in dispositions inindividual projects that interact in the differentiated architectural landscape:- On the one hand: aspects of the socio-spatial situations may affectthe local composition of practices. We can for instance imagine howfunctionally specialized, homogenous, and spatially segregatedenvironmental systems can be related to a more limited range ofusers and a more narrow repertoire of time-space-energy relationsthan what can be find in functionally mixed, heterogeneous andspatially integrated environmental types (I will return to this in thenext chapter).- On the other hand: individual variations in time-space perspectivesrelated to being in a here-and-now situation reflect different patternsin dispositions, attitudes, experiences, etc. Such differences in“time-space-energy” relations can be seen as patterns in dispositionsthat selectively play upon specific aspects of the socio-spatialsituation involved. They can be seen as aggregated patternsproducing a certain repertoire of social spaces (I will soon comeback to this).92


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 1Lefebvre discusses differences in individual rhythms as differences indispositions, reflected in variations of practices and attitudes towards space,place and others in socio-spatial situations. Differences in the time-spaceenergyrelation aspect of practices create different rhythms or repertoires ofpractices:- As shifting time-space-energy relations of shifting activities inindividual everyday routines at different hours of the day, atdifferent weekdays, and related to seasonal variations,- as shifting time-space-energy relations of various aspects ofhuman life: sickness and health, moodiness and crises,excitement and joy, desires for activities, adventure and others –but also desire for calmness, privacy and withdrawal,- as shifting time-space-energy relations of different phases of alifetime (childhood, adolescence, career and family life,retirement and elderliness),- but also as difference in time-space-energy relations reflectingdifferent ways of life (related to different modes of production),shifting regimes of spatial practices, coexisting in an urbansituation – some aspects more dominant than others.In other words: differences in individual “time-space” projects form patternsin dispositions that can be directly related to a range of encounter situationsand socio-spatial practices that different groups of individuals have chosen toinvolve themselves in.In my empirical investigation of how differences in dispositions interactwith an architectural differentiated landscape of possibilities and effects,differences in time-space perspectives will be a point of entry to discuss howgroups of dispositions play out and interact in different areas.To illustrate how such differences in attitudes towards space producedifferent repertoires of social spaces, I will, as analytical reference points formy own empirical analysis first go on and present two studies that can beseen as examples of contrasting ideal-types of different time-space-relatedpatterns in dispositions, related practices, the social spaces they produce, andhow they are related to particular repertoires of physical spaces.Analytical reference points: two ideal types of time-space-relations: the neighbour and thetravellerBoth Marc Augé 175 and Michel De Certeau 176 describe particular sets ofspatial practices (or changes in practices; new sets of socio-spatial practices)175 Marc Augé, 2000. Non-Places. Introduction to an Anthropology of Supermodernity. London: Verso. (1 stFrench edition 1992: Non-lieux. Introduction à une anthropologie de la surmodernité, Paris, Ed. Seuil).176 Michel De Certeau 1984: The Practice of Everyday Life, Berkeley, University of California Press.(Translation of 1974: Arts de faire, 2nd ed. 1994 with comments)93


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 1and the characteristics of the (movement-related) social spaces produced bythese practices and as such making the individual able to escape the spatialboundaries of a particular place or locus. Both the space of Augé’s traveller,and the space of De Certeau’s walker in the city, could be described as seriesof sequences or a linearization of the practice of each place on the trajectory.De Certeau describes walking in the city as tactics, challenging the spatialstrategies and their embedded limitations in the spatial environment.First, if it is true that a spatial order organizes an ensemble ofpossibilities (e.g. by a place in which one can move) andinterdictions (e.g. by a wall that prevents one from comingfurther), then a walker actualize some of these possibilities. Inthat way he makes them exist as well as emerge. But he alsomoves them about and he invents others, since the crossing,drifting away, or improvisation of walking privilege, transformor abandon spatial elements. 177Both Augé and De Certeau discuss linearization as, on the one hand,liberation from the claims of a physical locus, and, on the other hand, as lossof place or place-bound identity.In a study conducted by De Certeau and a group of his former students underthe leadership of Mayol, 178 the social spaces produced by (everyday sociospatialpractices of) the inhabitants in the Croix-Rousse neighbourhood, areof a more cyclic character than the social spaces of Augé’s traveller: Thecomponents of which the neighbouring is constructed – or the practicesproducing the social space of the neighbourhood – are all related to cyclic(daily, weekly, seasonal) repetitions of local socio-spatial practices, activitiesand contacts between those who inhabit the neighbourhood. Mayol et al.describe the neighbourhood as collective organization defined by the cyclicrepetitions of encounters related to the individual trajectories in places “closeat hand”, and related to the routines of everyday life:The neighborhood is thus defined as a collective organizationof individual trajectories; it involves places “close at hand” putat the dwellers’ disposal in which they necessarily meet eachother in order to provide for their everyday needs. But theinterpersonal contact that takes place in these meetings is itselfrandom, not calculated in advance; it is defined by chancecomings and goings involving the necessities of everyday life:177 De Certeau 1984: p. 98.178 Michel De Certeau & Luce Giard & Pierre Mayol 1998: The Practice of Everyday Life. Volume 2: Livingand Cooking, Minneapolis, University of Minnesota Press (English translation by Timothy J. Tomasik fromFrench: 1994: L’invention du quotidien, II, habiter, cuisiner, Paris, Editions du Gallimard).94


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 1in the elevator, at the grocery store, at the market. By going outin the neighborhood, it is impossible not to come acrosssomeone you “already know” (a neighbor, a shopkeeper), butnothing can say in advance what who or where (on the stairs,on the sidewalk). This relationship between the formalnecessity of the encounter and the random aspect of its contentpushes the dweller to behave as if “on guard” within precisesocial codes, all centered around the fact of recognition in thesort of indecisive collectivity – thus undecided and undecidable– that is the neighborhood. 179The homologies in the regulars’ chitchat with their shopkeeper (“and so forshopping, there’s always Robert” 180 ), and their selective choice of bread orshared “gastronomy of poverty”, is analyzed less as a basic food and more asa basic “cultural symbol”, 181 cooking is analyzed as “gesture sequences” –shared patterns in the way possible choices are calculated, evaluated andimprovised 182 – and together with other sets of everyday practices theyexpress shared values:The neighborhood appears as the domain in which the timespacerelationship is the most favorable for a dweller whomoves from place to place on foot, starting from his or herhome. Therefore, it is that part of the city that a limit crossesdistinguishing private from public space: it is the result of awalk, of a succession of steps on the road, conveyed little bylittle trough the organic link to one’s lodgings.(…) As a resultof its everyday use, the neighborhood can be considered as theprogressive privatization of public space. It is a practical devicewhose function is to ensure a continuity between what is themost intimate (the private space of one’s lodging) and what isthe most unknown (the totality of the city or even, byextension, the rest of the world. 183The focus of Mayol et al.’s study of the everyday practices in the Croix-Rousse is the neighbourhood, and all that makes it a “neighbourhood” –which is the shared values and social spaces produced by the everydaytrajectories of the neighbours, and their frequent (not predictable but stillexpected) encounters with someone they know, or at least recognize. In thisneighbourhood study “the others” exist at two levels, first those that are179 Ibid, p. 17180 Ibid, p.115181 Ibid, p.84182 Ibid, p.200183 Ibid, pp.10-1195


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 1external to the neighbourhood, i.e. those that can be used to distinguish an‘us’ here and now, and secondly as the repertoire of “others” outside thefamily or the household, but within the unit if the neighbourhood.The neighborhood is the middle term in an existential dialectic(on a personal level) and a social one (of the level of a group ofusers), between inside and outside. And it is the tensionbetween these two terms, an inside and an outside, which littleby little becomes the continuation of an inside, that theappropriation of space takes place (…). It is less an urbansurface, transparent for everyone or statistically measurable,than a possibility offered everyone to inscribe in the city amultitude of trajectories whose hard core permanently remainsthe private sphere. 184Mayol et al. investigates the rhythms in the practices producing a collectivityof a certain place: the micro-histories of the subtle tactics of resistance andprivate practices – the art of living or “making do” –moving from the private(dwelling, cooking, home-making) to the public sphere (the experiences ofliving in a neighbourhood). But the inhabitants of Croix Rousse do not spendall their time in the collective rhythms of their neighbourhood – most of themgo to work outside the neighbourhood – and by this, the linearity of theirmodern lives is practiced elsewhere. In the Croix Rousse study thesepractices (linearity, elsewhere) becomes a difference that dialectically definesthe everyday collective rhythm of Croix Rousse.The neighborhood is also the space of a relationship to theother as a social being, requiring a special treatment. To leaveone’s home, to walk in the streets, is right away to commit acultural non-arbitrary act: it inscribes the inhabitant in anetwork of social signs that preexist him or her (proximity,configuration of places, etc.). The relationship betweenentrance and exit, inside and outside intersects with others suchas between home and work, known and unknown, (…); this isalways a relationship between oneself and the physical andsocial world; (…) 185In this study social space is a practiced place, in which a certain feeling ofidentity is produced by those who share something, at a specific place (in theneighbourhood). The encounters of more dramatic differences, glances, hastymeetings with more foreign strangers at the subway and in urban centres, thevolatile and un-demanding contact between individuals being at the same184 Ibid, p.11185 Ibid, p.1296


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 1place at the same time, though on completely different trajectories, belongs toanother time-space practice than the space-time practices at Croix Rousse.The former are mainly described as something which might happen after youleave and before you return home to your neighbourhood, as contrastneighbouring practices:By contrast, the relationship that links home to the workplaceis, most generally in the urban space, marked by the necessityof a spatiotemporal coercion that requires travelling amaximum of distance in a minimum of time. Everydaylanguage here provides an extremely precise description:“jumping out of bed,” “eating on the run,” “catching one’strain,” “diving into the subway,” “arriving right on time” (…)Through these stereotypes, we see what “going to work” reallymeans: entering into undifferentiated, indistinct city, sinkinginto the magma of inert signs as in a swamp, guided only bythe imperative of being in time (or late). 186The French ethnologist Marc Augé is occupied with a different mode ofsocial space production, belonging to a different time-space-practice relationthan what Mayol et al. investigates at Croix Rousse. In Un ethnologue dansle métro 187 and NON-PLACES 188 , Augé discusses how the perception ofplace, self and others related to “super modern” practices and spaces oftransit results in a profound alteration of awareness – as modern individualsspend an increasing portion of their lives in transit through non-places likesupermarkets and shopping-malls, airports and hotels, motorways, in front ofTVs, computers or cash machines. Augé distinguishes between place – withhistorical monuments and creative social life, and non-place – to whichindividuals are connected in a uniform manner and where little organic sociallife is possible. The practice of “supermodern” spaces – compared to, in aBaudelairean sense, “modern” spaces in which the old and new areinterwoven – is by Augé characterize as:(1) text-mediated – the places-experiences are produced through the names orimages of the places, rather than the other way around:The link between individuals and their surroundings in thespace of non-place is established through the mediation ofwords, or even texts. We know, for a start, that there are wordsthat make the image – or rather images: the imagination of aperson who has never been to Tahiti or Marrakech takes flight186 Mayol et al. 1998: p. 13187 Marc Auge 1986: Un ethnologue dans le metro, Paris, Ed. Hachette.188 Marc Augé, 2000.97


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 1the moment these names are read or heard. (…) Certain placesexist only through the words that evoke them, and in this sensethey are non-places, or rather, imaginary places: banal utopias,clichés. 189 ,and (2) self-contained and movement-based rather than place-based:Space, as frequentation of places rather than a place, stems ineffect from a double movement: the traveller’s movement, ofcourse, but also a parallel movement if the landscapes which hecatches only in partial glimpses, a series of ‘snapshots’ piledhurriedly into his memory and, literally, recomposed in theaccount he gives of them, the sequencing he imposes on hisentourage when he returns. (…) there are spaces in which theindividual feels himself to be a spectator without paying muchattention to the spectacle. As if the position of the spectatorwere the essence of the spectacle, as if basically the spectatorin the position of a spectator were his own spectacle. 190Marc Augé (2000) and Mayol et al. (1998) focus on different sets of practices(time-space-relations) in order to investigate different aspects of the socialproduction of space. The described differences in the practices of Augé’straveller and Mayol’s neighbourhood regulars are related to their differentattitudes towards space, place and others. This affects their practices (maybenot necessarily how they walk, but their expectations and their choices, howthey perceive places and people they pass on their way, their gestures,reactions, and actions) and thereby the production of social spaces, and thequalitative differences of their encounters with other. The two studiesexemplify and illustrate two different time-space practice rhythms (one morecyclical, one more linear) which could be related to different sets of socialpractices in concrete space 191 and also to typical socio-spatial situations(qualitatively different sets of encounters, perceptions of place and others) intypical locations (a neighbourhood defined in contrast to the world outside,and spaces of transit).The way I read Lefebvre his rhythm-analytic perspective on the transformingpower of urban life (simultaneity, differences, encounters) imply a focus onhow such different rhythms (trajectories, time-space-relations, and theirproduction of space) merge together in different ways in different places in189 Ibid, p.95.190 Ibid, p.85-86191 “Concrete space is the space of habiting: gestures and paths, bodies and memory, symbols and meanings,the difficult maturation of the immature-premature (of the “human being”), contradictions and conflictsbetween desires and needs, and so forth.” (Lefebvre: Urban Revolution 2003 (1970): p.182).98


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 1an urban structure. These can, on the one hand, be studied as different groupsof practices (or urban landscape practitioners), and, on the other hand, asdifferent sets of places (with different qualities, possibilities and constraints)to practice (to produce social spaces in interaction, confrontation, and co-usewith others). And in this perspective, one essential difference between onespecific urban area and another urban area is how the spatial organization ofdifferent areas allows, or invites, different rhythms of practices to take place,related to the temporalities of different user group (patterns of dispositions)which affect the local composition of encounter situations. This also includeshow aspects of the spatial contextuality of an area (the composition ofarchitectural elements and the encounter situations they accommodate) maybe ascribed symbolic value of use in social transactions (as discussed byBourdieu). While both Augé and Mayol focus on a particular set oftemporalities in a particular set of spaces, Lefebvre focuses of different setsof combinations:Augé’s traveller – or tourist – doesn’t spend all his time in airport lounges, inhis car at the motorway or in shopping malls; he might just as well stay in aremote Provencal village for a while and appreciate the authentic andpicturesque everyday life he has expected to find there: A main point inAugé’s “anthropology of supermodernity” is that the traveler’s attitudetowards place, space and others keeps him from integrating. His fascinationfor authenticity is a paradox, as it is related to his distant role as a spectatorand how he stages himself as a consumer of it. The main value of visiting aplace is not to live in it, but to tell his friends back home afterwards. Thesocial transaction of the returning traveller’s Provencal holiday experiencescan be related to the symbolic values he ascribes his own practices in thespatial contextuality of his holiday destination, transformed into social capitalin the transactions of his encounters with those back home.Mayol’s neighbour also has a life outside Croix Rousse: he goes to work inthe city and the commuting brings him in contact with a world outside theneighbourhood (and there might even be some strangers passing by theneighbourhood now and then – at least some ethnologists obviously musthave spent some time there once). But the overall focus of the Croix Roussestudyis on the neighbouring: on the social transactions between theneighbours and the integrating practices producing the social space of thisparticular (rather homogenous working class) neighbourhood – dialecticallydefined as a contrast to the world outside.The rhythms of the Croix Rousse neighbourhood – as described in Mayol etal.’s study – are predominantly cyclic, while the rhythms of the99


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 1‘supermodern’ spaces described by Augé, are mainly linear. The two studiesillustrate quite caricatured ideal types of cyclic and linear sets of practicedspaces. In most urban situations however such different attitudes towardsspace or different sets of dispositions would probably often be found at thesame time and place, producing a co-presence of different practice-sets orrhythms.In my case study of socio-spatial practices in the three study areas, I willendeavour to investigate how the different time-space perspectives describedby the informants is reflected in their descriptions of socio-spatial practices,experiences and attitudes towards the landscape. Furthermore I will examinehow clusters of such more or less linear or cyclic practices interact withdifferent sets of possibilities and constraints in relation to architecturalcharacteristics and differences.SUMMARIZING REMARKSI have in this chapter discussed two complementary approaches (analyticconcepts and interpretative frames) to examine complex socio-architecturalinterplay in processes of social space production:With departure in Bourdieu’s approach aspects of architectural meaningand function can be integrated into the analysis when it comes to in whatways architectural differences are ascribed symbolic value, influencedomestic choices, and choices to use particular elements of urban areas inparticular ways. Changes in aesthetical preferences or changes in how certainfunctional or aesthetical architectural characteristics are associated withcertain life styles, may also affect the spatial distribution of different socialgroups and their socio-spatial practices within the urban landscape.With departure in Lefebvre’s approach, Mayol et al., Augé and DeCerteau, architectural differences can be related to rhythmic differences inpast and present socio-spatial practices: Through their everyday life in thedifferentiated urban landscape people get exposed to different encountersituations and experiences that produce differences in social space.In the following chapter I will discuss an approach to architecturaldifferences in complex and dynamic urban landscapes. On this background Iwill develop an analytic method for examining morphological andarchitectural issues that a wide range of socio-spatial practices interrelate to.100


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 13. A method for architecturalanalysis of interrelated patternsINTRODUCTIONArchitecture, architectural form or patterns in architectural differences can bestudied as tangible manifestations of architectural strategies. As discussedearlier, architectural differences are not only arbitrary differences in materialform: they are products of public and private strategies for the specializationof elements of architectural environments in order to serve as specializedenvironmental tool-kits for urban, social and productive life. Botharchitectural patterns that are produced by aggregates of individualincremental changes, and architectural patterns that are produced by more orless explicit public strategies can be analyzed in relation to intentionality andjudgments of possibilities and constraints in the given situation.In the previous chapter I’ve discussed two analytic perspectives related tohow qualitative aspects of material structure can be said to be involved inproduction of social space: Lefebvre’s perspective on the dynamic rhythms ofencounter situations, and Bourdieu’s perspective on how material elementsare ascribed symbolic qualities in production of homologies and distinctionsin social space. I’ve also argued that the theoretical models of socio-materialdialectics presented by both Bourdieu and Lefebvre can be used to discusshow differences in architecture modulate patterns in socio-spatial practices –architecture understood both as environmental tools for social interaction andas a differentiated repertoire of material objects that can be ascribed symbolicvalue.Lefebvre’s and Bourdieu’s theoretical approaches address different sociomaterialdialectics in which different aspects of architectural affect areinvolved in social-spatial differentiation. The symbolic qualities that can beassociated with architecture as material objects for social distinction arethough not only related to uses of purely aesthetical differences, such asstylistic elements, signs and symbols. Distinguishable patterns ofarchitectural differences are also related to various aspects of socio-spatialdifferentiation: Architecture can for instance also be ascribed symbolic101


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 1qualities when architectural differences understood as accommodation fordifferent rhythms of everyday life and ways of life are recognized. Likewise,geographical variations in exposure to encounter situations are related to thecustomers’ and users’ recognition of symbolic qualities of program, function,role and meaning of places, in relation to other places as well as to howarchitectural spaces are organized to serve as a tool for social life. Since allthese aspects of architectural affect in socio-spatial dialectics are interwoven,they should not be analyzed as related to completely separate mechanisms.The challenge is therefore to develop a analytic method for identifying suchpatterns in different aspects of architecture, as a precondition for a furtherexamination of how combinations of architectural patterns interact and worktogether, and of how these patterns interrelate with patterns in socialpractices.In this chapter I will, related to both of the above-mentioned theoreticalapproaches, first discuss methods and analytical strategies for architecturalanalysis that can be used to identify relational patterns in architecture. Theintention is to enable identification of architectural differences that can besaid to support variations in repertoires of encounter situations and distinctionof architectural differences related to symbolic identity production. Such anapproach involves studies of structural, typological and semantic 192 issues ofurban architecture. I will conclude this discussion by specifying a method forinvestigation of diverse patterns of architectural differences in complex anddynamic urban landscapes.192 Architectural semiotics as discussed by among others Charles Jencks (1969), and Françoise Choay(1967/69) implies studies of architecture as a system of symbols and signs – as a non-verbal system ofsignifying elements (but not a language). Architectural semiology was inspired by structural linguistics, andarchitectural semiologists often refer, to quote Ferdinand Saussure, to semiology as “a science which studiesthe life of signs in the middle of social life” (Ferdinand Saussure , Essais de linguistique générale, and Coursde linguistique generale). References are also often made to Roland Barthes, for instance his statement that“the aim of semiological research is to restore the functioning of systems of meaning other than language”(Roland Barthes, Elements of Semiology and Writing Degree Zero). The linguistic inspiration is used as ananalogy: architectural systems are compared with linguistic systems, but this does not imply a belief thatarchitecture works as a language. The semiological triangle is not used to clarify the meaning of architecturalelements, but rather to discuss in what way there is a relation between intentions of meaning, physical formand interpretations of meaning, i.e. how patterns and systems in architecture are cultural expressions that(among other issues) also can work as mediators between systems of intentions and systems of changinginterpretations of meaning. Architectural semiotics developed in the 1960s and 1970s, as a critique ofmodernist architecture and analysis of what was described as a semantic loss related to modern urbandevelopment.102


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 1MEANING AND SOCIO-MATERIAL COMPLEXITYIn the article “Urbanisme et semiologie”, 193 the French architectural theoristFrançoise Choay discusses 194 how architecture can be studied as systems ofelements that work as carriers of “meaning”:(…) whether urban environment can be considered, as haveother human products, as a semiological system. In otherwords, whether we can study the urban scene with a methodderived from general linguistics and consider it as a non-verbalsystem of meaningful elements, the structure in which in agiven society is linked to that of other cultural systems. 195Choay describes a “semantic loss” 196 in the development from a situation of“pure” systems, in which the architectural system supported and reflected onespecific cultural and social system, to a situation of “mixed systems”, inwhich the architectural systems no longer works as an unequivocal system ofsignifying elements. Reading Choay’s discussions of “pure” and “mixed”systems, the essential question to me is not whether or not, where or when,such a shift has taken place, but the methodological implications ofconsidering socio-spatial structures as respectively “pure” 197 or “mixed”. My193 The article “Urbanisme et semiologie” was first published in Architecture d’aujourd’hui June-July 1967,later in a translated and edited version, “Urbanism & semiology” (with comments, in the margin of her text,from the other authors of articles in the same anthology) in Charles Jencks & George Baird 1969: Meaning inArchitecture, and three years later it was published in a longer and further developed version in the Frenchedition of the same anthology: F. Choay et al 1972: Le sens de la ville (“The meaning of the city”, mytranslation).194 This is a fairly old article. Today, 40 years later, some of her arguments can be considered outdated. Sincethen some of the central issues and concepts that were discussed by Choay also have been further developed byothers. Anyway, I find good reasons for making use of Choay’s article, especially since it provides a basic wayof understanding the relation between architectural morphology and (the production of) meaning. I have notcome over any other or later theorist that does this as clear and distinct as Choay does in her article. Choaypresents her basic analytic model in order to explain how the relation between architectural morphology andmeaning has become increasingly ambiguous. But the model can also be used to identify aspects ofarchitectural morphology involved in differentiated meaning-production.195 Choay 1969: 27.196 The critical perspective of a “semantic loss” related to (modern, capitalist) urban development is also amain issue in a number of articles and lectures by Henri Lefebvre in the late 1960s and early 1970s. In one ofthem, “Propositions”, published together with Françoise Choay’s article in Architecture d’ajourd’hui, June-July 1967, Lefebvre relates the “semantic loss” to alienation, the change of focus from ‘use value’ to‘exchange value’, spatial segregation, zoning, and “commodification” of aspects of urban life. His“propositions” is a list of (normative and not methodological) suggestions for an alternative approach to(understanding and discussing) value and meaning in urban environments. The main argument behind Choay’sperspective of a “semantic loss” is that the accelerating modern development has radically changed the relationbetween society and its architecture, and thereby architecture has lost some of its former implicit semanticpower.197 Examples of studies of what was conceived as “pure” morphological systems: Levi Strauss’ Bororo village(Tristes Tropiques), Bourdieu’s Kabylian village (1972: “The Berber House or the World Reversed”),morphological studies of antique and medieval cities, and even in children’s literature such as ThorbjørnEgner: When the Robbers Came to Cardamom Town. In all these examples the built up architectural systemsupports and reflects a well-defined stable social system – there seems to be some kind of consensus betweenconventions for architectural production of the environmental tool-kit and conventions for socio-spatialpractices, related to a system of power-relations, values, rites and symbols – and neither past/future nor theworld outside the system seems to disturb the clarity of the system.103


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 1focus is on the epistemological – and not the normative and qualitative –differences between “pure systems” and “mixed structures”: “Pure” is aquestion of conceived low complexity, and not opposed to “impure” or“contaminated”: In that sense I am not interested in speculating on whether orwhen environmental production was involved in a decline or a “fall of manfrom divine grace”, or whether or how potential losses related to such a “fall”could be compensated or repaired with alternative architectural strategies. 198My perspective is that patterns of architectural differentiation within theurban landscape reflect differences in how environmental tool-kits arefunctionally and aesthetically specialized to work as tool for urban life. In amixed structure, perceptions of good or bad may vary between user groupsand over time. In this perspective an investigation of how groups ofarchitectural elements are specialized in relation to other groups ofarchitectural elements in the urban structure will necessarily be open todiverse judgments of “for better” or “for worse”.According to Choay cities, in situations seen as “pure systems”, havederived their characteristics from implicit principles taken for granted by bothsocial individuals and architects, relating to the city and its landscape as onesyntagmatic 199 system. It was a relatively closed system with a limited rangeof elements, acquiring value and meaning in relation to other elements. Thetheoretical situation of “pure systems” can thereby be described as a situationof consensus between conventions for social practices and conventions forarchitectural production. 200 Approaching socio-spatial structures as “puresystems” implies an understanding of the socio-spatial landscape as arelatively stable and determinate system of social and architectural forms. 201The examples from the literature emphasize the clarity of the “pure” systems. But may be the examples thathere are analyzed were not quite as pure, stable and determinate as presented in this literature? Many Europeanmedieval cities contained structures or at least ruins of ancient Roman or Greek cities. Cities are per definitionnot autonomous entities; as long as cities have existed, they have been networks of exchange and interactionbetween cities. Historical cities were also dialectically related to their countryside, backland or ruralcounterpart.198 “Loss of place” related to modern societal development and the moral responsibility of architects to assistthe alienated man in reclaiming contact with place is an essential issue in Christian Norberg-Schulz’ theory ofplace. That is a different project. In general, phenomenological theories, and analytical approaches searchingan understanding of The Meaning of place, are difficult to apply in a project intending to investigate howdifferent architectural aspects of a situation (place) is involved in different individual projects of identityproduction.199 In a discussion of syntagms (1967/in Jencks 1969) Choay refers to how “the word [syntagms] is borrowedfrom linguistics who, following Saussure [Cours de Linguistique Générale, 1970, part 2, chapter V], havedifferentiated two fundamental kinds of relations between linguistic elements: i.e. spatial contiguity andsimilarity (which semantically corresponds to two forms of mental activity: conjunction and association).”Choay further explains that “[r]egarding my own use of the word syntagmatic (I could have used metonymic) if‘placed in a syntagm a term acquires its value only in opposition to preceding or following terms, or both’.”(1969:37).200 A situation in which concepts describing architectural conventions related to social conventions for use ofbuildings and environmental structures makes sense – such as “byggeskikk” (Norwegian normative conceptdescribing a local or regional building tradition or architectural tradition).201 Stable in the sense that, if at all, only little and very slow transformation can be discovered. Determinate inthe sense that it seems within reach to describe the whole socio-spatial system as such and once and for all:both social forms, architectural forms and how they are related.104


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 1In the first part of the previous chapter I discussed Pierre Bourdieu’sstudy of a Kabylian settlement. 202 In this study Bourdieu analyses TheMeaning 203 of spatial arrangements: the determined social, cultural andsymbolic meaning of manifestations of architectural conventions in andaround the Kabylian house. In order to analyze The Meaning of spatialarrangements of material elements, Bourdieu must have conceived theKabylian settlement as a “pure” or determinate socio-spatial system. Asmentioned earlier, Bourdieu himself later described this study as his “lastwork as a happy structuralist”. 204 If we abandon the idea of the city as a“pure”, stable and determinate socio-spatial or spatio-symbolic system, wealso have to leave the ambition of being able to identify The Meaning ofspatial arrangements and architectural elements. This does not thoughnecessarily imply that there are no connections at all between material,architectural elements and production of meaning. As discussed in theprevious chapter, both Bourdieu and Lefebvre describe how individualdispositions are sensitive to, and affected by, qualitative differences in thesocio-material: 205 Development of patterns in social practices involves sociomaterialdialectics in which differences in meaning and identity are related toboth aesthetical and functional aspects of the environmental tool-kit.According to Choay, in the contemporary situation of “mixed systems”,both architects/planners and individual users of the city have a reflexiverelationship to the city and its historically aggregated landscape: To enablecommunication of “meaning” and instructions for use in increasinglycomplex and dynamic urban landscapes, Choay argues that modernarchitecture has become increasingly dependent on supplementary systemssuch as signs, symbols, information boards, etc. Choay’s concept“supplementary systems” is though, I will argue, relatively under-explored.Some years later the issue was more thoroughly discussed and elaborated byamong others Robert Venturi. 206 But the simple clarity and the usefulness ofher epistemological argument, makes me though indulgent towards theperspective of a “semantic loss”, even though it is both an under-elaboratedconcept and normatively whining: Choay argues that architecture works ascarriers of meaning in that observable differences in architectural systems or202 Second chapter of part one of Esquisse d’une théorie de la pratique (1972). The first chapters of part one(the ethnological studies of the Kabylians) is not included in the English edition, Outline of a theory ofPractice (1979). The article (“La maison ou le monde renversé”, ch.2 in Bourdieu: Esquisse d’une théorie dela pratique, Editions du Seuil, 2000, p. 61-82) was first published as part of a homage to Claude Levi-Strauss’60 th birthday in 1968. (English translation: “The Berber House or the World Reversed” in Mary Douglas (ed.)1971, Rules and meanings, Harmondsworth: Penguin, 98-110).203 By The Meaning I here refer to a determined, once and for all conception of meaning, in contrast to“meaning” understood as more general reflexions of issues of meaning.204 Bourdieu 1980: p.22.205 Because the socio-material is recognized as such: as socio-material products and not just as arbitrarymaterial objects.206 Venturi, Robert 1988: Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture, (2nd revised edition, 1st edition1977), London, Butterworth Architecture105


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 1in spatial organization, and observable differences in “supplementarysystems” or patterns in uses of visual means, communicate or acquiremeaning by being involved in syntagms. 207The “mixed” systems of an urban structure do not contain onedeterminate set of forms: it contains multiple morphological systems of bothsocial and architectural forms. The “mix” is a result of historical developmentand transformation, indicating that even further development andtransformation can happen in the future. The “mix” implies a diversity ofconventions, both for socio-spatial uses of, and for architectural interventioninto, the urban landscape. And these conventions themselves are constantly intransformation: The urban landscape manifests a diversity of present andhistorical socio-spatial conventions that represent a qualitativelydifferentiated range of possibilities for interpretations, dispositions andpractices.In her discussion of syntagmatic socio-spatial relations in analyticallyconceptualized “pure systems”, Choay illustrates that urban architecture canbe studied as a semiological system. But how can elements of such anapproach be elaborated as a framework for analyzing dynamic “mixed”systems? As discussed by Choay, contemporary man – both architects andsocial individuals – do not relate to the city as one syntagmatic system inwhich the meanings of all elements of the city are universally accepted andunderstood. To understand the urban landscape as a structure of mixedsystems implies that we accept that individuals have different dispositionsthat are played out in an action field of possibilities and constraints. Inpeople’s judgement of situations, elements of the urban landscape areascribed meaning in relation to other elements, patterns and systems. Thuswhat is here at play is not syntagmatic relations between elements in onedeterminate, stable system, but syntagmatic relations between patterns ofelements in an open and dynamic socio-material structure.In Østerberg’s analysis of the socio-matter of Oslo, 208 the urban landscapeis presented as a sum of historical layers representing different sociomaterial-symbolicsystems – as systems of imprints of historical social codesadded upon each other, and as systems that in the present situation exist sideby side as socio-material imprints of different regimes. In Østerberg’sanalysis the urban landscape is analysed as a sum of “pure” systems, in whichthe symbolic meanings of architectural elements are treated as stable anddetermined entities.207 References to, and term-borrowing from, structural linguistics were frequently used by a whole generationof architectural theorists in the 1960s and 1970s, among others by Aldo Rossi, as discussed in chapter 1.Neither Rossi nor Choay make claims though that architecture is a language. The analogies between linguisticstructures and architecture is for both of them limited to studies of “grammar” in architecture, i.e. to howarchitectural elements relate to each other in architectural structures and systems.208 Cf. presentation and discussion in chapter 1.106


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 1My perspective is that each of these systems can be identified asrelatively pure architectural systems containing internal socio-spatial logics.At the time of origin they provided new ways of conceptualizing architecturalsolutions and ambitions. Each of these systems were developed and designedto serve as a supplement to improve the existing environmental systems. Byseeing the urban structure as a mix of systems, contrasts and associationbetween the distinguishable systems can be said to work as elements ofsyntagms, as I will elaborate upon quite soon. Users of contemporary urbanlandscapes relate their dispositions to a landscape of mixed systems whereaspects of image, role and meaning associated with aspects of one system isproduced in relation to aspects of other part-systems. In other words: sociospatialinterplay involves distinction of patterns in architectural differences aswell as phenomenological aspects of the architecture per se. Furthermore, wemust take into consideration that interpretation of meaning changes overtime: 21 th century post-industrial interpretations of meaning in the spatialensembles of the 19 th century industrial city differ radically from how thesespatial ensembles were experienced and interpreted in the industrial era thatproduced them. My overall perspective is that interpretation of meaning, roleand identity of socio-material ensembles are relationally produced byassociating and contrasting them with other spatial ensembles available forcomparison. Patterns of dispositions of different groups of individuals alsoinvolve, as we shall see in the chapter 6, social distinction of places, practicesand users – in relation to each other. To enable a discussion of howobservable patterns in architectural differences (this chapter) can be related toanalyses of patterns in dispositions and practices in chapter 6, we need toclarify not only the architectural characteristics that make us recognize anddistinguish different architectural systems, but also functional differencesbetween the architectural systems as environmental tool-kits for social life.As I see it, the “mutation” that Choay describes – from “pure” to “mixed”systems – does not primarily imply a loss of meaning, but a shift in howmeaning, function, image and role of areas or elements within urbanenvironments are discussed and understood: From seeing The Meaning as aconstant, being reproduced and transferred, to a situation in whichmeaning(s) are diverse and dynamic and continuously being produced andtransformed.To enable investigation of how contemporary urban dwellers makechoices and act according to judgements of qualitative differences within anurban landscape of different socio-spatial morphological systems, we need totake into consideration that dispositions reflect liberty of choice and mobility,and that judgements reflect recognition of differences in relation to modern107


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 1urban dwellers’ knowledge and experience of global space, 209 historicaltime 210 and simultaneity. 211Individual dispositions related to everyday life – domestic choices, leisureactivities, ways of using the city, etc. – are influenced by judgments of howqualities of the urban environment can support, and enable fulfilment of,desired life conducts and lifestyles. These more or less conscious or rationalgrounded judgments can involve both pragmatic considerations of how thearchitectural environments can be used as functional environmental tools fora desired way of life, and aesthetical considerations of how such choices cansupport a desired life-style. Also city users and dwellers that are more or lessunaware of choices and architectural differences are exposed to geographicalvariations in repertoires of socio-spatial situations affected by architecturaldifferences. Elements of urban architecture do not work as carriers ofmeaning only because of their spatial configuration or architectural design assuch, but also due to how they are designed to work in relation to otherelements in the urban structure.If we are able to identify architectural patterns that are related to repertoiresof practices and encounter situations, and if we are able to identifyarchitectural patterns that may be ascribed symbolic value, it should also bepossible to register and analyze such architectural patterns also in the threestudy areas. But how should we organize such registrations? And how can wemake a systematic analysis of differences in a complex and dynamic urbanlandscape?Analysis of differences in complex and dynamic landscapesThe crucial issue, then, is which aspects one selects and includes in such ananalysis – and how they are combined: The theoretical approaches discussedin chapter 2 are descriptions of two interwoven socio-spatial processes inwhich patterns of socio-material differences are involved in currentdifferentiation of social space. I will use elements of methods forarchitectural analysis to identify architectural, contextual characteristicsrelated to repertoires of encounter situations, and to discern and identifyarchitectural characteristics designed to enable aesthetical or symbolicdistinction of places, buildings and streets, in relation to others of a similar209 By global space I here mean that the dispositions, experiences and practice patterns of contemporarymobile urban dwellers relate to a geographically wide action-field in which perceptions of function, role andimage of areas and elements of a city are defined in relation to a variety of other places.210 By historical (linear) time I here mean that interpretations of historical development and expectations offuture developments flavor our judgments of areas and elements of the city. Observation of present patterns inpractices are often both associated with and contrasted to historical practice patterns of the same place. Butboth association and contrast imply a reflection upon a historical situation – not only a continuation orconfirmation of it.211 By simultaneity I here mean that individual dispositions also relate to homologies and distinctions incoexisting patterns in practices within the same geographical area, as parallel or interacting social systems.108


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 1kind. To my knowledge, there does not exist one particular method forarchitectural analysis that explicitly combine all such issues. 212 What doesexist though, are different kinds of architectural approaches to urban studiesthat contain elements that can be used to reveal important aspects of theissues at stake and how they are related (I will soon return to this morespecifically). But in order to analyze interrelations between patterns ofarchitectural differences and patterns of differentiated socio-spatial practices,I will need to set up analytic approaches to architectural differences that willenable such analyses. For this purpose, the synthetic rhythmanalytic mode ofanalysis provides a useful approach to socio-spatial dialectics. Such a modeof analysis will enable me to combine very different kinds of knowledge,insights, observations, registrations, and analyses.My intention is not to grasp the whole complexity of all aspects of theeveryday life rhythms in the actual study areas, 213 but to discuss andinvestigate manifestations of architectural patterns that reflect and affect suchrhythms. I am not intending to analyze rhythms, repertoires of encountersituations nor image or identity-production as such, but aspects ofarchitecture that support different repertoires of socio-spatial practices, andaspects of architecture that reflect changes in the rhythms of socio-spatialpractices. This can be illustrated by an analogy:An analogy: architecture as toolsThe architecture of the city can be seen as the tools of a workshop for socialproduction of space. At a certain historical stage, the workshop has a certainrepertoire of tools. As the workshop grows, more tools are needed, andvariations of the existing repertoire of tools are reproduced to enable growthand development. Gradually, the workshop develops, and by discontent withthe performance of existing tools, by technological development, byinfluence from other workshops, or by new ideas or changes in themanagement, new tools are developed, either as supplements or replacementsof some of the older tools. But even without replacement of the older tools –even if they technically speaking remain intact and still are used in the sameway as earlier – the situation of the older tools has changed (seen in relationto the new ones they are no longer just tools, they become “the old tools”,maybe even the department of old and thrifty tools). As time goes, both themanagement and the workers experience difference in performance of the212 As discussed earlier: issues related to different kinds of urban dynamics, to qualitative and quantitativedifferences in repertoires of encounter situations, to mediation between private and public, to spatialsegregation or integration of practices and activities, patterns in past and previous practices and issues relatedto image that can be involved in identity-production.213As illustrated by Lefebvre’s essayistic examples, his own rhythmanalysis of urban spaces are limited toobservations from the windows of his Parisian apartment at a certain moment of time (1981: 41-53/1996:219-227) and to rhythmanalysis of Mediterranean cities (1981: XXXX, 1996:228- 240).109


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 1various tools of the workshop. Old tools need maintenance, some are justrepaired, some are modified and some get replaced. As the workshopcontinues to develop, whole series of new tools are introduced, as responsesto conceptions of new demands, and ideas of how development of newsupplements may influence the total production of the workshop. In periodsof rapid growth, whole collections of specialized and mass-produced newtools are put into production, with slightly unexpected results – althoughextremely rational and efficient in some regards, the new collection iscriticized for lacking the qualities of the former and more expensive toolmodels.Some of the old tools may be considered totally outdated and unfitfor production the way it has developed, but still valuable as tangiblewitnesses of the long and proud history of the workshop – consequently theywill be taken care of, exhibited on a shelf, or used for new and morespecialized purposes. Sometimes, new series of mass-produced tools aredesigned to look like the old home-made tools. Other old tool-kits may berestored, adjusted, supplemented and modified in order to serve the newsituation of production, without loosing the good feeling of older tools. Ingeneral, both the workers and the management seem more indulgent towardstools that have been with them for a while, than towards products of thestrange notions of the last management in charge.During the course of time, maybe the workshop will transform into afactory or a consortium of more specialized workshops, but still, at anymoment of history, the workshop will have a certain structure of tools: someare old, some are newer but still quite old, some are quite or very new, andsome look old although they have been dramatically modified. The differenttools are ascribed function and meaning by distinction of differences relatedto how they are designed to work – in relation each other and in relation tothe performance of the whole structure of tools.Lefebvre’s rhythmanalysis aims, as we have seen, at distinguishingdynamic patterns (“rhythms”) in the social production of space: in aparticular department of the workshop, in relation to its history and otherdepartments of the workshop, and in particular types of workshops in relationto their historical and current differences from other types of workshops.Lefebvre is very much aware of the significance of tools and how they arerelated to production, but he is even more interested in the collective projectof the workers at the workshop. But the workers are not only interested incollective projects. What makes Bourdieu’s Distinction useful is that hedescribes how the workers, as part of their own identity-production, are quiteselective in their choices of tools, and that this is an important factor in theongoing changes in the production of the workshop. In comparison Rossi’sproject is to study the workshop by way of its tool-kit, i.e. to investigate the110


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 1structure of patterns and differences in the tool-kits aggregated throughoutthe history of the workshop.What I am trying to do in this project is to investigate how changes in theproduction of three departments of a particular workshop (i.e. three studyareas in Oslo) are related to differences in the tools of the three respectivedepartments. Within each of the three departments ongoing changes in theproduction of social space affect what kind of function, role and image eachdepartment has, both in relation to each other and in relation to the workshop(i.e. the city) as a whole. The current composition of tools in each departmentis historically produced by way of adjustments of older tool-kits andintroduction of supplementary and new tool-kits. To be able to reveal howdifferences in the composition of tools are related to differences in productionand differences in function, role and image of each department, we mustrecognize how the tools of a specific department dialectically are related tothe development of the whole structure of tools: the function of each tool canbe related to how it is designed to work in itself, but also in relation to othertools of the workshop at the time it was developed. The way a tool functionstoday is, furthermore, defined by its relation to other tools that have beendeveloped later on.The perspective here described by way of an analogy has consequencesfor how I will go about to organize the empirical investigation of the currentcomposition of tools in the three study areas.A METHOD FOR ANALYSIS OF FUNCTION AND“MEANING” RELATED TO ARCHITECTURALDIFFERENCESIn her discussions of semiology and urbanism, 214 Françoise Choay suggests a“scheme” 215 for semiological analysis of urban architecture that I willelaborate on, as a way of organizing and doing a combined empirical analysisof architecture and socio-spatial rhythms. The scheme contains three aspects,levels or elements: Architectural systems (spatial organization, minor and majorelements)a. Typological analysis of architectural systems asenvironmental tool-kitsb. Major elements of symbolic value,214 The same article “Urbanisme et semiologie” (1967/1969/1972)215 I have chosen to interpret her propositions in the directions of a scheme. And that scheme can be used toorganize the analysis in chapter 4 and 5. I’m aware that I’m stretching her argument, but as I got the idea of thescheme from reading her article, this reference to Choay is more to express gratitude than to make herresponsible for the consistence of my analysis.111


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 1 Supplementary systems (signs, symbols, surfaces etc.),c. Iconographic analysis of architectural uses of visual means, “Syntagms” (rhythms in dynamic, structural relationships at differentlevels in which the meaning of patterns and elements are defined inrelation to each other – and in relation to the whole structure).While the first aspects (architectural and supplementary systems) implystudies of observable architectural patterns related to understandingarchitecture as environmental tool-systems, the third – which is produced bypatterns in differences within and between the first two – implies an analysisof rhythmic patterns in the way that these patterns develop and relate to eachother. In an analysis of “pure systems”, syntagms can be described andsummarized as a synthesis of observed patterns at the level of architecturaland supplementary systems. If we though see the urban landscape as astructure of mixed systems, the analysis gets more complicated. But, what wecan do is to observe and identify productive differences or décalages 216 in theproduced architectural landscape at different levels of architectural analysis,as patterns of architectural differences that can or may be involved insyntagmatic relations and thereby be related to aspects of function and theproduction of meaning and identity within and between the study areas.In this way, the third “syntagmatic” aspect is not meant to be understoodas a separate level of architectural analysis, but as an analytic framework thatguides my way of looking when conducting the analysis of observablepatterns in architectural differences at different levels (I will come back tothis).In the following I will first describe what kind of architectural differencesthat can be investigated and revealed in each of the architectural aspectanalyses(cf. “a”, “b” and “c” above) – and how these are involved indifferentiated social-space production. These presentations also containdiscussions of a few theoretical examples, in order to give illustrations ofanalytical intentions of relevance for my own analysis, in addition to somehistorical examples of socio-architectural situations, in order to illustratewhat such analyses can reveal. For each analytic level I will then describehow I will go about to do my own analysis later on: i.e. what kind ofempirical material I will make use of in order to investigate which questions.Thereafter, I will discuss how observable patterns in architectural differencesmay produce “syntagms”.216 I have earlier discussed and explained these two dialectical, relational concepts – Lefebvre’s productivedifferences and Roncayolo’s concept décalages (discrepancy in time and/or space) – in chapter 1.112


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 1Architectural systems and primary elements (a + b)The first level is an analysis of embedded functional characteristics related tospatial organization of architectural systems as environmental tool-kits forsocial life. Choay describes how architectural systems contain both a systemof minor basic elements and related semantically weighted elements. Sheuses Freiburg as an illustration of a typical 217 European medieval city: Theminor basic elements of the medieval city were the streets and the urbanhouses and their system of limited variations, or limited heterogeneity in howthey are spatially organized. The semantically weighted elements of thearchitecture of medieval Freiburg are, according to Choay, the urban wall, thechurch and the castle – which are related to power-relations in the medievalcity. Together, the spatial organization of the minor elements and theirrelation to the semantically weighted elements, form an environmental toolkit,architecturally specialized to serve the socio-spatial logic of the medievalrhythms of everyday life.The first step of my analysis will therefore be to identify the socio-spatialcharacteristics of such tool-kits in the three study areas: first by relating theinitial design of environmental tool kits to the societal conditions thatproduced them, secondly by investigating patterns in later modifications ofthese architectural systems.a) Typological analysis of architectural systems as environmental tool-kitsBuilding-typologies and environmental types represent recognizablearchitectural sets of solutions to recognizable sets of socio-spatial tasks: theyhave a name, and their name refers both to the spatial logic manifested in thearchitecture, in addition to the range of practices they are designed toaccommodate. The type refers to a morphological system – a system offorms: both social and architectural forms. The relationship between the typeas architectural form and the type as tool for social purposes may be explicit,but usually it’s not. Typological variation – like for instance geographical andhistorical variation in the production of environmental types – can be relatedto variations in rhythms of everyday life.As a background for my own effort to accomplish an empirical typologicalanalysis of architectural systems, I will in the following elaborate a bit furtheron some historical-theoretical insights that have influenced mymethodological choices.Panerai et al. (1999) distinguish between two different types: implicithistorical types and explicit (plan) types:217 It should be possible, as I see it, to identify geographical variations of Choay’s scheme related to variationsin power relations between the Church, the feudal system, and the urban society.113


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 1(1) Implicit historical types: The gothic cathedral, the French park, theRoman villa, the amphitheater, the pre-industrial urban block, etc. are allestablished time-honored types in the sense that at a certain time, in a certainsociety, they represented a kind of consensus between architects or buildersat one side, and their clients and the public, on the other side. The consensusrepresented a correspondence between a set of spatial dispositions andstylistic elements (architectural conventions), and a set of uses (socialconventions both for concrete uses and symbolic practices) integrating thesetwo sets of conventions. Such forms of consensus or correspondence betweenarchitectural and social conventions were common for both monumental andvernacular architecture (cf: “pure” systems).Typological variations can furthermore be studied as related to regional orcultural particularities, which has been a central issue in typo-morphologicalstudies, as for instance in Muratori (1959), or in monographs of particularcities – often related to successive sets of esprit de temps. 218 Most often boththe studies of typological variations between different cities and themonographs on typological transformation within a specific urban structurereflect relatively stable geographical, cultural and historical variations inrhythms of everyday life: The focus of the first kind of typological studiescan be related to studies of the characteristic rhythms of everyday life and itsenvironment in a particular culture or region – presented as for instance therhythmic particularities of Mediterranean cities. 219 The focus of the secondkind of typological study can be associated with studies of the composition of“other time”-rhythms in a specific place: the characteristic space-time-rhythmin former historical periods, represented by and recognized as typicalarchitectural products, and related to the time-specific rhythms of everydaylife.Speaking of historical cities, these stable types, established throughhistory, did for a long time constitute an implicit structure in the productionof architecture. A certain building task (a site and a program) then implied alimited range of architectural choices: The implicit types, recognized ashomogeneousness in pre-industrial environmental production, caused by along sedimentation of uses and techniques, did not however obstruct that alarge variety of objects could be produced. The localization of the implicittypes remained precisely inscribed, with a determined relation to the spatialstructure of the city, reflecting a standardization of the types.(2) Explicit (plan) types: With the industrial revolution both the ways oflife, the modes of production, the configuration of cities and the conceptionof urban space – as well as the role of architects – were radically transformed.218 Francastel, Pierre 1968: Paris, un heritage culturel et monumental, Paris, La Documentation francaise,Notes et Études documentaries no 3483.219 Lefebvre and Régulier 1996114


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 1Urbanism was established as both a profession and an academic discipline.All this implied a new conception of types, not only as implicit socio-spatialsymbolicconventions, but explicitly proposed as tools for environmentalproduction: as socio-spatial prototypes or inventions. New plan types 220 (newsocio-spatial systems) were developed as theoretical, abstract models,including both new building types and new types of open areas, designed toserve new ideals of productive and reproductive life in the urban landscape,reflecting the rapidly changing rhythms of everyday life.But how should one go about to identify environmental types as socio-spatialtool-kits? Environmental types 221 can be described as systems of both builtform and more or less public open spaces. Environmental types representtheoretical models or sets of ideas, or socio-spatial logics, organizing asystem of more or less private and collective spaces. The types arerecognized by their form, 222 related to different ideals for urban life. All ofthis is expressed by the functional principles of spatial organization definingthe type. By recognizing the different types of environmental elements asrelated to a set of ideals of spatial functionality – i.e. as ideals of how thearchitecture of an area is designed to work – we can, without having to askeach and one of the architects involved in the production of theenvironmental tool kit, gain insights into aspects of common intentionality.Such a form of typological analysis of environmental tool-kits will includedescriptions of:- the characteristics of the spatial configuration (the physical form)which makes us recognize the type,- how spaces are related (to each other and to the urban spatialstructure as a whole – more or less directly, more or lesshierarchically), and- how functions are spatially integrated/segregated (the range ofsocio-spatial practices that are invited).220 One could of course object that there also existed pre-industrial plan types, representing abstract ideas andideals (the renaissance grid, classicist and baroque urban ensembles etc.), but the distinction is still valid: Theprofessionalization of environmental production represented a shift in how plan types were developed as sociospatialtechnocratic solutions for accommodating urban life for the masses. The pace of urban growth relatedto industrialization, and the gradual industrialization of environmental production, represented a shift in howlarge, relatively homogenous urban growth belts where laid out.221 A type is here understood in the way Rossi uses the concept with reference to Quatremère de Quincy: “Theword ‘type’ represents not so much the image of a thing to be copied or perfectly imitated as the idea of anelement that must itself serve as a rule for the model (…) Everything is precise and given in the model;everything is more or less vague in the type.” (Rossi 1984:40)222 As mentioned earlier, all typo-morphological analyses imply studies of architectural form: patterns in form,studies of variations and transformation of form, and discussions of “the lowest common multiple”characterizing the type (defined by formal characteristics). But form as such is not the aim of my study oftypes and their form.115


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 1Aldo Rossi describes types as both means of classification in concrete urbanstudies, and as ideal Platonic types – as represented by theoretical‘architectural models’. 223 Theoretically, an architectural type relates to amorphological system – a spatial logic – that can be studied as a set ofdialectic relations between built form and open spaces at different structurallevels: building/plot, block/street system, study area/primary elements, andcity/region.To discover the embedded functional intentionality of the environmentaltypes as architectural systems, we have to study how the architecturalmanifestation of the local urban development relates to recognizable‘architectural models’ or socio-spatial prototypes: The architecturalcharacteristics of the environmental type – at the time it was designed andbuilt – is empirically accessible through studies of historical maps,architectural drawings and photographs/pictures, but also by way of surveysand registrations related to the existing architectural structure. To recognizearchitectural models implies to relate the successive architectural patterns wecan observe to architectural and urbanist discourses on ideals and ideas forhow these architectural systems were designed to work.Within the French tradition of urban morphological research one can findexamples of systematical studies of the historical development of ideasrelated to development of European environmental types. For myinvestigation of environmental types in Oslo, the French studies have been animportant inspiration. Some of the elements I will make use of in my ownapproach are lent from the French tradition, and some of their findings willbe used as a basis for comparison of, and reflection over, what we canobserve in Oslo.Panerai et al.’s study of the development of European urban blocktypologies 224 illustrates how the discourse on spatio-functional issues relatedto the development of the urban society refers to a set of abstract ideals forspatial organization. Such ideals are reflected in the development ofsuccessive spatial prototypes. Before this first study by Panerai et al. (1974),another major systematic typological study addressed the genealogy ofEuropean urban planning ideas. In Pierre Lavedan’s general history ofurbanism the genealogy of urban planning ideas were represented by types ofspatial strategies, as I’ve elaborated upon in chapter 1. 225 The study byPanerai et al. was based on, or inspired by, Aldo Rossi’s discussion ofarchitectural models. Lavedan addresses mainly symbolism (power, politics)and aesthetic ideas related to monumental spatial ensembles, while Panerai etal.’s main interest are issues of urban everyday life and socio-spatial practices223 Rossi 1984: pp 34-45 & pp 72-82.224 Panerai et al.: 1974, 1997, 2004225 Lavedan: 1926b, 1941116


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 1related to different typologies of urban residential areas (representing acritique of the consequences of the European typological developmentsbetween 1850 and 1950). For my study of how differences in architectureaffect social production of space, I find their perspective on environmentaltypes especially interesting – understood as reflections of different sets ofspatio-functional characteristics affecting the interface for encountersbetween different social categories of users, and affecting the repertoires ofsocio-spatial situations that are or have been available for local inhabitants.Investigations of architectural systems as historically produced imprintsof power relations or regimes of urban development, 226 of historical doctrinesin the production of urban form, 227 or of historical architectural models 228most often imply a structural understanding (often with Marxist inspiration)of environmental types produced by societal conditions. Oslo’s historicaldevelopment is, as in the case of most European cities, characterized byconcentric growth zones produced at different historical stages. A structuralMarxist perspective is helpful to clarify the spatio-functional logic embeddedin the architectural layout of urban areas produced by different historicalconditions. But in Oslo, as in most other European cities, urban developmentin the wake of processes of deindustrialization in the 1970s and 1980s hasforemost been characterized by transformation and reconfiguration ofexisting urban areas, in contrast to the production of new urban growth zonesin previous periods. If we faithfully (or stubbornly) pursue the structuralperspective, such a development can be conceived as a new regime of urbandevelopment producing systems of fragmentary imprints in the differentiatedurban landscape. But the complexity of the recent development can alsomake us rethink the characteristics of urban dynamics by conceiving theongoing processes as changes produced by dynamics of differences withinthe existing urban landscape – i.e. as interplay between effects rather thanlogics of cause and effect. Anyhow, in order to discover how processes oftransformation change the spatial logic of the environmental tool-kit, we needto examine the characteristic patterns of observable changes in thearchitectural system. And such patterns can most easily be discovered byinvestigating the architectural transformation at different structural levelsseparately. 229Since the main purpose of this part of the architectural analysis is toclarify socio-spatial logics as patterns in which different environmental toolkitshave been designed to work, I will make use of the simplifying226 Østerberg 1998.227 Johan Rådberg 1988: Doctrin och täthet i svenskt stadsbyggande 1875-1975, Byggforskningsrådets rapportr11:1988, Stockholm.228 Panerai et. al 1974/2005.229 As structural transformation related to primary elements and as morphological transformation ofarchitectural systems (morphology, typology and micro-morphology).117


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 1abstraction of the structural model and focus on the architectural systems as“products”:Firstly, I will make a description of the architectural systems of thesucceeding growth zones seen as historical products of the situation whereinthey were laid out.Secondly, I will make a description of how the architectural systems lateron have transformed, by way of identifying aggregated patterns ofmorphological change.My perspective is that the spatio-functional logic embedded in spatialorganization represents systems of possibilities and constraints for differentconducts of life, affecting repertoires of socio-spatial practices and encountersituations. The term socio-functional logic refers to the way architecturalelements are spatially organized as systems to define repertoires of more orles private and public spaces, and integration and segregation of activities andsocial categories of users – both between and within different scale levels:dwelling units, buildings, blocks, neighbourhoods, urban areas, city orregion. Different architectural systems have different ways of dealing withspatio-functional integration, both in terms of ranges of functions/activities(integration/segregation) and social categories of users at differentgeographical levels (spatio-functional hierarchies):Architectural spaces can be functionally integrated in different ways, atdifferent levels. Apartment layouts are, for instance, spatially organized indifferent ways to integrate or segregate the activities of the householdresidents: In an open plan apartment, activities like cooking, eating,children’s play, work/homework, discussions, relaxation, etc. take place inthe same architectural space – although more or less organized in zones.Bathroom-activities are usually segregated from the activities of the mainshared space of the apartment, but both bathroom- and bedroom-spaces andactivities may be more or less integrated with the main shared space,depending on how they are organized in relation to each other and how doorsor sliding walls are placed and designed. In other kinds of apartment layoutsactivities may be completely segregated: separate kitchen, dining room,living room, study room, children’s room, etc. The configuration of thedifferent rooms may also be more or less functionally specialized, making itmore or less difficult to switch uses and activities. Apart from the size of theapartment and the number of residents (which may be similar in twoapartments with different layouts), the functionality of the more or lessshared spaces of the apartment will also be affected by the residents’possibility of laying activities to other spaces, for instance within the vicinityof the apartment. The different principles of spatial integration illustrated bydifferences in spatial organization of apartment layouts reflect different ideas118


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 1and ideals of how an apartment should work as a spatial tool for the internalsocial life of the household. Corresponding principles can be investigated atother scale levels: buildings, blocks and urban areas in relation to sharedprivate spaces, street systems, park systems, etc, reflecting at other scalelevels the same kind of ideas concerning ‘spatial tools for social life’. Byinvestigating the environmental types as architectural systems I do not intendto investigate the functional integration of all the existing spaces in each ofthe study areas, but rather to focus on systematic differences in principles offunctional integration that permeate the systems and are observable atdifferent scale levels.Architectural spaces also define ways of integrating social categories ofusers 230 , by ways of mediating public and private spaces:In an urban area two different kinds of individuals can be said to use thesystem of outdoor spaces:1. “local” 231 users (of the actual street/neighborhood/area), and2. “regional” users, such as visitors or strangers (living or workingin other parts of the city or even outside the city).The system of open spaces can therefore be seen as an interface for relations between the domains of different locals of an area, for relations between domains of strangers, and for relations between domains of locals and domains ofstrangers.Elements of the continuous system of open spaces can serve as interfaces fordifferent combinations of these relations: only or mostly strangers, only ormostly locals, or different kinds of concentrations of and more and lesssymmetrical combinations of both social categories. The more that parts ofthe system tend to serve mainly or only one social category of users (either itis strangers or local inhabitants), the greater is the segregation of socialcategories. The more that elements of the system tend to serve combinationsof different social categories of users (strangers and local inhabitants), thegreater is the integration of social categories.230 By social categories of users I here mean users with different reasons for being in a particular architecturaloutdoor space at a particular moment, and I discern between more or less local users (inhabitants, people whowork in the area, regulars) and users from outside. My point is to show how architectural spaces are designedto mediate flows of practices and encounter situations in different ways. By social categories of users I do notrelate differentiation of categories of users by their lifestyle, ethnicity etc.231 In a functionally integrated area a local user may be an inhabitant, but also someone working in the area, orfor instance a regular in a local institution. If the area is functionally specialized, as for instance a purelydomestic area, the local is an inhabitant.119


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 1The open spaces of an architectural system are physically delimited by thegrouping of buildings, with entrance-areas (for private homes, shops, etc);secondary boundaries such as gardens, courtyards, etc.; and different types ofspaces for movement and stay. By differences in spatial configuration andspatial organization in systems of open spaces, the interface between socialcategories of users is architecturally defined in different ways:- By the size and shape of the open spaces. Bent streets and shortsightlines are in general perceived as a sequence of spaces, while straightstreets and long sightlines tend to work as one large space. Historicalexamples of architectural models and systems illustrates how this effectdeliberately has been used, either by the introduction of larger spacespreparing for more social control (cf. the percées of Hausmann’sintervention in Paris) or to create more intimacy in neighbourhoodspaces (cf. Camillo Sitte‘s curved domestic streets with shortersightlines).- By how the open spaces are related to the spaces of the buildings thatdelimit them, for instance by entrances (giving more or less directaccess) to public buildings, shops, private homes, etc. The elements of asystem of open spaces are controlled in different ways. A traffic artery isfor instance socially controlled by the glances from travelers and passersthrough, while a cul-de-sac is mainly controlled from the entrance-zonesand windows of the private homes surrounding it etc.- By in what ways the elements of a system of open spaces are related toeach other, both spatially and hierarchically. Elements of the system ofopen spaces can be more or less 232 directly connected with theextremities of the interface – the private units and the world outside. Theway elements of a system of open spaces are segregated (or integrated) isa characteristic of the whole system as such. Spatial segregation of socialcategories of users (of interfaces for encounters between only localinhabitants or only strangers) implies hierarchies in the systems of open232 To what degree something can be described as ‘more or less’ can be examined both quantitatively as well asqualitatively. In Hillier & Hansson 1984: The social logic of space, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press,Julienne Hansson and Bill Hillier have developed a quantitative analytic tool to measure and calculate therelation between some central aspects of spatial organization and spatial configuration that affect how thesystem of open spaces work as an interface between different social categories. By way of their “space syntaxanalysis” spatial integration, “spatial depth”, “connectivity”, etc. are calculated as functions of basicquantitative values such as how many ‘steps’ one has to walk, corners one has to turn, or convex spaces onehas to pass through moving between one space and another. The calculated values are represented byideographic diagrams representing measured aspects (spatial integration, spatial depth, connectivity, etc).Since spatial integration of social categories of users is only one out of several aspects of architecturaldifferences I will investigate in my analysis, and since I want my architectural analysis to be analytically opento the possibility that differences in spatial integration may affect socio-spatial differentiation of space invarious ways, my analytical strategy is to identify architectural characteristics that in different ways may affectsocial differentiation of space, and later on (in chapter 6) to juxtapose the analytic description of architecturaldifferences with an analytic description of differences in social practices. By analyzing spatial integrationqualitatively as a characteristic of the spatial logic of the architectural system, it’ll be possible to focus onqualitative differences in how elements of different systems are spatially integrated, rather than on how muchthey are spatially integrated.120


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 1spaces. Hierarchical socio-spatial systems can be functionally more orless segregated and specialized at different levels. But when it comes tospaces and activities related to both traffic systems and recreationalsystems, the characteristics of the hierarchy depends upon the spatiofunctionallogic of the architectural system as such – of how elements ofthe system are defined in relation to each other.As mentioned before, the spatio-functional characteristics of architecturalsystems affect repertoires of socio-spatial practices and encounter situations.Even more, in some cases, certain environmental types can be associated withcertain ways of life and even certain life styles. The architectural system assuch furthermore represents a system of possibilities and constraints – i.e.thresholds 233 – for architectural transformation: The limited range ofvariation that defines a specific architectural system allows for a range ofincremental changes within the system. When these are exceeded, themorphological system transforms, as well as aspects of function, role andmeaning of an area.b) Primary elementsBy investigating how architectural systems are produced we can discovercontextual functional differences in how environmental tool-kits are designedto work. But the spatial logics of architectural systems are in general moretime-specific than place-specific. An illustrating example: As elements of aspecific architectural system the 1920s open block that one could find indifferent European cities, all followed almost exactly the same scheme ofspatial organization. But there are major differences in the various urbanlandscape situations in which these environmental types have beenintroduced, and also in how the architectural systems relate to both elementsof the existing urban landscape and to “landmarks” in the history of the urbanlandscape.Rossi’s concept primary elements 234 provides an approach for analyzingthe relation between what Choay describes as “semantically weightedelements” and the development of the urban structure as a whole. A medievalcathedral, for instance, that once represented religious power and regionalcentrality may today mainly represent cultural heritage or a tourist attraction.But the spatial configuration of the cathedral and its function and role inrelation to the urban landscape – as a major monument, landmark, and carrier233 Thresholds in the sense that the system as a whole, related to the production of patterns of incrementalchanges, undergoes gradual transformation. Incremental changes in various stages of transformation canfurthermore be said to relate to a system that performs differently at different stages of transformation.234 The theoretical framework related to Aldo Rossi’s concept primary elements is discussed in chapter 1,where I also discussed the correspondence between Rossi’s concept of primary elements, Lefebvre’s conceptsof particularities and differences, and Roncayolo’s décalages.121


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 1of collective memory, i.e. as a major semantically weighted (or primary)element – is maintained, although the complex of meanings has changed. Inthe cathedral-example the manifestation of the primary element is themonumental building. What makes it a primary element is that it represents aconstitutive power in relation to the development of an important historicallayer of the urban structure. Primary elements 235 are though not necessarilymonuments. As discussed earlier (chapter 1) primary contextual elements canalso be plans, spatial ensembles, events or other major issues related to thecollective memory, historical power-relations and the dynamics of the urbanstructure. For me a ‘primary element’ is a relational concept: Not all plansrepresent primary contextual elements. And it is not the planning documentitself that represents a primary element, but the planning principles and howthey adhere to existing framework conditions in the urban landscapesituation, and define time and place specific preconditions for thedevelopment of an architectural system. The way I use this analytic concept,primary elements are not a way of identifying primary architectural objectsper se, but a way of investigating the constitutive logic of sets of spatiofunctionalelements, and a way of investigating how they undergotransformation in relation to urban dynamics at a more general level. Primaryelements of non-monumental-objects – as physical manifestation of aspectsof the historical function and role of an area, representing permanences anddynamics – can be even more important than monuments for discussions offunction, role and image of urban areas.I have earlier (cf. chapter 1) discussed how primary elements are related toboth the architectural systems produced in a specific period of urbandevelopment, and to the dynamics of the urban structure as a whole. Incomparison of cities the primary elements refer to some main characteristicsof the particular cities involved. And in comparison of areas within a specificurban landscape, the architectural systems of the different study areas areintimately related to the primary elements that represent the constitutivepower-relations from which they developed.As discussed by Rossi, primary elements can only be identified by way ofdiachronic studies of how the urban fabric has been transformed throughouthistory. One must endeavor to identify the main constitutive elements (cf.Rossi), or the main productive differences (cf. Lefebvre) in different periods235 I here use the term primary elements in a slightly different way than Rossi’s use of the term: To me, this is arelational concept, closely related to Roncayolo’s décalages and Lefebvre’s differences. Rossi’s concept is perdefinition positive: elements of major and primary importance in a regional context. In my investigation ofhow different urban areas change function, role and image in relation to each other (both in this project, butalso in my professional work doing analysis of potentials for regional development in different contexts), it isessential to be able to identify tangible aspects of the local landscape situation that can be related to, forinstance, contextual particularities of a regional underdog situation. To me the term ‘primary’ is therefore notrestricted to elements of superior status, but refers to elements ‘of major importance’ for understanding localcontexts.122


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 1of urban development, in addition to identifying the characteristics of theirphysical manifestation. For this we need to study the local history of urbandevelopment, including existing historical maps and pictures. In order todiscover how the primary elements are related to the architectural systems,we furthermore need to clarify the spatial logic of the architectural systems.In my analysis of architectural characteristics in the three study areas Iwill use the analytic concept of primary elements in two ways: Firstly, toidentify primary elements in a diachronic study of discernibly differentarchitectural systems. Secondly, to investigate dynamics related to theidentified primary elements in later (recent and ongoing) transformation ofthe architecture of the study areas. 236The morphological analysis of architectural systems and primaryelements are based on investigations of existing literature on the historicalurban development in Oslo, literature on development of ideas and ideals inurban planning, historical maps and architectural drawings, historicalphotographs and surveys of the recent development in the study areas.Iconographic analysis of architectural uses of visual means (c)Visually observable patterns of differences can be used for aestheticaldistinction of categories of buildings, spatial ensembles and areas – by theirvisual image. In addition to architectural systems (a) and primary elements(b), the next aspect-analysis looks at iconography. That implies analysis ofpatterns and systems in the uses of architectural means to express “style”,symbolic content and communicate meaning, in order to specialize or tailorelements of the architectural environment for a specific range of practices orusers.The iconographic analysis will mainly focus on three aspects:- Firstly, in what way iconographic means are used to express orsupport aesthetic ideas and ideals – by surface treatment, use ofmaterials and colours, techniques, ornamentation, detailing, etc.- Secondly, in what way the different architectural structures in thestudy areas represent “iconographic flexibility”: Specifics of howthe architectural structure of an area has been produced – as manyindividual projects forming a pattern, or as one or a few larger totalprojects – represent different thresholds for how patterns ofincremental changes can reconfigure the iconography of a236 The way I plan to carry out these investigations of architectural and programmatic transformation related toprimary elements also includes a lending of elements in studies of urban transformation related to structuralanalysis technique that was developed through a series of consultancy research and development projects atAsplan Viak AS in the 1990s, lead by Dag Tvilde, assisted by Netten Østberg, Jannike Hovland and HildeHaslum.123


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 1streetscape or the appearance of (more or less) public spatialensembles.- Thirdly, in what way changes in supplementary systems reflectchanges in activities, user groups, and intensities of use, related tofor instance changes in function, role, image and “meaning”.In studies of iconographic flexibility and iconographic transformation relatedto change in activities, users, function and role of urban areas, the oftenquoted distinction between “ducks” and “decorated sheds” – betweenbuildings as symbols and buildings with applied symbols – is useful. 237For buildings that are designed as symbols, the architecture of thebuilding – its shape, spatial organization, and its materials – are supposed tocommunicate to the public the function, the meaning, or the symbolic weightof the program that the building accommodates. Buildings designed toaccommodate major, monumental public (or private) programs are oftendesigned as symbols. Most specialized building typologies have a touch of“duck”, making us recognize their function and meaning (schools lookinglike typical schools, churches looking like typical churches, fire stationslooking like typical fire stations, mosques looking like typical mosques, etc.).Pure ducks are rarer. According to Venturi et al. “ducks” are in general usedas a negative underpinning of the buildings’ lack of flexibility towardsadapting other programs than what they initially were designed for. Butsometimes, programmatic and symbolic flexibility is not necessarilyprioritized. Examples of celebrated “pure ducks” is for instance theBibliotheca Alexandria 238 or the new Opera house in Oslo, both designed bythe architect office Snøhetta. Ducks are usually not so easily transformed toaccommodate new programs. Buildings that are designed as symbols aredesigned to be semantically weighted elements, but this does not necessarilymean that they work as such. Architects may design buildings as symbolseven if the buildings are not supposed to accommodate a major publicprogram. Sometimes architects with an urge for expression design a duck fora minor building task – such as a private home, a shop or a storage building.This does not make the building a semantically weighted element, but ratheran irregularity in the architectural system: Most of us have experiencedcurious expectations related to observing, in the middle of a homogenous237 This distinction was first introduced in Robert Venturi et al.’s study of the Las Vegas strip (1972/1996), as adistinction between architectural prototypes for communication of meaning: The “Duck” refers to the buildingitself as a symbol, exemplified by the Long Island Big Duck, Flanders, New York (a roadside chicken/duckbarbeque restaurant, formed like a huge white duck). The “Decorated Shed” refers to the building as a genericloft in which its aesthetic characteristics derives from its applied signs and/or decorative or iconographicsurfaces.238 The architect office Snøhetta’s Bibliotheca Alexandria has a circular tilted form rising from the ground toreveal massive stone walls with alphabetic inscriptions. From the air the form can give associations to a hugedata-chip, as a deliberate comment to the function of a contemporary library: to store data.124


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 1housing area, an expressive building looking like a chapel, an intimateconcert scene or a particular collective building of a kind, and then theannoying confusion when it is revealed that what we actually have seen isjust a pretentiously designed private home.In the analysis of architectural systems and primary elements I willtherefore also focus on integrated issues of monumentality, and try toidentify, describe and discuss how architectural means are used to expressissues of monumentality.For buildings with applied symbols, it is the applied signs or symbolsand/or the surface decoration that are supposed to communicate the contentof the building to the public: when the function changes, the applied symbolsare simply replaced with others. In some cases symbols and signs can overcommunicatethe importance of the program of a building. Identification ofuses of architectural means for expressing function and symbolic meaning ofcontents of buildings and architectural ensembles means no more than toidentify uses of means – and should not be understood as claims that theywork as intended. But patterns in uses of such means can at least signifyshared expectations among investors, shop owners or the like.Iconographic transformation can be related to patterns of architecturalfeatures and elements that require small investments and have a moretemporary character (such as tagging, posters, etc.). In other instancesiconographic transformation relates to changes in patterns of elements thatinvolve medium investments (such as patterns in a shop’s advertisement ofgoods and activities). Furthermore iconographic transformation can reflectchanges in the repertoire of collective institutions, by the introduction of newcategories of specialized typologies, as for instance in cases of larger longterminvestments based on a belief in local consolidation of a market or ofcultural or religious institutions.Studies of visual patterns and systems related to how commercialactivities advertise their goods and services represent one level oficonographical analysis. Analysis of for instance streetscapes can be used todescribe architectural aspects reflecting patterns in current uses, user groupsand investors’ expectations.Another slightly more subtle level is represented by studies of howobservable patterns of aesthetic preferences related to housing flavor theimage of a street or a neighborhood, for instance in the way that visuallyobservable patterns of the window exposure of private homes communicateswhat kind of people that live on the inside: Rows of windows with lacedcurtains and potted plants may be associated with elderly people; blanketsand even towels covering the window surface may be associated with some125


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 1groups of immigrants or refugees; 239 no curtains and exposed stolen trafficsigns may be associated with student flat share; etc. When we makeinterpretations of such material, there is of course a risk of getting fooled byprejudices. Although it is possible to observe some such differences withinall three study areas, I will (in chapter 5) only present a few examples of partstudiesof such observable patterns (mainly because of its complexity andambiguity).In the same way as morphological analyses of architectural systems implythat one examines issues of spatial organization and how environmental toolkitsare specialized to work as architectural tools for social life,iconographical analyses imply identification of uses of architectural meansfor communicating meaning, monumentality, symbolism or values. Whendoing so, we should take into consideration that individual interpretations ofvalues, meanings and potentials for use are manifold and shifting. Thereforeanalysis of patterns in architectural uses of iconographical means, as well asfor instance comments on characteristic differences in monumentality etc.,should not be treated as a basis for firm conclusions on issues of identity andmeaning. My main intention in this part of the empirical analysis is toidentify potentials that may be ascribed symbolic value in projects ofdistinction and identification (in one way or any other). The iconographicanalysis will be based on visual images (photo-registrations). Furthermorewill the analysis be presented as an integrated part of the architecturalanalysis of patterns and differences.Rhythmic, relational patterns in architectural development (“syntagms”)I have in the previous section suggested three ways of identifying patternsand systems in manifestations of architectural strategies: a) architecturalsystems of spatial organization, b) primary elements, and c) iconography:uses of visual means for communicating function and expressing aestheticpreferences.These ways of clarifying patterns represent an overall framework foranalysis of specific observable aspects of architecture. Each part-patternidentified through these suggested partial investigations will reveal patternsin aspects of how the environmental tool-kit has been designed to work, aspartial manifestations of architectural strategies. In other words: patterns in239 Ed Robbins, anthropologist, professor at AHO, project leader for the Immigentri-project, and one of myadvisors, once informed me about a research project he had carried out: A group of test-persons were invited tovisit a well established housing area in St Louis, USA. All the test persons said that this absolutely was a streetwhere they could have considered buying a home. After making one little change, the group was invited backto visit the street, and most of them changed their mind. None of them could describe why they no longerwould have liked to buy a home in the street – they just sensed that something was wrong. The change that wasdone was to replace window curtains with sheets in two of the houses – as a sign of people of colour movingin.126


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 1characteristic aspects of form and general, embedded intentions of function,related to the latter.Morphological systems – systems of forms – are defined by how the elementsand patterns of forms within the system are dialectically related to each other.As touched upon earlier in this chapter, Choay uses the term “syntagms” todescribe the dialectical relations of contrasts and association through whichthe elements of such a system work as carriers of meaning – in relation toother elements of the system.The way Bourdieu describes the relations between the forms andorganization of different elements of the Kabylian house/settlement, asdiscussed in chapter 2, is – as I see it – fairly identical with what Choaydescribes as an analysis of “syntagmatic relations”. 240 The way I readChoay’s use of the term syntagms in relation to urban architecture, 241 shepoints at dynamic, structural and relational aspects of production of function,role and meaning of elements in the urban landscape – both in terms ofrelational aspects and as an approach for inquiring them – which can berelated to what I earlier pointed out as missing in Østerberg’s approach, 242but which I find in the corresponding approaches of Rossi and Lefebvre, 243and also in Bourdieu’s later discussions of homologies and distinctions. 244My argument is that such dynamic interrelations between differences –representing patterns and systems of contrasts and association within patternsof architectural differences – also can be identified within complex andmixed urban landscapes. But there are some important differences in240 Cf. the discussion at the beginning of this chapter.241 Choay is actually not that explicit, and again, I am aware of the 40-years lag between her writing the articleand me reading it, and that I therefore might be stretching her argument. During the last 40 years thediscourses on the dynamics and complexity of urban structures have developed considerably. Thisdevelopment has influenced my reading of Choay’s article, but also I believe, opened up for newinterpretations.242 As discussed in chapter 1: Østerberg’s socio-material dialectic describes a dialectical relation between, onone side, the social and the matter (social conditions producing socio-material environments with monumentsand symbols reflecting the power relations of the regimes that produced them) and, on the other side, betweenthe socio-matter and the social (how individuals experience, or are sensitive to, resonance from historicalpower relations, repression and demands transmitted through historical monuments, but also to experiences ofburden and relief related to characteristics in the socio-material environment). Østerberg describes the sociomateriallandscape of Oslo as a sum of four relatively independent layers or sediments, produced by fourdifferent historical regimes of urban development, in contrast to a perspective that sees the landscape as aproduct of dynamic dialectics between (historically produced) differences. Østerberg uses himself – i.e. hisown knowledge and experiences and his own sensitivity towards his socio-material environment – as a testpilot or an indicator of how socio-material environments interrelate with individual practices. I am interested ina more general model that can handle variations and changes in individual perspectives. Because of this,differences in form that may be open to different individual interpretations of meaning and content are not apart of his analysis.243 As discussed in chapter 1, both Rossi and Lefebvre describe and investigate dynamic dialectics betweendifferences in form. In contrast to Østerberg’s socio-material dialectics that are described as almost universalrelations between the social and the material (based on the experiences of only one individual test pilot:Østerberg himself), Lefebvre’s socio-spatial dialectics are investigated as dialectics between various kinds ofdifferences in socio-spatial form(s).244 As discussed in the previous chapter: In La Distinction Bourdieu describe how social space is defined byhomologies and distinctions, in other words by recognition and uses of association and contrasts.127


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 1studying dynamic interrelations between different forms in mixed structuresand studying interrelations between forms that are conceived as an integralpart of a “pure system”:- In a mixed structure of architectural patterns and systems, developedas it is over time, the patterns and systems of contrast andassociation within the architectural structure of the urban landscapeare aggregates of historical changes as much as of stable patterns inpractices.- Furthermore, the internal spatial logic of architectural systems of the“explicit plan types” 245 are manifestations of architectural strategiesthat accommode for expected or wanted change, rather thanarchitectural manifestation of historically inherited socio-symbolicsystems.- Last, but not least: In mixed (and transforming) structures, patternsof contrasts and association between different architectural patternsand systems do not define The Meaning 246 of the elements of onesymbolic system, but constitute a relationally defined system ofdifferences in architectural form that in different ways can beascribed meaning.Such patterns and systems of contrasts and associations within architecturalpatterns at different levels (morphology, typology, iconography) historicallydeveloped over time is, as I see it, closely related to what Lefebvre discussesas differences or particularities, and to what Roncayolo calls décalages, 247i.e. dialectically defining rhythms of elements of the urban structure inrelation to each other. 248In order to discover and identify relational patterns in forms, aggregatedover time, we need to study diachronically the relational and dynamicpatterns of contrasts and association relationally produced between these firstobservable sets of patterns: One can for instance examine patterns in how thearchitecture of areas have developed in relation to each other, patterns in hownew patterns relate to old patterns, and patterns in how different new patternsdevelop both in relation to each other and in relation to the urban landscapeas a whole.245 Ref. Panerai et al.’s distinction between implicit historical types and explicit plan types which I’vediscussed earlier in this chapter, in the introduction to typological analysis of architectural systems asenvironmental tool-kits.246 I have earlier, in the first part of this chapter, given reasons for distinguishing between ‘The Meaning’understood as a determined and once and for all-conception of meaning that exists within a fixed symbolicsystem, in contrast to ‘meaning’ understood as more general reflexions of issues of meaning247 I have earlier, in chapter 1, described and discussed both Lefebvre’s differences and Roncayolo’sdécalages.248 As described earlier, both “rhythms” or relational and dynamic patterns in practices, and relational patternsin architectural differences, can be studied at different levels.128


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 1Architectural elements are in general always designed to work in relationto a structure of previously existing urban artifacts. By homologies in suchrelations, aggregation of architectural elements form patterns and systems.Over time, we can discern changes in the production of architecturalelements, changes that can make us distinguish new patterns and systems ofurban artifacts. The development of new patterns and systems change thesituation of the existing patterns and systems, both in relation to the newsystems but also in relation to the urban structure.In the following diachronic investigation of patterns in architecturalspecialization of elements and environmental tool-kits in the urban landscapeof eastern Oslo, I will identify observable patterns of architectural differencesdeveloped over time. The architectural differences that I will describe andanalyze can be observed even though one doesn’t know their genealogy. Thediachronic approach gives access to architectural projects of homologies anddistinction – to dynamics in how the development of new typologiesrepresent contrast and association with the already existing architecturalsystems – at different levels. These differences in various aspects of theaggregated architectural structure are involved in production of function andmeaning, in relation to each other and in various ways. I am of course notable to point out all the interacting relations between differences throughwhich elements of the architecture in my study areas can be ascribedfunction, meaning and local identity. But, by investigating how these patternshave been developed in relation to the development of the structure of theurban landscape, one can construct a basis for assessing how the compositionof characteristics in the architectural situation of each study area make adifference in the current production of social space. The characteristics thatwill be described in these analytic empirical investigations are: Differences in site-specific framework conditions that arerelated to permanences and dynamics (primary elements) ofparticular elements of the urban landscape in relation to theurban structure as a whole, Differences in how new architectural systems are designed towork in relation to each other and in relation to the urbanstructure as a whole: Distinguishable patterns of contrasts andassociation related to how new architectural systems aredeveloped in relation to discontent with the performance of theexisting architectural systems, new ideas and ideals, andconceptions of new demands or challenges:129


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 1• Differences in the tool-aspects of architecturalsystems, i.e. differences in how they are designed towork as a tool for social urban life: locally and inrelation to the urban structure as a whole.• Iconographic aspects: differences in uses ofarchitectural means to express meaning and values,but also differences in iconographic flexibility, Patterns in how architectural developments in an area associateor contrast with aspects of the existing architectural situation,conceived either as a more or less deliberate accentuation ofselected aspects of the historical architectural structure, or aspatterns in replacement or removal of former characteristics:Which elements or aspects are replaced, which are restored,what are the new patterns of contrast and association introducedby the modification of the local environmental tool-kit?In the diachronic investigation of the development of architectural systems,patterns and elements I will make use of more established ways ofperiodizing within Norwegian urban historiography. The distinction ofdifferent periods of environmental production is based on identification ofclearly discernable architectural systems that can be observed in the urbanlandscape. My periodization coincides with other works on the history ofOslo’s urban landscape, such as Østerbergs’s investigation of differentregimes of urbanization and the five volumes Oslo history (Oslo byshistorie).Like many other European cities, historical Oslo has had a concentricgrowth pattern: The historical development of the urban landscape of Oslohas produced a historical centre and three concentric growth belts. The basiclayout of the growth belts are defined by different architectural systems,produced under different regimes of urbanization. Due to processes ofdeindustrialization in recent decades, transformation of already developedareas has become an overall dominant feature of urban development. In mydiachronic or chronological approach I will first describe the characteristicsof the different architectural systems as they successively have been laid outand defined new growth belts in the urban landscape (chapter 4), andthereafter return to an analysis of how the areas later on have transformed(chapter 5).130


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 1THE ARCHITECTURAL CASE STUDY ANALYSISThe empirical analysis of architectural characteristics of the three study areaswill be presented as two part-analysis. In the first part 249 I will analyze howthe three study areas are situated in an urban landscape of architecturaldifferences developed over time. In the second part 250 I will analyze patternsin recent architectural transformation of the three study areas, and how thesenew patterns both are related to new patterns in socio-spatial practices andrelated to previously existing patterns within the architectural structure.First step: a diachronic study of the production of differentiatedarchitectural landscapes in OsloIn the first part of the architectural analysis I will focus on the characteristicsof the different architectural systems that define the basic layout of eachhistorical growth belt.For each architectural system (each period, each growth belt) I will firstlydescribe the situation that produced these new environmental tool-kits: Inwhat way and why they were designed to be different from the existing urbanarchitecture – and how the new areas were designed to work in relation to theexisting urban landscape.Then I will investigate the internal logic of the different architecturalsystems: What are the architectural characteristics in spatial organizationrelated to how the architectural systems have been designed to work as a toolfor social life? What are the architectural characteristics that make usrecognize and distinguish architectural systems and its environmental typesfrom other systems and types?By doing a detailed description of the internal logic and the spatialcharacteristics of each architectural system, I intend to elucidatecharacteristics of the system that also can be used to reveal contrasts andassociations with other architectural systems in the urban landscape of Oslo.In addition to analytic descriptions of general characteristics of the structureof buildings and outdoor spaces in the architectural systems of each historicalgrowth belt, I will focus on the characteristics of how parks, squares andopen spaces for collective recreation were designed for different uses at thetime of conception and realization: What were the characteristics of thesystem of collective recreational outdoor spaces related to each architecturalsystem? How were they accommodated for what kinds of public, recreationaloutdoor practices? And what distinguished a new system of parks and publicoutdoor spaces from previous ones in regards of what range of practices they249 Chapter 4: Production of differentiated architectural landscapes in Oslo250 Chapter 5: Patterns in architectural transformation 1980 - 2007131


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 1were accommodated for and how they were designed to work for dense,recreational co-presence with strangers?The purpose of my analysis is to clarify how observable patterns and systemsin the architecture of the three study areas are involved in processes ofinterrelated socio-spatial differentiation of function, meaning and socialspace-production in a contemporary situation, both in relation to other areasand the structure of architectural elements in the urban landscape of Oslo as awhole: Due to archaeological discoveries, Oslo has recently celebrated both700 years and 1000 years of urban history. 251 Despite this, today theeveryday life of citizens of Oslo take place in architectural environments thatmainly have developed from the 19 th century and onwards. Therefore, mytimeline starts with a short description of elements and systems that remainfrom historical periods before 1850 (though not with a search for a “yearzero” in the history of the city). Likewise, I have limited the investigation toenvironmental types, elements and systems that either are present in orrelated to at least one of the three study areas. In addition I’ve examinedenvironmental typologies that can be seen as evolutionary steps (cf. thegrowth belt of the period 1900-1945) between the environmental types thatdefine the main lay out of the study areas. 252Second step: Recent patterns in architectural transformationIn the second part of the architectural analysis I will investigate patterns intransformation of the architectural systems as both observable patterns inaggregated architectural differences and patterns in how such newarchitectural patterns relate to the existing architectural structure in differentways and at different structural levels. In this part analysis I will identify anddescribe different observable patterns in architectural transformation anddiscuss how they both make use of and affect the architectural situation of thestudy areas. This part-study includes such as transformation in the system ofoutdoor spaces, micro-morphological and iconographic transformation of thestreetscape at Grünerløkka and Grønland, architectural transformation relatedto introduction of new typologies, symbolic and programmatictransformation along the Akerselva River, and systematic and programmatictransformation related to development of the main road system.251 Due to recent discoveries (summer 2007) the millennium-celebration might have to be disclaimed. Perhapsthe city soon will have to arrange a new 900 years anniversary celebration?252 Environmental domestic typologies that are typical elements of other (western) parts of the urban landscapeof Oslo (such as the urban villa type in the area behind the royal castle and the representative villa type as atSkillebekk, Frogner, Bygdøy, etc.) are not presented in this study, although they to some extent have affectedthe spatial contextuality of “our” areas, by representing a contrast that domestic typologies in other areas couldbe defined against.132


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2PART 2Empirical analysis of 3 study areas:Grønland, Grünerløkka and Furuset4 HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENT OFRELATIONAL ARCHITECTURAL PATTERNS5 PATTERNS IN ARCHITECTURALTRANSFORMATION 1980-20076 SOCIO-SPATIAL NARRATIVES: ANALYSESOF PATTERNS IN SOCIO-SPATIALPRACTICES133


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R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 24. Historical development ofrelational architectural patternsINTRODUCTIONThe three study areas are situated in an urban landscape in which the mainarchitectural layout distinguishes characteristic concentric growth belts. Inthe following diachronic investigation I will analyze interrelated patternswithin and between the architectural systems of each growth belt – asexplained in the previous chapter.The analyses are based on historical primary sources 253 as well as a numberof secondary sources (diverse aspects of the historical development of theurban landscape of Oslo have been studied more or less in detail byothers). 254The purpose of the analyses presented in this chapter is however primarily toprovide a background for understanding how patterns in recent architecturaltransformations, which is to be investigated in the next chapter (chapter 5),relate to these historical architectural patterns – as well as a background forunderstanding how patterns in individual urban practices, to be investigatedin chapter 6, relates to both.253 historical city maps, architectural drawings of different types of buildings in the study areas (gathered fromthe archives of Oslo municipality, Plan- og bygningsetaten); historical photos (Oslo Byarkiv); historicalregisters of businesses and enterprises; original plan documents.254 Kjelstadlie/Myhre/Benum, Aslaksby, Østerberg and others.135


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2THE ARCHITECTURAL STRUCTURE BEFORE 1850Primary elements from before 1850The landscape situation and the node that constituted urban developmentfrom the beginning – the crossroad between the old traffic arteries and thenatural harbour in the inner end of the Oslo fjord 255 – is a constitutiveprimary element in the urban landscape of Oslo. Although the actual physicalform and content of the node has changed as the means of communicationspecifically, and the urban society and the urban structure in general, hasdeveloped, the node still represents a place of centrality, density in encountersituations, and dynamics related to contact with the world outside the urbanlandscape.The medieval urban structure of the city burnt down in 1624 and wasabandoned after the Danish-Norwegian King Christian IV decided to movethe city further west, close to the castle. The medieval fragments (paths,churches and cloister ruins) can still be considered as primary elements, inthe sense that they are physical, tangible, architectural elements related to thecollective memory and the history of the city.The Kings city – since Medieval times, Akershus castle was the seat of theNorwegian kings. During the Danish-Norwegian union (1380-1814) thepower-relation between the two cities Oslo and Bergen changed in favour ofOslo. The architectural system of the renaissance grid relates to the Akershuscastle: the fortified city within the urban walls. (I will soon return to thedifferences between the renaissance grid and later grid plans).The rivers Akerselva and Lo – were important in the pre-industrialcommercial development by providing water, transportation and power formills, sawmills, etc.The Capital city with the 19 th century monumental spatial ensemble of theKarl Johans gate axis, laid out between the 19 th century castle, the parliamentand the central railway station and flanked by all the monumental nationalinstitutional buildings, is another primary element in the urban centre. (Theplans for the two monumental spatial ensembles of the urban centre – theplan for Karl Johans gate of 1836-38, and the plan of 1839 for its easterncounterpart in Torggata – defines these two axis in relation to each other).255 The ancient name of the Oslo-fjord was “Viken”, which also is the etymological root of the term “Viking”.136


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2Diagram drawn on a city map from 1844 to outline primary elements from before 1850: Thelandscape situation, the node (old traffic arteries ending at the urban border and the shoreline),the rivers of Akerselva (north-south) and Lo 256 (east-west), the medieval fragments east ofBjøvika, the old fort/castle (zigzag), the renaissance grid (red), and the classicistic spatialensemble of the monumental national institutions of the new capital (since 1814): the axis ofKarl Johans gate. Notice the limited area of the developed urban area – by 1850 Oslo only had28,984 registered inhabitants – and the difference in scale and spatial structure of the regulatedarea within the urban border and the suburban settlements along traffic arteries and in largersuburbs.256 The first urban settlement developed by the outlet (”os” in Norwegian) of the river Lo, thereby the name Os+ Lo = Oslo.137


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2Architectural systems and environmental types from before 1850The pre-industrial environmental types relate to the everyday rhythms of thepre-industrial society. Except for the renaissance street grid (which I soonwill return to) and the wooden suburbs (which are described below), thepresence of architectural elements representing environmental types frombefore 1850 do not represent recognizable spatial logics that today define thesocio-spatial functionality of larger domestic areas. The medieval fragments– particularly in the Grønland/Gamlebyen area, the Akershus castle, and eventhe representative spatial ensembles of the capital – mainly affect otheraspects of spatial contextuality than characteristics concerning repertoires ofencounter situations, aspects of image and everyday rhythms of urbanneighborhoods, which all are central issues in my empirical study.The traditional wooden suburbs represent a pre-industrial environmental typebased on craft businesses. The wooden suburbs were established outside theurban borders and were therefore not affected by legislations to build in brickor stone. Many craftsmen built their houses themselves, primarily as homesfor the craftsmens’ family but also for apprentices and some tenants. Mosthouses were built to contain a small private craft industry in relation to thedwelling. 257 The design of the buildings varied (as they were individuallydesigned and built), and the streets were usually bent, due to naturalconditions (like soil conditions) rather than geometries of a plan. The housingunits were built towards the street, with side- and out-buildings in the yard,for livestock and the actual workshop. Most of the buildings had two floors,external staircases and contained galleries towards the yard. In addition to theowner’s dwelling unit, the buildings often had 2-3 apartments. In general theapartments had one or two rooms and kitchen, and shared privet in theoutbuilding. 258In contrast to similar environmental types in smaller towns, the woodensuburbs in Oslo were specialized clusters serving the city with craftsmenservices. The areas were therefore not spatially integrated with the city’spublic representative spatial ensembles and its marketplaces, monuments andsquares, which all were meant to serve a larger public of urban citizens.Thereby the (technically speaking) public streets of the wooden suburbs donot in general represent an urban “publicness”; the streets are mainlyneighbourhood spaces. Strangers may have strolled through them, but mostly257 Lars Roede 2001: Byen bytter byggeskikk: Christiania 1624-1814, CON-TEXT, Doctoral Thesis, The OsloSchool of Architecture and Design.258 Pål Henry Engh & Arne Gunnarsjaa 1984: Oslo – en arkitekturguide, Oslo, Universitetsforlaget, p. 86-88,98-100, 109.138


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2people living in the neighbourhood and their visitors had reasons to walkthese streets.The typological characteristics of the wooden suburbs that developedoutside the 17 th century urban border, such as at Vaterland and Enerhaugen,do not differ much from the characteristics of the wooden suburbs that weredeveloped just outside, and in time just before the extensions of, the area ofurban jurisdiction: Before the city extension of 1859 the suburbs of Ny Yorkand Galgeberg developed, and before the extension of 1878 the suburbs ofVålerenga, Kampen and Rodeløkka were established.From Maridalsveien in 1902, Oslo City Archives.More or less a century later, after the 1960s, some of these woodensuburban areas were demolished and replaced with modern buildingtypologies: Slab blocks at Enerhaugen, and more gradual transformation withother kinds of modern apartment block typologies at Ny York, Kampen andVålerenga. But most of these combined workshop and multiple familyhousing units in the other suburban areas, i.e. the restored areas of Kampen,Vålerenga, Rodeløkka, have been rehabilitated and transformed into singlefamily houses with garden or yard. This process of urban transformation isoften described as a first phase of gentrification in Oslo. In contrast to theradical, in architectural terms, transformation at Enerhaugen – the dramaticchange from a suburb built in wood to slab blocks (in which only the densitywas preserved) – the architectural scenery at Vålerenga, Kampen andRodeløkka has more or less been preserved. In this way aspects ofarchitecture that are most easily associated with an area’s image, have beenmaintained. But the density – related to the number of inhabitants within the139


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2area, and to repertoires of shared everyday facilities of encounter situations –has dramatically decreased.Parks and public accessible gardens before 1850The first public parks in Oslo were upper class parade parks, established early19 th century. 259 Until then a few private renaissance gardens had been open toa promenading public. 260 In the new public parks fences, daytime openinghours and park guards were considered necessary to protect the planting fromvandalism, theft, dogs and grazing livestock. 261 However, in the 1840s thebuilt urban area of the town only stretched out 0,35 km 2 , which meant thatmost of the inhabitants in the small town had easy access to the surroundingopen greenery.259 Grønningen/Børsparken, Slottsparken, Grev Wedels plass260 Marselienborg, Ruseløkken, Munkedammen, Sorgenfri etc261 Røhme 1967.140


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2THE 1850-1900 INDUSTRIAL GROWTH BELTDiagrammatic illustration drawn on a city map of 1911 to outline the grid plans for the adjacentstudy areas of Grünerløkka (northern part of the grid) and Grønland (south-eastern part of thegrid), the Akerselva river, the harbour area, and the main railway lines.Primary elementsAkerselva: The first and second generation 262 of industrial developmentalong the river Akerselva is related to the architectural system that wasdefined by the urban plans for the spatial ensembles of the 19 th centuryclassicistic grid.262 The 19 th century industrial development is usually divided into three periods or generations of industrialestablishment, related to both technological and spatial development: Firstly, pre-capitalist industrialdevelopment: construction of mills (sawmills, paper mills etc.) along the river. The river was used both fortimber transportation and as a source of power (this had developed gradually since the 14 th century). Secondly,capitalist industrial development, which boomed from the middle of the 19 th century: Labour-demandingmechanical industry was established along the river, using the river both as a source of power and runningwater, but also as outlet. This industrial development went parallel to, and was mutually dependent of, thedevelopment of large urban areas with housing, private and public service etc. in the vicinity of the factories.Thirdly, due to developments in infrastructure and other power sources, factories were freed from theirdependence on direct contact with the river. Proximity to the labour force was for some time though stillconsidered useful. New kinds of factories were established elsewhere along the river, filling up whole blockswithin the urban grid (for example: Freia chocolate factory, the breweries of Ringnes and Schous).141


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2Akerselva was a constitutive element in the industrial development inOslo. The spatial ensemble of factory buildings along the river, flanked bydense 19 th century working class areas of “the industrial city”, can be seen asa monumental manifestation of the industrial era and the driving forces in the19 th century urbanization of Oslo (in which the population increased fromabout 23,000 inhabitants in 1840 to around 230,000 in 1900).With these developments Akerselva became the symbolic sociogeographicborder between the upper- and middle-class west and the workingclass east (east and west of the river). Technically speaking areas along bothsides of the river were quite similar both architecturally and socioeconomically.In terms of socio-geographic differences the real borderexisted a bit further to the west, but Akerselva remained the symbolic borderbetween working class and middle class in the social landscape of Oslo.The harbour: Between 1850 and 1870 Norway became the world’s thirdlargest shipping nation. Around 1900, Oslo was the main import harbour inNorway, furthermore many of the most important international passengersteamers, serving countries in Europe, Africa and America, arrived anddeparted from Oslo harbour. In the same way as the railway station was thephysical place where the city of Oslo met the districts, the harbour was thephysical place where the city of Oslo, and its countryside, met with foreigncountries. The harbour – situated around the bays of Pipervika and Bjørvikaand in the vicinity of Oslo’s two main railway stations, containing functionsand activities such as shipyards, cargo storage, loading and unloading, andpassenger traffic – can be seen as a physical manifestation of the rapidlydeveloping logistics of the industrialized city of Oslo.Grid plans “with direction”: The orthogonal classical street plans that wereregulated in this first growth belt resemble the previous Renaissance streetplan (Kvadraturen), but differs from the latter in two ways. While the cityplans of the Renaissance aimed at regulating the area inside the walls of thecity − all traffic arteries were lead to and not through the centre – the 19 thcentury classicism’s street plans were created for urban growth areas outsideof the old city walls, related to industrial developments. In this way the 19 thcentury street grids supported and contributed to define radial directions ofmovement; back and forth between the periphery and the city centre.Apart from a place for execution (Christiania torg) originally all thesquares of the Renaissance city were placed outside the grid system, at pointswhere the main traffic arteries met the city wall. Also in this respect the 19 thcentury grid is different: both parks and squares were an integrated part of thegrid system.142


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2The grid system-plans of the Renaissance (such as Kvadraturen in Oslo)defined a finite whole and were characterized by orthogonal grid systems ofalike streets that were equally broad and equally important – spatially,socially, and in terms of traffic. In contrast the 19 th century street grid definesa subtle hierarchy of main streets, side streets and back streets.In Europe, the 19 th century street grids of the rapidly growing industrialcities contained two different types of main streets: 263 avenues (radial trafficarteries), connecting the city with the world outside, and boulevards(concentric traffic arteries), connecting different parts of the city. Theavenues, leading people and goods from the periphery to the city,traditionally developed as busy shopping/business streets. The boulevardshad a more spacious design. Traditionally boulevards were constructed onbulwarks, i.e. reminiscences of city walls, and they were equipped with aplanted area in the middle. 264 In Oslo at the beginning of the 19 th century themain representative spatial ensemble of the young national state was KarlJohans gate (that connected the main buildings of the new capital city: thecastle, the parliament, and several new national institutions) was designed asa boulevard. The radial traffic arteries through the industrial growth beltswere avenues.The urban growth belt of 1850-1900 was laid out with an orthogonal gridsystem of public streets, parks and squares (surrounded by public streets),and perimeter blocks of traditional urban apartment buildings. With thesedevelopments the pre-industrial socio-geographical division between citizensliving in half-timbered buildings and brick buildings inside the urban borders,and less privileged people living in wooden suburbs outside the urbanborders, was replaced by a new kind of the socio-geographic divisionbetween the industrial working class, living in the east of Oslo, and the upperand middle class in the west. Both classes though mainly lived in apartmentbuilding blocks.The architectural system of urban blocks from 1850 - 1900The street grid plans of the growth belts of 1850-1900 were laid out inbetween existing built structures:At Grünerløkka the planned main streets in the new street grid wereconnected to existing traffic arteries in the north and south, while the sidestreets connected the street grid with the industrial plants set along the263Thoroughly described in the contemporary classic masterpiece: Alphand, Jean-Charles Adolphe 1867-73:Les promenades de Paris, 2 vol, reprint, Princeton Architectural Press, 1984, and more technically in:Stefulesco, Caroline 1993: L’urbanisme végétale, Paris, Ed. du paysage, Institut pour le developpementforestier.264 The late 19 th century ring road-boulevard in Vienna – with series of public gardens and public monumentalinstitutions: an opera, a city hall, museums, a university and even the royal palace – is a very complete andillustrative example of an institutional and monumental bulwark-transformation.143


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2Akerselva river (and not to forget the bridges over Akerselva). The result wasa uniform, complete urban area following the same architectural grammar.Above: The main streets of Grünerløkka, with the Schous brewery in the foreground. Phototaken northwards in 1948 (Oslo City Archives).At Grønland the northern part of the street grid of the 1864-plan was laid outbetween existing linear settlements along the old traffic arteries (Grønlandand Lakkegata), later developments along Nordbygata, the wooden suburb atEnerhaugen and the Botanical Garden. The southern part of the street gridplanwas placed between the railway tracks (and the harbour) in the south, theprison in the east, and the existing structures along the main street (Grønland)to the north – as fragments of a new architectural grammar, subordinate to theexisting structures of the area.Although geometrically quite similar, and also to a certain extent similar inspatial configuration when it comes to apartment buildings, the situations inwhich the street grid-plans were put into effect were quite different, and sowas the way the street grids were connected to the existing structures.The architectural system of the industrial growth belt was produced toserve the rhythms of the 19 th century industrial city: the everyday rhythms ofworking hours and limited leisure time in functionally integrated workingclass neighborhoods with factories, shops, parks and dwellings, all more orless within walking distance.Parks, squares and open spacesThe first public parks in Oslo were designed as decorative green spaces forpromenades on gravel paths between flower beds and lawns on display. In144


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2the 1860s St Hanshaugen park was developed for a wider range ofrecreational activities and popular entertainment (restaurants, concerts, a zooetc.). But the public parks were still fenced off from the surrounding publicstreets, and park use was regulated by opening hours at daytime anduniformed guards supervising the park manners. (ref. Røhme)Neighbourhood parks were for the first time introduced in the 1870s aspart of the rapid development of working class areas (at Grünerløkka:Birkelunden and Olaf Ryes plass; in the suburbs outside the urban border:Kampen park and Vålerenga park). All of them were open parks that had aquite simple design, and they were surrounded by public streets. Birkelundenand Olaf Ryes plass were gravel squares bordered with planted rows of trees.At the turn of the century the municipal planning authorities acquiredlarger land properties for public recreational purposes at Ekeberg andFrogner. (ref. Røhme)The 19 th century urban apartment blockThe 19 th century urban apartment buildings (as at Grønland and Grünerløkka)were organized to exploit the street facade as much as possible: on the groundlevel there were day rooms or businesses, in the upper floors the rooms of theapartments were lined up against the street façade, while kitchen rooms,stairways and other subsidiary functions were located towards the lessattractive backyard. Thus the stairways had access from the backyard, whichbecame a common transit zone. Most of the apartments had indirect access tothe street through gateways, backyards and/or staircases. The backyards oftenhad little sunlight. 265Variations of the urban apartment building were accommodated fordifferent social classes in different geographical parts of the 19 th centurygrowth belt: 266 The upper class version in the west (ex. Oscars gate) was built with amain entrance (front staircase) directly from the street, and a secondentrance (back staircase) from the backyard (for deliveries, maids etc.),and contained larger apartments with several living rooms for265 The architectural system of the urban blocks, with the Berlin-inspired mietkasernen apartment blocks(designed by imported German architects) was an architectural system developed for housing productiondriven by private speculation: initiating housing production was not yet considered a public task. Even beforethe first development at Grünerløkka, the housing type was criticized and debated in newspapers such asMorgenbladet. The mietkasernen was described as “the work of Satan”, “a hotbed for social misery” and “abourgeois’ tool for suppressing the working class” – and small house areas for freeholders (like in the woodensuburbs). and garden cities was suggested as an alternative in the Morgenbladet debate, as early as in 1851.Baltersen, Carsen, Engh et al 1977: Ei bok om Oslo. Planlegging og byutvikling før 1950. Opptrykk av etsemester ved Arkitekthøgskolen i Oslo, Oslo, AHO-trykk, p.139.266 Odd Brochmann 1989: Stadskonduktøren. Om Georg Bull og Christiania i historismens år, Oslo, NorskArkitekturforlag.Pål Henry Engh & Arne Gunnarsjaa 1984: Oslo. En arkitekturguide, Oslo, Universitetsforlaget.145


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2representational use, private bathrooms and a lavatory, and also hadindividually designed ornamentation. The middle class version (St. Olavs gate was built with a main entrancefrom the gateway (main staircase), and with a second staircase that wasaccessed from the backyard. The working class version in the eastern areas (Thorvald Meyers gate1870, Øvre Foss 1899, Seilduksgata) was built with entrances(staircases) from the backyard, contained smaller apartments, and hadjoint pit privies with entrance from the staircase. In deeper plots anadditional apartment building was erected in the backyard (sometimeseven two buildings), with joint access from the public street through agateway. The apartment building towards the street had a plasteredfaçade with mass produced decorative renaissance motifs.Seen from the public streets the differences between the apartment buildingsin the eastern and western parts of the city are less evident than thedifferences one can find behind the facades, in the joint private spaces insidethe blocks and in the apartments themselves.From one of Grünerløkka’s main streets: Thorvald Meyers gate, early 20 th century. (Photo:Wilse)146


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2The long, straight, perspective street spaces of the 19 th century avenues,reinforced by the visual rhythms of the long façade-rows of 19 th centuryapartment buildings, provided Oslo with potentials for new kinds of sociospatialexperiences: the users were exposed to the dense bustle of the mixedactivities of a rapidly growing, but already reasonably large and dense urbanlandscape: The image of a young European industrial city (for better and forworse).All the buildings that filled the perimeter of the relatively large blocks onthese relatively small plots were realized as singular projects, as variations ofthe same type. The end result was a distinct visual rhythmic variation in thefaçade ensembles: The design of the street level façade indicated the(potential) different use rights related to the private spaces at the ground levelof the building, directly connected as they were to the public streets: Thegeneral layout of the floor plans could accommodate both for apartments(more often in side streets and back streets), smaller businesses and shops(more often in main streets and at the corners/crossroads in back- and sidestreets).An apartment at street level could quite easily be reconfigured into ashop or vice versa.The blocks from the 1860s and 1870s (lower Grünerløkka) were internallyfunctionally mixed: Both workshops, smaller industry, stables, shops andapartment buildings were located in the interior of the deeper blocks, all ofthem with street entrance through gateways. The three to four-storeyedapartment buildings at the perimeter of the blocks mostly containedapartments (and had shops and smaller businesses at street level) and werequite uniformly designed. The workshops, storage buildings and differentbusinesses in the backyards were architecturally more diverse. 267Grünerløkka was built in three periods: the first phase was just before theextension of the urban border in 1859, a second phase with most pronouncedbuilding activity in the 1870s, and a third phase culminating in the 1890s.The architectural differences between the areas that were built in these threeperiods can easily be distinguished: If we take a close look at a detailed citymap from 1947, 268 we can observe differences between the blocks that wereconstructed during the boom in the 1890’s and the blocks built between 1850and 1890 (most pronounced in the 1870s). The 1890s-blocks are denser,functionally more segregated and spatially more hierarchical. Furthermorethe detailing of the facades supports the spatial differences between mainstreets and side and back streets. The gateway from the street often serves267 The differences in the uses of the interior of the block in the broader and functionally more mixed 1870’sblocks(south) and the mono-functional, domestic 1890-blocks (north and west) can also be read out of thedetailed 1947 city map, Oslo City Archives.268 Or at a registration map documenting the spatial distribution of jobs, people, shops, industrial enterprisesetc. in 1930s Oslo: Sund, Tore & Isachsen, Frithjov 1942: Bosteder og arbeidssteder i Oslo, Oslo kommune.147


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2more than one apartment building, the back- and side-buildings are added to a=shape and a L-shape, and not an U-shape or a T-shape as in the densercontemporary Berlin- and Paris-types. Higher exploitation after 1875 269 gavenarrower and darker backyards; these backyards were not designed as placesto stay or play. The dayrooms facing the backyards were only rarely exposedto direct sunlight.Backyards at Grünerløkka before the urban renewal program: narrow and dark backyards, reallynot designed as places to stay, play or recreate. (Undated photos from Oslo City Archives).In the 1890s a development of functional segregation started with separateblocks for housing, and also larger industrial enterprises, schools and otherpublic institutions filled up whole blocks, i.e. a development of functionalsegregation restricted to block level. 270 The street spaces that connected theblocks were still functionally diverse; both traffic to and from factories,homes, shops, workshops and parks mixed in the public street grid. Thehierarchical distinction between main streets, side streets and back streets wassubtle 271 : the main streets are wider (18 meters from wall to wall, butoccasionally 21 meters), the sightlines of the straight street spaces are longer(more buildings and entrances face the same open space), and, as they aredirectly connected to radial traffic arteries in both ends, more strangers passthrough these street spaces. The side streets and the back streets are slightlynarrower (15 and 12 meters wide), the sightlines or the length of the straightstreet spaces are shorter, and thereby the balance between strangers and localinhabitants using these streets are more in favor of local neighbors.269 Cf. the new building regulations of 1875: 5 floors, staircases in flame-proof material, a minimum openbackyard-space of ¼ of the total built area (in contrast to ¼ of the total plot in the building regulations from1858) (Aslaksby: 1986: pp162-206).270 Functional segregation distinguished the 1890-blocks from the 1870-blocks. Similar developments can beobserved in contemporary European examples (Stockholm, Berlin, Paris).271 The building regulation of 1845 demanded rectilinear urban block grids, brick buildings and street-gridplans for all urban development in new areas of all Norwegian cities and towns, and regulated form and widthof both streets and blocks. Rectilinear street-grid plans dominated the urban development in Scandinavia andmost of Europe in the last part of the 19 th century.148


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2IconographyIn the 19 th century, different architectural style elements were consciouslyselected and used to provide buildings with a certain character or ambiance.This period of architectural historicism manifested itself in a number ofarchitectural neo-styles: Different architectural styles were used as scenery togive certain associations. For instance were churches, such as Paulus kirke atGrünerløkka, often built in a neo-gothic style, to give association to piousmedieval times. The apartment blocks at Grünerløkka and Grønland, as wellas in contemporary European projects, were applied plastering and neoclassicaldetails to give associations to the renaissance palaces of the Italianurban bourgeoisie and as such playing upon classical antique ideals of urbancitizenry.Within the system of public urban street-spaces patterns of distinction canbe observed in the detailing of the façades. The working class areas in theeast had predominantly simpler, mass-produced neo-renaissance detailing,and the upper class western areas had more ornamented, individuallydesigned detailing. Such iconographical differences can however also beobserved at block level: plastered and decorated street façades in the moreprestigious front apartment buildings and simpler un-plastered facades in thebackyard apartment buildings, and likewise differences in detailing betweenfacades on main streets, side streets and back streets Even more, theiconography of the façade differed between the floors of a building: One ofthe floors (usually the first floor, occasionally, for instance at Grünerløkka,the second floor) often had larger apartments with higher ceilings, and thedistinction of such a “belle etage” was reflected in the street façade by morecareful detailing.149


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2THE 1900-50 EARLY MODERNIST GROWTH BELTThe architectural system of this growth belt can be seen as an evolutionarystep between the architectural systems that define the layout of my studyareas of Grünerløkka and Grønland (before) and Furuset (after). This impliesthat there are distinguishable patterns of contrasts and association in how thearchitectural system was developed in relation to factors such as discontentwith the performance of existing architectural systems, the origin of newsocial ideals and environmental tool-kits, and conceptions of new demands orchallenges. Some of the new architectural principles introduced by the spatiallogic of this architectural system were further developed in the architecturalsystem of the next growth belt (i.e. in the General plan of 1950); others wereabandoned and replaced by new ideas.The architectural system of the reformed urban block in the earlymodernist growth belt was, as we soon will see, partly developed to work as asupplement and remedy to what was conceived as lacks and problems in theprevious growth belt. Thereby the new growth belt implied changes not onlyin the situation of new areas that were to be developed, but also, at least overtime, in the situation of the areas in the previous growth belt.As we shall see later, the recent morphological transformation of thetraditional urban block areas (at Grünerløkka and Grønland) related to theurban renewal program (since 1980) implied adjustments of the traditionalurban block system towards principles that could be found in the system ofthe reformed urban block that was developed as an integral part of the earlymodernist growth belt.The growth belt of 1900-1950 stretches from Tøyen in the east to Majorstuain west, 272 and it was mainly developed in the areas between the 19 th centuryurban block system, the 19 th century wooden suburbs in the southeast, and thecity’s administrative border of 1878. Just outside the city border, in themunicipality of Aker, both public and private developers acquired anddeveloped social housing projects that followed the same planning principles.Next page above: On this city map from 1911 (Oslo’s administrative borders from 1878outlined) we can see that there still were open areas within the city’s administrative borders.Next page under: As we can see on this city map from 1949: When the adjacent municipalities ofEastern and Western Aker were incorporated into the jurisdiction-area of Oslo municipality (andindeed Oslo Municipal planning office) in 1948, most of the area within the former urban border(outlined) was developed.272 Ref. map showing new buildings in Oslo 1911-1936: Bilag til Oslo kommunale 25-års beretning, Oslomålestokk 1: 15 000, Nybygg 1911-1936, Oslo oppmaalingsvesen. (Projects in Aker municipality, in areas thatfirst became part of Oslo in 1947 are not represented in this map).150


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R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2Primary elements and the architectural systemThe architectural system of the 1900-1950-growth belt was developed as aresponse to an extensive critique of the sanitary conditions of the industrial19 th century city: In the years between 1900 and 1940 several efforts weremade to produce an overall master plan for the future development of Oslo.But neither Hjalmar Torp’s 1912-plan, were Harald Hals’ General plan of1929, the regional 1934-plan, nor new plans for the traffic system or the parksystem implemented as formal plan documents. 273 Still, these plans wereimportant documents in the contemporary planning discourse – in particularHals’ visionary 1929-general plan draft which provided analyses of theexisting situation, identified challenges and possibilities, and formulatedideas and ideals for future urban development. The planning principlesrepresented in these plans have formed both the main structural elements (thetraffic system, the system of parks and greenery) and the main characteristicsof the architectural system (introduction of zoning, segregation and spatialhierarchies) of this growth belt. The planning principles can therefore beconsidered as primary elements: 274The collapse in the building market in 1899 resulted in a decade of stagnationin the housing production in Oslo. Meanwhile, the population kept growing,and both housing shortage and problems related to sanitary conditions in theovercrowded working class areas of the 19 th century, became increasinglyacute.The architectural system of the growth belt of 1900-50 was developed asan answer to the critique of the sanitary conditions in the 19 th industrial city:i.e. as attempts to combine new social and hygienic ambitions within theframework of building social housing. In the Norwegian discourse on theproblems of the 19 th city, Grünerløkka was the most frequently used example,illustrative of despised urban form that stole air, light, play and life from the273 The principles of the 1929-general plan draft were further developed in 7 area plans that were politicallypassed between 1938 and 1947 (Beretning Oslo kommune 1912-1947, Oslo 1952). The 1934 regional plan waspolitically passed by all the involved municipal councils, but without authorization in the legislative system,the plan document could not be formally implemented. This is not as strange and unusual as it may seem. Insituations of societal change and rapid urban development, the organization of planning institutions, theirformal planning tools and legislative means to control the development, lie behind in development. As aconsequence, ambitious efforts to deal with situations of new and rapid change often result in public planningdocuments that lack means for implementation and realization.274 Notice that it is the organizational, spatial planning principles and not the plans as such that are describedas primary elements. In this period, as in most periods of the planning history of Oslo, new planning principleswere developed and realized through projects both prior to and parallel to the development of the plandocuments. In contrast to the General plan of 1950, which formulated and defined the planning principles andthe main layout of the forthcoming growth belt (i.e. before the more detailed plans and projects weredeveloped), the planning principles of the growth belt of 1900-1950 were developed through a number ofpartial plans and projects.152


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2residents: 275 People were now to be rescued from the dark, dirty andunhealthy backyards. 276This entailed a focus on more air (natural ventilation) and daylight indomestic units, and public access to recreational activities in sports arenasand greenery, but also on establishing a better system of institutions for massculture and general education. Speed, mobility and efficient transportation,and a focus on environmental disadvantages related to mixing housing andpolluting activities, entailed architectural solutions with functional zoning,and a more hierarchical traffic system.As described in Hals’ 1929 general plan, 277 the functionally specialized zoneswere based on an idea of the city as an organic entity, in which differentfunctions were connected and set to complement each other to form a totality:An urban organism that was concentrically organized around the city center –in contrast to later polycentric ideas developed after 1950. 278 This impliedthat the new urban areas not only were planned to serve its new inhabitants,but also to comprise a repertoire of collective modern institutions andstructures serving the whole urban society: The functionalistic growth beltsupplied the urban landscape with a range of new public and semi-publicinstitutions for popular culture, health and general education: cinemas, sportsarenas, museums, public baths and swimming pools, public seaside resorts(outside the growth belt), large folk parks, health centres, and libraries, inaddition to a hospital and a new university campus (at Blindern). Theincreased focus on recreational arenas was of course also related to the factthat people had more spare time; what was an average of 12 hours workingdays in 1900 was reduced to an average of 8 hours working day after 1918-1919. 279 Since the new popular, public institutions were built to serve the275 Knut Kjelstadlie 1990: Den delte byen. Fra 1900 til 1948. Vol. 4 in Oslo bys historie, Oslo, Cappelensforlag, p. 371.276 The sanitary problems were related to three characteristics of the 19th century urban blocks that effectedepidemic situations and gave short life time expectancy in working class areas: 1) cholera – related to the jointuse of pit privies and lack of private bathrooms; 2) tuberculosis and other infectious air-born diseases – relatedto overcrowded apartments and lack of natural ventilation and disinfecting sunlight that could have preventeddroplet infection; and 3) general health weakness, high infant mortality and immunity problems among thepopulace – related to polluted air, long working days and lack of easy access to spaces for recreational play,sports and exercise in fresh air/greenery. In addition, social problems related to class-related segregation of thecity’s housing areas, and lack of easy access to collective spaces for recreation and general education, wereconsidered as problems that were related to urban form. As such the problems might be possible to remedy –even if not solved completely – by new architectural solutions.277 Harald Hals 1929: Fra Christiania til Stor-Oslo, Oslo.278 Hals’ use of metaphors in his 1929-general plan is analyzed in Jonny Aspen 2003: Byplanlegging somrepresentasjon – en analyse av Harald Hals’ generalplan for Oslo av 1929, PhD thesis, AHO, Oslo, pp 286-95. Hals’ extensive use of physiological metaphors, as when he describes the city as a “living body” (Hals1929: p. 48), claims that the parts of the city are connected like “molecules in a body” (p. 96), discusses the“urban organism” (p. 201, 211) and describes the network of streets as “the skeleton of the urban plan” (p.122), can however also be read as illustrations emphasizing the idea that the development of the new urbanareas not only were supposed to provide the inhabitants with better housing conditions, but also solve lacksand problems in the existing working class areas by providing the whole city with a structure of spaces formodern collective recreational activities: mass culture, sports, etc.279 Kjelstadlie 1990: p.424153


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2whole urban society, both geographically and socially, they were to be neatlyintegrated with a new system of public transport (either in the city centre oralong tramway lines and main street bus lines). The geographical distributionof the new collective institutions and the efficiency of the public transportsystem provided both the new growth belt and elder neighborhoods withrelatively easy access to an integrated system of arenas for modern collectivemass-culture. 280The housing types of the reformed urban block system introduced ahierarchical system of green outdoor spaces: small private (front) gardens(though not in all new housing units), shared private spaces for more or lessassigned 281 integration of neighbours, public or semi-public neighborhoodparks and/or open greenery. The new neighborhoods were now also suppliedwith monumental spatial ensembles (as for instance Hegermanns plass atTorshov and Damplassen at Ullevål Hageby) that neither were directlyconnected to nor integrated as a part of the transport system. The streetsystem 282 was hierarchically differentiated, and thereby also more segregatedthan earlier: with a system of main streets 283 (by-pass roads: Henrik Ibsensring and Kirkeveien; and radial traffic arteries), narrower neighborhoodstreets, and local domestic streets. The old traffic arteries in this system(Bogstadveien, Vogts gate) were integrated both in terms of functions andusers. The new streets in the transport system were more or less segregated,both in terms of functions/activities in the adjacent buildings and by givingpriority to through traffic (Sognsveien, Uelandsgate, parts of Kirkeveien).But the adjacent buildings were still to be spatially organized to define andsupport the street spaces, and for the pedestrians all the streets were stillmeant for walking and crossing (and any place inside the urban borders couldbe reached within no more than half an hour walk). In this way thearchitectural system of the reformed urban blocks represented a continuationof the street-block system of the traditional rectilinear street grids. Newbuilding typologies, the opening up of the blocks, and the hierarchicaldifferentiation of public street spaces introduced a wider repertoire of outdoor280 Kjelstadlie 1990: p. 418-433.281 Assigned integration in the sense that the design of the spatial system intentionally forces spatial copresenceof a limited range of activities and social categories of users, such as for instance when theapartments of a block share a courtyard that also works as a common entrance zone: The inhabitants canchoose not to stay or play in the courtyard, but each time they come or leave home, they will have to passthrough the courtyard and be confronted with neighbours living in the block. When the ranges of socialactivities or social categories of users is more extended (such as in a public park or in a public street), thespatially dense co-presence generally does in not work as socially confronting: since the different users mayhave a whole range of different reasons for being in the same place at the same time, one doesn’t in the sameway expect them to interact. With a limited range of activities or social categories of users (as in a courtyardplayground or in sitting area) the users are almost forced to greet each other, in order to ease confrontation.282 Hjalmar Torp’s 1912-plan replaced the former rectilinear street-grid plan and suggested a street geometrythat followed the topography (to avoid unnecessary intersections). Both Torp (1912-plan) and later Hals (1929-plan) suggested hierarchical differentiation of the street system.283 The highest level in the hierarchy – the highways – was introduced in the regional 1934-plan, but realizedmuch later.154


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2spaces – but the street system was still the main structural element of theurban landscape.The introduction of hierarchical systems of outdoor spaces implied that mostof the spaces directly connected with the private homes in the housingquarters within the new growth zone were to be separated from encounterswith strangers. At the same time the whole system of parks and cultural andpopular institutions, and the service and commercial activities located inrelation to the system of public main streets, provided the residents of thehousing quarters with easy access to a broad repertoire of socio-spatialsituations of dense co-presence with strangers – all of it within reasonablevicinity of their home.In the traditional urban block areas of the 19 th century street-grid planseach block was divided into a large number of plots. Each of the blocks weredeveloped as singular projects, generating a distinct visual rhythmic variationthat could be seen in the façade ensembles. In contrast, the housingproduction of the reformed urban block period was organized quitedifferently: Both private and public developers acquired larger areas (fromthe size of a block and up to whole areas) that were to be designed anddeveloped as singular projects, as finite architectural oeuvres. Many of thesehousing projects displayed ambitions of monumental urban design, by the useof both classical and modernistic means to stage and celebrate the collectivespatial ensembles (as can bee seen in Ilabyen and at Moløkken/Sagene andTorshov, etc.). In terms of ownership the architectural units usually were, asthey still are, organized in large units owned by housing cooperatives, incontrast to the apartment buildings at Grünerløkka that each usually haddifferent private owners.The homogeneous order or limited heterogeneity of minor elements thatdefined the architectural system of the reformed urban blocks was caused bythe existence of larger units than in the industrial urban block system: Asmall number of large cooperative actors were given the power to graduallytransform the image of whole areaa.Sport parks, playgrounds, lawns for useMarius Røhne, who in 1916 became the first employed “City gardener” inOslo, describesa shift from the dominating romantic and partly sentimentalnotion of the parks as the “lungs” of the city, providing health,rest, recreation, aesthetic pleasure and well-being – to the morerealistic and pragmatic notion that parks should serve thepresent and increasing need for free access to outdoor life,physical education throughout all seasons: Both these concerns155


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2most be combined. With both the city and the populationgrowing, the access to outfields outside the city is complicated,making it necessary to solve the need for free outdoor lifewithin the city. 284Planning and construction of playgrounds (for children) became a main issueof the department of parks and recreation. 285 Lawns were no longer only ondisplay, but for use.A system of radial park strings was gradually developed to connect theinner city with the forests and open greenery surrounding the city. 286 Incontrast to the “park-corridors” and “park-belts” of the later satellite towngrowth belt, these park strings were designed to connect the adjacent builtareas, and the park spaces along these continuous park strings were designedas public parks delimited by public streets, equipped for co-presence ofdiverse activities: the park strings contained music pavilions, different paths,benches, staircases and planting, playground equipment, fountains, sculpturesand skating rinks, sledging and skiing slopes in the winter (if the topographymade it possible), etc. In addition, a number of sports arenas were constructedin connection with the park system.At Grünerløkka the large graveyard around Petrus church, established in1858, was about to be filled up. After a local people’s movement, most of thegraveyard was in 1918 decided transformed into a public sports park, to becompletely opened by 1960. At the same time, the two main public folk parksin Oslo, Frognerparken and Ekeberg sportspark, was developed.284 Røhne himself wrote a history of the organisational and ideological development of the municipal parkadministrationand the development of the park-systems of Oslo: Marius Røhne 1967: Oslo kommunale parkerog grønnanlegg 1810-1948, Oslo, p.68 (my translation)285 In the study areas Grønland and Grünerløkka 14 new playgrounds were established in the existing publicparks. Røhne, p.96.286 The idea of the radial park system, including rehabilitation of the Akerselva riversides, was first developedin the 1916 plan for development of the parks system by Marius Røhme, and later incorporated in Hals’ 1929plan. Magne Bruun: “Visjon og virkelighet”, pp 14-41 in Ida Fossum Tønnesen & Dagfinn Tveito (ed.) 1991:Den grønne by. Oslo park- og idrettsvesen gjennom 75 år 1916-1991, Oslo, Grøndahl & Søn Forlag As. Alsodescribed in Marius Røhme 1967: Oslo kommunal parker og grønnanlegg 1810-1948, Oslo, Myhrespapirindstri as.156


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2Environmental types in the reformed urban block system of 1900-1945The architectural systems of the reformed urban blocks comprised threedifferent housing types: The garden city, the open block and the lamellarhouses. 287The Garden cityThe satellite garden city, as an urban prototype, was inspired by the village asa way of life, and was invented and tested out in England at the beginning ofthe 20 th century – as a reaction against observed problems of the traditionalindustrial working class areas. 288 Unlike the English prototype, the gardencity areas in Oslo were never planned as autonomous satellite towns, theywere planned to be garden suburbs. The garden cities in Oslo have a mix ofdifferent housing typologies: semi-detached houses (Arktanderbyen, 1910-11; Kværnerkolonien, 1913), (Ullevål hageby, 1913-22), semi-detachedhouses and 4-family houses (Holtet hageby, 1925-31), row-houses (LilleTøyen, 1916-22; Hoffsbyen, 1923), and 4-family houses (Tåsen haveby,1920-24). The largest and most complete garden city in Oslo is Ullevålhageby (1913-22), composed of single family houses, semi-detached houses,4-family houses, row houses, and 3-storey apartment buildings and shopscommunal square with shops. Ullevål hageby can therefore be considered asthe best example of the garden city model in Oslo:The detached buildings of the garden city are organized in an openpattern, loosely defining block-like units. The detached buildings are pulledback from the streets, and both the private front gardens and the visualopenings towards the shared gardens for mixed activities inside the “blocks”,constitute an image of a city of gardens. The street system of the garden citymakes use of the topography to segregate the private and shared outdoor287 Although named by different scale references (city/block/house) all three typologies define characteristicbuilding forms, characteristic ways of organizing spaces within and around the buildings, and characteristicways of organizing buildings and adjacent open spaces in relation to each other in larger ensembles.288 Cf. the ideas of Ebenezer Howard’s manifest (1898) on how the rapid growth and sanitary problems relatedto urban working class areas in 19 th century London, should be solved by decentralized, autonomous satellitetowns. The garden city was presented as the most economic and soundest solution for the growth of largercities. Each garden city was to function as a complete, small industrial town with an ideal number ofinhabitants, which, according to Howard, should be 30,000. The ideas in Tomorrow: A Peaceful Path to RealReform (1898) were further developed in Howard’s book The Garden Cities of Tomorrow (1902). Incooperation with the architects Parker & Unwin three different tests of the prototype were set out in life:Letchworth (1904) – the first garden city built according to the economic development-model of Howard andthe first important realization by Raymon Unwin and Barry Parker; Hampstead (1909) – the first gardensuburb built according to the design ideas of Unwin; and Welwyn (1919) – the first garden city that combinedin the same project the theories of Howard and the practical models of Unwin. Unwin had borrowed elementsfrom the traditional English village – such at the village green, the cul-de-sac and the quadrangle, the small andrepresentative front garden, the communal green, the semi-public sequential village street, etc. – andreinterpreted and elaborated them into a sophisticated system of qualitatively differentiated and more or lesscommunal spaces, all of them wrapped in neoclassic brick architecture. Raymond Unwin 1902: Town Planningin Practice: An Introduction to the Art of Designing Cities and Suburbs, London, Fisher Unwin;Philippe Panerai, Jean Castex et al 2004: Urban forms. The death and life of the urban block, Oxford, ElsevierArchitectural press, pp. 30-55; Tore Brantenberg 2002: Hus i hage. Privatliv og fellesskap i små og storeboligområder, Oslo, Arkitekturforlaget/Den Norske Stats Husbank.157


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2spaces from passing by traffic. In the main streets passing through the gardencity – the radial traffic artery of Sognsveien and the more local John Colletsallé – the use of soft intersections defines the planted street spaces standingbelow the gardens and the houses. In addition, the curved neighbourhoodstreets distinguish the intimacy of the internal streets from the sightlines offast movement in the main streets of through traffic.Both the park 289 on the small hill and the communal square is located inbetween,but not in direct contact with, the two main streets of Sognsveienand John Collets allé, as such they are only directly related to the crosssections.As such the neighbourhood-character of these semi-public spacesare emphasized, in contrast to the far more public character of the squarenamed John Collets plass (at the crossroads of Sognsveien and John Colletsallé), where a cinema was located. Strangers may stroll through the gardencity area (which they probably also do) – to admire the park-like gardenimage, the elegant but still intimate architecture, the shifting views of thecurved neighbourhood streets, or to visit the shops at the communal squareand appreciate its monumental architecture and the artificial pond –, but thegarden city does not provide strangers with public spaces to stay in.The open block combines aspects of the garden city-type with aspects of thetraditional urban block-type. The open block-type is open in the sense thatthe interior of the block forms an open, usually green and plantedcourtyard 290 – sufficiently large and wide enough to let sunlight in and toaccommodate for a variety of activities. In the same way as public parks aresurrounded by public streets, the common garden of these courtyards areusually delimited by paths that distinguish the communal area from the moreprivate greenery along the entrance zones of the uniformly designed rim ofthe buildings. The shared private courtyard is usually both visible andaccessible through openings towards at least some of the surrounding publicstreets. The open blocks are usually organized in groups, defining ahierarchical distinction between the bent neighborhood streets and adjacentsquares, and the more spacious and straighter main public streets. The openblock-projects from this period of Oslo’s development were monumentallydesigned, giving the semi-public and public spatial ensembles sculpturingqualities. 291 In the same way as the traditional urban blocks, the 3-5 storey289 “The village green” according to Unwin’s receipt.290 In Norwegian the type is called “Storgårdskvartalet”, in German “Der Grosshofblock” – both names can beassociated with a courtyard. For some time I chose to use the English term the “the yard-block”, but as “theopen block” describes aspects of form that are related to its function (how it is formed to integrate), but alsopoints at its subtle distinction from the traditional urban block, I have found that term a better and moretypological name, although, as the entire architectural system deals with reformed and opened blocks, it maybeis a little too general.291 The use of these initially social housing projects to create grand and monumental spatial ensembles was anew feature in Oslo, and also became quite disputed (as I will come back to). The apartments were small andmodest (mostly 2 rooms with kitchen, central heating, wc and electricity; bathrooms were not standard before158


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2apartment buildings of the open blocks are laid at perimeters of the block.Unlike in connection to the detached buildings of the garden cities, closedstreet spaces were in this way defined. Like the garden city-type, the openblock-type also defines a hierarchy of architecturally differentiated outdoorspaces, with private, common and public characteristics. Inside the domesticareas curved neighborhood streets created more intimate, sequential streetspaces. 292 (Examples: Lindern, 1917-21; Torshov, 1917-21; Jessenløkka,1919; Rosenhoff, 1914; Nordre [1925-27] & Søndre [1929-30] Åsen).The garden city-scheme turned out to be far too expensive to function asaffordable social housing that could solve the housing shortage problemamong the working class. In terms of higher density the open block-typerepresented a more economical way of exploiting the plots. It also hadconsiderable potential for more rational construction methods. But also theapartments in the open block-projects turned out to be significantly moreexpensive than the available alternative for industrial workers: to rentapartments in older apartment blocks or cottage-like suburbs outside the city(southeast and northeast in Aker). 293The lamellar house is a modern apartment block-type, based on hygienic,anti-epidemic ideas – providing each apartment with more air (naturalthe mid 1930s). Related to the contemporary and later critique of the striking contrast between the monumentalbuilding volumes and the small and modest apartments, the Swedish architectural historian Björn Linncomments that the standards of the apartments were normal for the period and that the emphasis on aestheticsand spatial arrangements that could be seen in the Norwegian examples – where the social housing programwas used as an opportunity to create grandness in order to celebrate the public spaces of the modern city – hadqualities that were applauded internationally. Björn Linn 1974: Storgårdskvarteret. Ett bebyggelsemönstersbakgrund och karaktär, Stockholm, Statens institut för byggnadsforskning, p 235.292 Bjørn Linn relates this tendency to inspiration from the American City Beautiful-movement. (1974: 235).Tore Brantenberg describes the softly curved streets as an effort to avoid the monotonous regularity of theindustrial urban block areas, and the differentiated design of each block as an effort to create character andidentity. According to Brantenberg both tendencies were influenced by Camillo Sitte’s Städtebau nacht seinerKünstlerischen Grundsätze from 1889. Tore Brantenberg 1997: Byboligen. På vei mot en ny boform, Oslo,Norsk Arkitekturforlag/Den Norske Stats Husbank, pp 187-188.293 Even when we take into consideration the private bathrooms and wc-fascilities, the rent of apartments inthese municipal housing projects were unreasonable high compared with apartments in the older traditionalurban blocks. At Lindern, for instance, the rent in 1919 was kr. 75,- for a 2-room apartment, and kr. 100,- for a3-room apartment, which was more than twice the rent of similar apartments in older apartment blocks.(Baltzersen, Carlsen, Engh et al.: Ei bok om Oslo – planlegging og byutvikling før 1950, student project OsloSchool of Architecture, Oslo, AHO-trykk 1977, p 179). The housing shortage also brought abut furthersuburban developments of private houses and also illegally built small cottage-like settlements outside the cityborders (for instance in Groruddalen and at Ekeberg, Hauketo, and Ljan) (Ibid, p 301). This developmentraised severe criticism in the magazine PLAN which was produced and published by a group of young, radicalarchitects in “Socialistiske Arkitekters Forening” (the magazine was published in 4 issues in the period 1933-1936). In PLAN Harald Hals was criticized for focusing too much on aesthetical concerns and for inefficientsolutions regarding the issue of increasing housing shortage. He was accused of being occupied with“patisserie-art” rather than urban planning that could solve “the essential urban problems”. The PLANmagazinepresented a range of studies of housing typologies for “existence minimum”, studies and suggestionsof possible functionalist-inspired improvements of architectural solutions at different levels, from overalltraffic systems to solutions for industrial rationalization of the housing production, and the layout of kitchensand bathrooms. In PLAN, issue 4, 1936, Erik Rolfsen analyzed the 1934-plan for Greater Oslo and discussedhow the principles of zoning and introduction of a more thorough hierarchical traffic system could be furtherdeveloped into a scheme for efficient transportation and efficient housing mass-production. A wide distributionof high-rise and lamellae buildings with considerable “light, air and greenery” was also seen as a part of thescheme. Erik Rolfsen later became in charge of the General Plan of 1950.159


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2ventilation) and daylight than the traditional urban block. The lamellar houserepresents modernist ideals of housing units as freestanding objects in anopen free space, in a contrast to the traditional urban tissue where thebuildings configure a more labyrinthine structure of more or less open, mixedand busy urban spaces defined by walls of buildings. The openness of theoutdoor spaces between lamellar buildings lets in more sun and wind, as wellas it gives more insight from outside into the areas surrounding the buildings– in contrast to the architecturally clearly defined borderlines between publicand shared use-rights in areas of both traditional urban blocks and openblocks.The lamellar house has in general between two and five floors, two ormore staircases (in principle no elevators), and between two and fourapartments per floor per staircase. 294 The first lamella blocks in Oslo (theRivertz complex, 1912 295 ) followed the geometry of a block/street-grid, butin contrast to the traditional apartment block, the entrances to the lamellarhouses are from internal streets that are laid out in the shared green openspaces between the buildings. As such there is no direct access from thebuildings to the public street. A shared private lawn belt buffers the directcontact between the façades and the public street space (in contrast to thesidewalks that stick along the street facades of the traditional urban apartmentbuilding). In principle, the lamellar block is to be part of a larger group ofsimilar buildings, and to be configured as an open spatial pattern integratedwith greenery. Usually the buildings are either placed in a parallel lamellaesystem perpendicular to the street space (cf. Kirkeveien, Marienlyst,Drammensveien, Sinsenbyen), in parallel with the street space (as in theRivertz complex, cf. also Finnmarksgata), or in freer patterns, which becamemuch more common after the 2 nd World War (cf. Keyserløkka, 1947;Lambertseter, 1950). The organization of lamellae buildings in freer pattersrepresented a departure from the binding to the network of public streets –and as such a passage towards the next architectural system.294 Taller buildings have elevators, and with elevators other kinds of organisational principles in relation tocorridors are usually introduced, in order to make the elevator serve more than 2-4 apartments per floor, and asa consequence the apartments no longer are screened or through-lit: then the building is no longer a lamellabuilding, but a slab block.295 The Rivertz’ complex consists of long, three storey apartment buildings, oriented north–south to obtain asmuch sunlight as possible into the apartments. The complex has street-like, open courtyards, gravel paths alongthe buildings and a stripe of greenery in the middle. With exception for the detailing, they are typicalfunctionalistic lamellar houses. In general lamellar blocks did not occur in Europe until much later. Theybegan to be more common in the 1930s. Rivertz’ typological invention can therefore be seen as a pioneerproject – also in a European context.160


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2THE 1950 – 1980 GENERAL PLAN GROWTH BELTPrimary elements and planning principles of the architectural systemAlready long before the General Plan of 1950 the existing maincommunication lines through Akersdalen, later named Groruddalen, can beconsidered primary elements that provided the rural valley with “transitcentrality”. As such the communication lines effected the whole developmentof the area. In contrast to other primary elements, such as the node inBjørvika or the medieval cathedral in Trondheim, primary elements 296 suchas the communication lines in Groruddalen, do not define gravitation centresor final destinations in the larger landscape, but transit zones related to theregional transport system. In my perspective the local development of an areais structurally related to the development of the urban landscape and itstransport system at large. The centrality of transit zones generates or attractsprograms serving other social categories of users than programs generated ina pure local context: both posting stations at ancient paths, roadside cafés, gasstations, cargo terminals and regional shopping centres are closely related tothe development of the transport system.Høybråten in Groruddalen: An agricultural landscape with old traffic arteries and woodensuburban developments by the railway station at Høybråten, 30 years before the satellite town ofFuruset was erected on the fields in the foreground. (Photo 1947, Oslo City Archives).296 Aldo Rossi would surely not have characterized the communication lines in Groruddalen as a primaryelement in the urban landscape of Oslo. He explicitly distinguished the circulation system from the discussionof primary elements. And it is probably also a stretch to describe these communication lines as a majorelement in the collective memory of Oslo. But, as physical manifestations of necessary conditions related toGroruddalens historical and current role in relation to the urban structure of Oslo, and also as tangible urbanstructural elements representing differences and dynamics of the Groruddalen-area in relation to the urbanstructure as a whole, the communication lines – just as the node is a primary element of central Oslo – should,as I see it, absolutely be defined as a primary element of Groruddalen.161


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2The natural landscape of Groruddalen defined conditions for the firstdevelopments of the area: natural deposits of copper (mining) and clay(brickyards), quarries (Grorud granite), arable land in the valley (richfarmland), hillsides bordering large forest areas and the river from Alnsjøento Bjørvika (sawmills and mills). The industrial development along the AlnaRiver 297 (textile industry, brickyards, ironworks, and mechanical industry)was significant, but more dispersed than the industrial development alongAkerselva. Before Groruddalen was incorporated into Oslo in 1948, the areawas considered to be far outside the administrative urban border. In contrastto the urban block-areas of tenement buildings along Akerselva, the industrialsuburbs in the rural landscape of Groruddalen (Grorud, Alna, Bryn etc.)didn’t in the same way constitute an image of “19 th century industrialurbanity”. In the same way as the communication lines, this part of the AlnaRiver can therefore be characterized as a primary element of the industrialdevelopment in Groruddalen. It was related to the development of the urbanstructure at large, but can probably not be said to constitute a primaryelement of the city of Oslo itself.The 1950 General plan: Existing communication lines, landscape forms andalready developed industrial and suburban settlements represented frameworkconditions for the lay out of the growth belt that was defined by the Generalplan of 1950: Industrial fields were allocated along the communication linesand the river at the bottom of the Groruddalen valley (all the way down theriver to the outlet in Bjørvika), and housing districts were allocated to borderthe forest areas in Marka. 298 The satellite towns were planned to sit, likepearls on strings, along four suburban railway lines; at each of the twohillsides northeast of Groruddalen, and at both sides of the lake ofØstensjøvannet in the southeast. Green belts were laid out as corridors andborders in all of the new developments.In addition to the zoning and the hierarchical traffic system, thearchitectural system defined by the General plan of 1950 was communitybased,nature-oriented 299 and strictly hierarchically segregated.297 Named “Lo” further down towards the city.298 Marka is the common name of all the forest areas surrounding the urban landscape of Oslo (covering 2/3 ofthe area of Oslo municipality). In addition to forestry and forest pasture, the wide forest areas have public rightof access and are accommodated for recreational uses all year round (networks of walking trails and paths,skiing trails, lakes for swimming and fishing, cottages with services and overnight accommodation).299 The focus on nature and landscape in the General plan of 1950 can be illustrated by the selective use ofphotographs that can be seen in the actual plan document. Apart from maps, diagrams and photos ofreconstructed historical models, totally 49 photographic illustrations of the urban landscape are included intothe text. Half of these photographs portrait situations related to recreational uses of nature – in Marka (pp 64-69), at public beaches (pp 70-71) in addition to an aerial photo of the Ekeberg sports park and nearbysurroundings. There are no photographs of urban park life inside the urban tissue, nor any photographs of themonumentally designed and functionally mixed collective urban street- or square-spaces of the 1900-1950growth-belts. 12 of the photographs show historical buildings and groups of buildings, of which eight of themare old farm estates. Six photos show industrial installations, of which only one shows an example of the oldfactories along Akerselva (with waterfall and greenery in the foreground; p.78). The five other photos162


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2The hygienic 300 ideals of “air, light and greenery” and planning principlesof zoning and hierarchical traffic system had to some extent already beenimplemented in the architectural system of the 1900-1950-growth belt. In theGeneral Plan of 1950, these principles were developed further. But the scalewas much larger, so that the architectural system that was produced in severalregards represents a contrast to the previous system. The hierarchic trafficsystem was developed to ensure efficient transportation of goods and peopleand to protect the housing districts from through traffic. The hierarchical andfunctional separation of traffic groups and the dimensions of the trafficsolutions – both green belts and main roads were physically designed asbarriers for crossing traffic – support and intensify the spatial segregation ofthe specialized zones. The size of the specialized zones and a ratherwidespread use of areas, implied long distances that by themselvesintensified the barrier effect of the segregation – with housing along thehillsides and industry covering the bottom of the valley.In addition a new planning principle – a polycentric urban structure ofsatellite towns – was introduced as a conscious rejection of the existingsuburban development of private houses and cottage-like settlements in Akerbefore the 2 nd world war. In contrast to such suburban developments, thesatellite towns were designed to provide its inhabitants with alternativecommunitarian qualities through decentralization of city functions, inaddition to denser and more efficient solutions to the problem of housingshortage. And in contrast to the traditional 19 th century urban block-areas, 301represent the modern industrial installations as distant building volumes partly hidden behind trees and widegreen fields (pp. 78-79). Of nine photos taken from new housing areas four of them are of open greenery insidethe housing districts themselves (pp 96-97), and two of them are aerial photos showing groups of buildingshidden behind forest and green fields (pp 79, 82). The general green image is also emphasized by the extensiveuse of photographs taken from the air at summer time, with streets hardly visable behind all the greenery.Except from one street-level photography from Grønlandsleiret (p. 98), traditional urban spaces are onlyrepresented by monumental public spaces in the city centre, such as the East Railway station square (p.99),The Kings palace and Stortorget (p. 92), The University square and Arne Garborgs plass (p.93), Karl Johansgate and the western side of central Oslo seen from the air (p. 89). The urban waterfront as represented in thephotographs of Frognerkilen and Pipervika with Akershus (p. 88) expose the city in nature and the nature inthe city: island greenery and sail yachts in the foreground, and the built urban landscape between the spaciouswater surface and the green hills in the background. From the viewpoint of the photographer of these pictures,the harbour area is seen at distance; neither ship wharfs, cranes, nor harbour traffic dominates the view.300 As studied by others (for instance Benum 1994, 2002), the hygienic ambitions also included socio-hygienicprinciples related to “the neighbourhood unit” and the range of community-building activities that theinhabitants of the satellite towns were supposed to be involved with, and even sexual-hygienic principlesaffecting the development of apartment layouts: The concern for children’s education, social hygiene, play andupbringing were explicit arguments in the functionalist-inspired development of new architectural solutions atdifferent levels (Brochmann…). Children were no longer supposed to sleep in the parents’ bedroom. Separaterooms were therefore planned for children. Having bedrooms of their own (estimated to a size of 6m 2 ),children could bring friends home for indoor play and the bedrooms even provided them with a desk forhomework. The relatively large number of three-, four- and five-room family-size apartments indicates aneffort to accommodate for more numerous families, related to political concerns to fight decreasingreproduction-rates and the pattern of relative increase in the percentage of elderly people after the 1950s.301 As mentioned earlier, central members of the team behind the general plan of 1950 criticized the housingprojects of the 1900-1950-growth zone for not being a relevant solution to the increasingly acute problem ofhousing shortage. As both the garden suburbs and the open block-projects were considered too expensive andinefficient to solve the sanitary problems of the working class (although relevant housing alternatives forclerks, specialized workers, craftsmen and intellectuals), the satellite towns were not presented as an163


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2the satellite towns also were to provide direct access to nature, and hygienicqualities related to more “air, light and greenery”. While the regional plan of1934 had planned for highest density in the city centre and gradually scaleddown densities towards the periphery an the forest areas, the satellite townsof the 1950-plan were planned with highest density in the community centresand more down-scaled buildings towards Marka and the surrounding greenbelts.Section of the 1950 General plan map with names of the three satellite towns that I will describein the following text inserted. Legend: White area in the middle of the illustration = the existingurban centre; completely white area to the left and right = neighbouring municipalities; lightgreen = parks, green belts etc.; bluish green = forest “Marka”; orange areas = industry; yellowareas = housing.The polycentric development of the 1950-plan can be linked to EbenezerHoward’s satellite city-scheme, later elaborated in Abercrombie’s 1943-planfor ”New Towns” of Greater London – which Rolfsen studied in Englandduring the 2 nd World War. 302 Neither in the Oslo- or the London-plan werethe housing districts though, and the underlying community idea, conceivedas the autonomous villages of a pastoral community that had inspiredEbenezer Howard. The overall idea was rather to plan housing districts for alarge industrial city. 303 The housing districts were delimited by green zonesalternative to the housing projects of the reformed urban block-areas, but as an alternative to working classhousing in traditional (19 th century) urban blocks.302 Benum 1994, p.37.303 The principle of planning a zoned city of parts can just as well be associated with (or said to have beeninfluenced by) other European examples, maybe in particular Ernest May’s planning efforts in Frankfurt 1925-30. In the inaugural article in the first issue of PLAN in 1933, the architecture and planning principles of theGerman architects in the optimistic days of the Weimar republic were presented as one out of a set of fourpredecessors and essential sources of inspiration for the PLAN-group: “representing a model example of how164


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2made up of reminiscences of rural land, 304 forests and sport parks – as ameans to structure an agglomeration that was considered too large forcontinuous development: The housing districts were planned as completecommunity units (except for work zones) delimited from each other and fromthe city centre by green zones. Public transport lines linked the communitycentres of the housing districts both to the city centre and the work zones.Only facilities providing the local needs of the housing districts were to befound locally. In other words: no facilities existed that could to lure strangersor visitors from other parts of the city to overcome the distance and seek outthe public spaces of the new housing districts.The satellite town was to be organized as a spatial hierarchy constituting asocio-spatial system of segregated functions at different geographical levels.All shared or semi-public spaces in the hierarchical system of the satellitetowns were planned and designed as more or less specialized interfacesbetween local users at different social or geographical levels. Both the zonedallocation of housing typologies, the spatial organization of buildings inrelation to open spaces, and the distribution of private and public serviceprograms were used to emphasize and support the hierarchical socio-spatialsystem.The new urban community-units were not to be surrounded by a system ofintegrated public streets or a system of public parks or park strings, whichcould have accommodated for dense and mixed co-use. These urban unitswere surrounded by nature (or “nature”). The greenery delimiting thecommunity areas from each other were not – as in the previous architecturalsystem – used as elements that connected together collective, recreationalplaces made for stay, but as buffers and bordering green belts. While the“park strings” of the previous growth belt connected series of park spaces, thewalking trails through the “green belts” or “green corridors” of the satellitetowns are mainly designed for movement: for health-bringing exercise by footor by bike. Both confrontation and interaction with other users are limited bymotion and speed: walking trails are not designed as places to observestrangers over time while being involved in other activities (such as reading,playing, sunbathing, taking a nap, or eating/drinking), as in an urban park.Furuset was among the last satellite towns in the General Plan to be realized,three decades after the first satellite towns. During this 30-years time spanarchitects can achieve a veritably responsible position towards architecture”. (The other three sources were LeCorbusier, the Danish magazine Kritisk Revy, and the Swedish magazine Byggmästern.)304 The General plan of 1950 can be seen as a plan for transformation of rural farmland into housing districtsand industrial fields. The municipal planning authorities acquired farmland for development both byexpropriation and negotiated purchase. Totally about 90 farms were liquidated after the two main operations ofcompulsory purchase in 1950 and 1960. In this process the agricultural production of Groruddalen was inprinciple terminated.165


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2there was a typological evolution in which characteristic differences betweenthree generations of satellite towns can be distinguished. I will soon return toa description of this development. Related to this I will do an analysis oftypological evolution related to issues of socio-spatial functionality of theenvironmental tool-kits that were operative in the development satellitetowns and its housing districts. In order to examine how different generationsof satellite towns can be distinguished as variations of an architecturalsystem, I will focus on the characteristic differences of the satellite towns ofrespectively the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. But first I will present a generaldescription of the common denominator of the satellite town typologies, andin what way they represent a distinction from the typologies of the urbanblock system (both the traditional urban blocks and the reformed urbanblocks):The buildings of the housing districts of the satellite towns were spatiallyorganized not to enclose their adjacent outdoor spaces, but to provide theapartment buildings with sunlight, a view, and create open, green and sun-litfields where children could play in a safe environment separated frommotorized traffic. As such the architectural system of the postwar satellitetowns represents a final departure from the continuous system of publicstreets. In contrast to the dramaturgical aesthetization of public spaces forcollective experiences of dense co-presence in the architectural system of theprevious growth belt, public spaces of the architectural system of the satellitetown were designed to be natural and neutral, free and open.The building typologies of the satellite towns included a variety offreestanding apartment buildings in open greenery. As an architectural modelthese building typologies can be associated with Le Corbusier’s illustration ofa “city of towers”, 305 representing progressive modernist ideals – of moderncity life characterized by mobility, freedom and geographical access to awide range of functionally specialized zones set to cultivate different spatialqualities, and ideas of liberation from the iconography, decorativeornamentation and architectural symbols associated with contaminatedbourgeois values, class-culture and repressing power-relations. Themodernist aspiration to iconographical “neutrality” was first of all intended towork equalizing in a society of class-conflicts. Furthermore aesthetical305 Le Corbusier 1923: Vers une architecture, Paris, 1 st English translation 1927: Towards a New Architecture,London, the Architectural Press (the 1946 edition, pp 54-56). The typological principles – providing everyonewith “a room with a view”; immediate access to open greenery and nature; the technology (steel, concrete)enabling stacking of a large number of apartments in tall, tower-like apartment complexes; highways onviaducts to keep the ground open for pedestrians (total segregation of the traffic system providing efficiency,security and environmental qualities) – are further described and praised in Le Corbusier’s text andillustrations in: Francois de Pierrefeu & Le Corbusier 1942: La maison des hommes, Paris, Librarie Plon. LeCorbusier’s euphoric text and illustrations, was published in Danish in 1965: Menneskenes bolig,Stjernebøgernes kulturbibiliotek, København, Vintens forlag. Large, and by their size monumental, buildingsand open spaces were now not to be created to represent religion, bourgeoisie values, or the monarchy, but thepeople. (Le Courbusier, 1965: 97).166


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2simplification was seen as a necessity in a situation of architecturalrationalization and industrial mass production of housing units. Themodernist ideas of urban qualities related to anonymity, mobility (givingaccess to a wide range of service facilities spread out in the urban landscape),mass culture, and intensely specialized concentrations of people andactivities, can though, in many respects, be seen as quite contrary to the ideaof communitarian neighbourhood units.The architectural system of the housing districts in the growth belt of1950-1980 can be associated with – or described as accommodated for – theeveryday rhythms of suburban housewives and their children, in addition tovalues related to nature-based exercise and recreation, community-buildingand voluntary work, and educational leisure activities of the welfare state.The everyday rhythms of the zoned satellite towns are dominated by localdomestic activities, and by the absence of rhythms of work life, tourists,travelers and strangers, and central city cultural activities. The everydayrhythms of the satellite-towns can be described as an interface between thelocal everyday rhythms of mobile urban individuals (operating within thewhole urban landscape) and local communal life within spaces of theneighbourhood (characterized by different modes of confrontation andinteraction). In contrast to the privacy of individual outdoor spaces of thesingle-family house areas – where each house and garden in many respectsfunction as separate islands and the people living in the neighbourhoodthemselves can choose whether or not, and to what extent, they prefer tosocialize with neighbors – the outdoor privacy of the satellite-towns is inprinciple limited to the balconies: the ground is local communal territory,maintained by the community and controlled and supervised by glances fromthe numerous apartment windows.The satellite town was grounded on criticism and negative descriptions of thearchitecture of the traditional urban growth belt, of which particularlyGrünerløkka was used as the most representative example. The criticism washowever not only concerned with hygienic aspects: the iconographicalcharacteristics of Grünerløkka represented everything that was considered asbad, minor, ugly and important to develop away from. 306 In the modernistarchitectural discourse developed in Oslo between the 1930s and 1960splastered neo-renaissance architecture was associated with bourgeois’ efforts306 Ref. a comment to a drawing of the streetscape in the upper part of Markveien, where the functionalistarchitect Odd Brockmann writes: “De boligstrøk som i 1880-årene ble bygget for den nyeindustriarbeiderklasse, har intet forsonende ved seg. De er og blir mindreverdige, dvs. Stygge.” (“There isnothing reconciliating about the housing areas that were developed for the new industrial working class in the1880’s. They are and they remain minor, i.e. ugly.” My translation). Odd Brochmann 1968: En bok om stygtog pent som handler om: tingenes form, vesen og innhold, og om det inntrykk de gjør på oss, (first edition1953), Oslo, p.123.167


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2to express power and position. Besides, the plastered facades with theirprefabricated stucco details were described as “masking” with “false” décor –in contrast to (and conflicts with) the functionalist ideals of “honest andnatural use of materials”. 307During a 30 years time span the satellite towns were successively developedwithin the spatial framework conditions defined by the planning principlesand overall layout of the General plan of 1950.As described in the 1950-General Plan, 308 the new satellite towns wereinitially planned with emphasis on the housing district as an inclusivecommunity. 309 The common facilities were supposed to create a socialcommunity outside the family. The sense of community and belonging in thehousing districts were to be brought out through common institutions,spatially ordered in a hierarchical scheme:- At the first level: the house group – with a common playground forchildren at pre-school-age (preferably located so that it could besupervised by the housewives/mothers from the kitchen windows) –serving a neighboring group of buildings.- At the second level: the neighborhood – with a playing field forolder children, a supervised playground and a local shop – serving atypologically (and supposedly also socially) homogenousneighborhood of approximately 1-2,000 inhabitants.307 Ref. for instance the young architect Lars Backer, one of the most acknowledged Norwegian functionalistarchitects, in Byggekunst, 1925: “Vi vil skape en arkitektur i pakt med tiden vi lever i, naturlig for detmaterialet vi bygger av. Vi vil bort fra det maskerte og utenpåhengte, det formålstjenlige skal bestemmeformen. Plan og fasade skal være ett. Arkitektonisk logikk er vårt mål.” (“We will create architecture for ourcontemporary times, natural for the materials we are building with. We must distinguish from the masked andfeigned; the expedient shall give form. Layout and façade shall be one. Architectural logic is our goal.” Mytranslation).308 The hierarchical system for decentralized distribution of city functions are described in the General Plandocument(pp 37-44), with a diagrammatic illustration of the decentralization of the city functions (pp 38-39).This text also presents the ideas of constructing socially homogenous units at the first two levels of thehierarchy (as if architectural homogenous housing typologies would guarantee or implicate also socialhomogeneousness), and the mixing of social groups at the third level of the hierarchy (by combining high-riseapartment building-areas with low-rise apartment building-areas and row-house areas) within one and the sameschool-centre/vicinity-centre (which was supposed to work as “a democratic centre”).309 The hierarchical decentralization of city functions and the neighbourhood-community idea was probablyalso inspired by Lewis Mumford’s praising of the communitarian values of “the neighborhood unit” inMumford, Lewis 1938: The Culture of Cities, New York, Harcourt, Brace and Company Inc., pp 486-493.Mumford’s The Culture of Cities was an important inspiration for the group of architects that first producedthe PLAN-magazine (1933-1936) and later became involved in working out the 1950-General Plan: In apanegyric book review, one of the involved architects, Eyvind Alnes, gives a description of how this bookcame to them as a revelation (the Swedish translation from 1942 was smuggled into Norway during the 2 ndworld war) giving them great pleasure and inspiration: “Mumfords bok kom som litt av en åpenbaring til oss i1942 da den svenske oversettelsen av “The Culture of Cities” ble smuglet inn til oss. Det var et verk som det, ihvert fall i de tider, tok rundt et år å studere. Men da hadde en også hatt et års samvær med en av de klokemenn i verden, hadde lært utrolig meget og fått form på synspunkter og meninger som en hadde ant i detfjerne, men som en sjelden selv hadde greid å konkretisere. Ikke slik at Mumford oppstiller postulater til å troblindt på. Han analyserer seg og oss grundig gjennom problemene, ser dem fra alle sider, historisk, materielt,psykologisk, og bringer oss til å tenke mye. Mumford vet alt som kan vites av et enkelt menneske om hvordanmennesker har levet og bodd i vår verden, om hus og seng, om arbeide, mat og fornøyelser…” Eyvind Alnes:”The Culture of Cities. Små refleksjoner over en stor bok.” in Byggekunst (The Norwegian ArchitecturalReview), 1946, pp 129-130168


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2- At the third level: the vicinity centre – with school buildings, daynursery, health centre, youth club, assembly hall, communallaundry, kindergarten, vicinity shops, traffic station – serving 4-6neighborhoods with different typologies, approximately 5-12,000inhabitants.- At the fourth level: the community centre – with municipal servicebuildings, workshops, a church, shops, offices, restaurants, hotels,high schools, a cinema, an arts and crafts school, a library, a markethall, a traffic station – as the district centre serving the wholesatellite town.Other functions serving the whole urban structure were either to be located inthe city centre (universities, theaters and concert halls, transport nodes, artgalleries, industries, assembly halls, etc.) or somewhere else in the urbanlandscape (sports fields, airports, hospitals, stadiums, skiing centres, beaches,etc.) where they could easily be reached by the whole urban communitythrough the new and efficient transport system.The hierarchical scheme for distribution of urban function (from the 1950 General plandocument).169


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2Typological evolution and 3 generations of satellite towns1 st generation: 1950s “neighborhood units” and traditional craftThese first satellite towns stand out from later generations of satellite townsin Oslo, and also from contemporary European satellite towns, in severalways:- by relatively small scale,- by traditional crafts (not yet industrially pre-fabricated buildingmaterials),- by individually designed buildings (with traditional crafts there wasnot yet need for standardization and mass-production),- by the carefully preserved landscape qualities of the natural forestareas – due to use of traditional craft methods – the later large scaleconstruction methods implied heavy machinery and more drasticreconfiguration of the landscape), and- by a local, Norwegian or at least Scandinavian “flavour” – ratherthan the modern “international style”. The development of theseearly satellite towns were inspired by Swedish examples whileinternational influence became more explicit later.To illustrate the characteristics of the 1 st generation of satellite towns we canuse Lambertseter 310 , the first satellite town that was realized, as an example:The satellite town was developed on a forest plateau, with neighborhoods anda communal centre by the suburban railway station with schools, a sportsarena, shops and a cinema (1965). The neighbourhoods are separated byopen, natural recreational areas. In contrast to later generations of satellitetowns, the production methods of traditional crafts (especially the use ofbrick) enabled preservation of some of the natural forest vegetation. Allbuildings were loosely organized along domestic “streets”, with entrancestowards the street. There were loops added to the domestic streets, usuallyone loop for each “hamlet” 311 or neighbourhood. 312 The loosely organizedpatterns of buildings along the loops differentiate the open internal spaces ofthe freely defined “blocks” from the external and open recreational areasseparating the neighborhoods from each other. The open spaces between theneighborhood “hamlets” are rather spacious with large, cultivated lawns laid310 1,8 km 2 , totally 3,311 apartments, realized 1951-61.311 ”Grend” – which is the Norwegian term used in the plan documents that I’ve chosen to translate into”hamlets” in English – gives much more rural associations than the term neighbourhood (”nabolag” inNorwegian): ”grend” in Norwegian describes a group of farms that are more or less closely gathered anddelimited from other similar groupings by forestry, outfields, wilderness etc. The term is a socio-spatial term, itis also used to describe those who live in such a group of buildings. Etymologically the term ”grend” is relatedto the ancient Norwegian word for neighbour, ”granne”. ”Nabolag” (neighbourhood) in Norwegian is a moregeneral term – but the ”hamlets”/”grendene” in the satellite towns are actually groupings of housing unitsdelimited from other groupings of housing units, not by an urban street or a river or a factory, but by greenery.312 Principles described in Rinnan 1950170


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2out between groups of trees, supporting an image of a forest glade or anatural park. Each neighbourhood-unit had a local grocery store. 313 Otherarchitectural solutions can also be seen as reflections of socio-democraticideals of equality. For instance, each and every apartment – also those atground floor – was equipped with small private balconies. No one wasallowed to privatize communal open spaces or the green carpet of internalforest clearing that ran undisturbed between the housing units. The buildingsof the neighborhood units were spatially organized to define and differentiateinternal and external spaces of the hamlets: as such the scheme can bedescribed as an aspiration to combine aspects of the garden city model withaspects of the le Corbusier’s “house in park”-model. The neighbourhoodswere planned for approximately 2,000 inhabitants and designed by differentgroups of architects, combining three to four-storey lamellae buildings andup to 12 storey point blocks 314 within the overall spatial system of internaldomestic streets, internal neighbourhood yards and bordering green belts.Illustrations Lambertseter: Left: map showing spatial organization of buildings (north to the left),middle: aerial photo (from south,1958), and photograph of playing children between preservedtrees and lamellae buildings (1958, Oslo City Archive).The General Plan did not, however, provide means to realize importantaspects of the decentralized city functions in the new satellite towns: as timewent by both schools, kindergartens, day care centres, health centres andpublic transportation were all developed, but not until years after people hadmoved into the new housing districts. The institutional framework that wasdeveloped in parallel with the General Plan with The National Housing Bank(Husbanken) represented an efficient institutional tool for country-wideregulation of architectural solutions by way of defining standards for housingquality and providing favorable housing loans. But there were no institutional313 As described in Rinnan 1958314 The point block is a modern apartment (or office) high-rise building with concentrated base and centralizedlayout, in principle containing one singular central staircase (and elevator). The apartments (usually three tosix per floor) are organized around the internal central staircase. The point block (or the tower block) is usuallyslim and tall (more than five storeys high). The base is most often formed as a square, but it can also betriangular, circular or star-shaped. The point block provides more façade surface (light, view) than lamellaebuildings, and the concentrated base does not in the same manner as for instance lamellae buildings work asdirectional and space-delimiting walls at ground level. Due to the slim profile of the point block, the shadowthe building cast is also slimmer and passes more quickly, which provides adjacent buildings and spaces withmore sunlight.171


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2means to regulate or initiate realization of communal service functions.Shops came even later than the abovementioned service functions and in a farmore rudimentary manner than planned. With a few exceptions culturalinstitutions were not established at all.Apparently more important than realizing communal facilities was theissue of housing shortage, which manifested itself in a strong political focuson making housing production more efficient. In this way the satellite townsdeveloped more into dormitory suburbs. And they also became moredependent on city functions outside the housing districts than originallyintended.The first architectural criticisms of the satellite town projects thatappeared in the 1950s were though mainly of an aesthetical kind – with afocus on the visual image of the satellite towns and their “drearymonotony”. 315 Furthermore sociologists and geographers criticized theambitions of the social engineers to create new communities for manipulativespatial dictatorship. They argued against the communitarian neighbourhoodscheme: They could see no reasons for why people that coincidentally livedin the same area should socialize. The alternative they presented impliedgreater emphasis on individual rights to free choice of both activities andsocial arenas within the urban society at large. This was also used as anargument for upgrading central housing areas. However, they did not presentany alternative architectural model for the development of new housingareas. 316The English “new towns” had been an important model-example for theproposal of hierarchical decentralization of city functions in the General Planof 1950. The critique that new town-developments had raised in England,therefore also became an important point of reference in the public debate onthe Norwegian satellite towns: Around 1960 the English Housing Departmentraised a critique of the “new town”-model based on the experiences from theby then altogether 14 “New Towns” that had been built around London. Thecritique described problems related to uneven age distribution among theinhabitants, inefficiency towards goals of class-mixing or class-equalizing,315 Cf. ”Tilsynsrådet for byens utseende” (”the supervisory authorities of the image of the city”, my translation)– an anonymous group supposedly comprised of several well-reputed architects – wrote an open letter to theexecutive committee that was published in several newspapers, where they criticized the aesthetics of thesatellite towns and suggested a number of improvements. The aesthetical critique of the visual image of thesatellite town projects came from a culture-conservative hold, and was completely disproved by theprogressive satellite town architects and planners (Benum 1994; Guttu 2002). Frode Rinnan, in Byggekunst(The Norwegian Architectural Review) 1954, responded by discounting the suggested architecturalimprovements from “Tilsynsrådet” as “nonsense finery” – “ the main issue for the planning authorities was tosolve the housing shortage, and more generous economy did not necessarily always entail improvedarchitectural quality.” (Guttu 2002). (Frode Rinnan was the responsible architect and planner for Lambertseter,member of the General Plan team, and had also been a member of the “Socialistiske Arkitekters Forening” thatpublished the magazine PLAN in the 1930s).316 Ref. Jon Guttu: ”Drabantbyen som skyteskive” in Fremtid for fortiden, 2002, 3/4, (medlemsbladFortidsminneforeningen Oslo og Akershus), pp 56-67.172


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2delay in the development of common facilities and service-infrastructure, anddepressed and dissatisfied housewives as “the malady of the new towns”.Jon Guttu’s 317 analysis of the shift in density and scale in the satellite townsof Oslo from the 1950s to the 1960s can be summarized as related to threefactors: During the 1950s the initial plans for creating intimate socialneighbourhoods and communitarian functions related to thedistrict centres were abandoned as unrealistic – both sociallyand economically. But the Norwegian critique of theneighbourhood-scheme was not based on empirical surveys,user group inquiries, or systematic evaluations: Thearchitectural response to the critique was therefore to be moreinfluenced by technological developments, internationalmodernist ideals, and the persistent issue of housing shortage: In the 1950s the social and sanitary problems of the traditionalurban blocks were conceived as related to high exploitation. Thesocial critique of the satellite towns was though, amongst otherissues, related to too low densities (of people and activities) inthe new satellite towns. The new areas were criticized for lackof activities and service facilities, aesthetical variation andurban character. The international modernist discoursepropagandized for a dramatic increase of exploitation in satellitetowns, both in order to limit urban sprawl and to achieve richersocial environments. New production methods enabled large scale industrializedhousing production, rapid development in transport andmobility, and new patterns of centralization within the retailsector encouraged evolution of new architectural solutions forthe satellite towns.The (spatial) hierarchical neighbourhood-scheme was kept unchanged in thefollowing years of development of satellite towns, although the ambitions ofcommunity-building by way of common facilities were abandoned. But incontrast to the spatial system that formed the basis of the typologicallycompound “neigbourhoods” or “hamlets” at Lambertseter, the second level ofthe neigbourhood-scheme now was transformed into typologicallyhomogenous areas: usually as repetitions of identical buildings. Theaesthetical (and supposedly also social) variation was now to be taken care ofby different building typologies in different areas of the housing district:317 Ibid.173


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2dense large scale building typologies (such as variations of the slab block 318 )in the areas close to the district centre, and less dense typologies (such as rowhouses and atrium houses) in the areas in the periphery of the housingdistrict, bordering Marka.Meanwhile, a number of plan proposals for sanitary reorganisation of thetraditional urban block areas – plans for demolishing areas of traditionalurban blocks and wooden suburbs to be replaced with slab blocks – weredeveloped and discussed, among other places for Grünerløkka. AtEnerhaugen (Grønland) an urban clearance project was realized.2 nd generation of 1960s satellite towns: Large scale industrially produced apartment blocks inopen “neutral” spaceThe second generation of satellite towns are characterized by large scaleindustrially produced apartment blocks in open “neutral” space. The largescale total-design solutions were inspired by international modernist ideas. Incomparison with contemporary international examples, the Norwegiansatellite towns still though were quite small and nature-oriented. Ammerud isan illustrative example of the characteristics of the 2 nd generation of satellitetowns in Oslo: The satellite town of Ammerud 319 was developed onagricultural land. The area was characterized by relatively flat fields fallingsteeper down towards the river Loelva in the east and north, wooded hills(Marka) towards west and north, a railway (and railway station) and a mainroad around the existing Grorud centre in south east, and the Ammerudsubway station in southwest. Ammerud was planned as a pure housingdistrict, with a local centre at Ammerud subway station, a district centre atGrorud station and five different types of buildings organized in five areas: 320The four highest slab blocks were located in the area closest to Grorud centre,the lamellae blocks and the other slab block on the hills towards the west, and318 The slab block is a high rise version of the lamellae block: usually with quite a lot more than five floors, arectangular footprint and containing elevators. Le Courbusier’s freestanding Unités d’Habitation in the freeand open global space (which can be considered a realization of his “house in park”-model) is often presentedas an international model of this type. In Oslo the slab block usually configures in groups of three or four (likeat Ammerudlia borettslag in the satellite town of Ammerud, and at Enerhaugen where the slab blocks replacedthe wooden house suburb). The slab block is constructed of prefabricated concrete elements, and represented abreakthrough for industrial housing production in the 1960s. By turning the previous lengthwise supportingwalls so that they also could work as partitions between the apartments, the apartment layouts were dictated byconcrete spread economy, producing economical, but deep and dark apartments. The operating radius of thehoisting crane (which often was set to serve several construction sites simultaneously, to obtain maximumefficiency during the building process) is also said to have defined the lay out-geometry of the groups of slabblocks. The height of the slab block (14 floors at Ammerud, 15 at Enerhaugen, 14 at Tveita (originally plannedto have 18 floors) provides most of the apartments with an aerial view of the landscape. The elevators and thenumber of apartments per building (246 at Ammerud), provide the neighbours with more anonymity than whatis the case with for instance neighbours sharing a staircase in a lamellar house: the dwellers needn’t passseveral entrance doors with spy-holes in order to get home.319 Approximately 0,65km 2 , 1,500 apartments, developed for 6,000 inhabitants, realized 1966-67.320 Ammerudlia: Four 14 storey slab blocks (984 apts); Ammerudfaret: Three normal lamellae buildings;Ammerudenga: one S-shaped and one C-shaped lamellae building (both of them three storeys, totally 200apts); Ammerudkollen: one nine storey slab block (250 apts); and Alunsjø: 236 atrium houses174


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2the atrium houses at the flat field in the northern part of the area. The trafficsystem was to be segregated: a ring road for motorized traffic and accessroads to the apartment buildings, in addition to two main walking trails laidout between the stations/centres and Marka with branches to the differentapartment buildings. All crossings between the walking trails and the ringroad were planned as two level crossings.The building typologies at Ammerud provide the inhabitants with wideand open, undifferentiated and “neutral” communal outdoor spaces, and withclearly defined private outdoor spaces: balconies in the apartment blocks andsmall enclosed gardens in the atrium houses. The buildings in the area are notspatially organised so that intermediary levels of more or less private andpublic outdoor spaces are defined, such as in internal hamlet spaces or inshared semi-private neighbourhood spaces: In general the open outdoorspaces between the apartment blocks are wide and undifferentiated, andcovered by large lawns, walking trails, playgrounds, parking lots, etc. Exceptfor the wooded hills, the open areas are well exposed to sunlight (when not inthe shadow of a slab block though). The open green areas are visuallycontrolled both by the pedestrian traffic of the main walking trails, motorisedtraffic at the ring road and view from the apartment windows (though thevery number of apartments provides for a certain anonymity and distance).The spaces are all in all neither designed for dense co-presence of strangersnor for dense interaction between neighbours: they are designed to providesun, air and greenery and to be open and “neutral”.Illustration Ammerud: Planning principle (from the plan document, north to the left).175


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2In their explanation 321 to the proposed plan for the OBOS-area at Ammerudthe architect-planners described aspects of the composition of differentiatedvolumes and spaces in the following way: It was claimed that the four 14storey slab blocks in relation to the ridge of the hill east of Loelva had“relatively modest dimensions”; that the long (270 meters) curved volume ofthe C-shaped lamellae building was of highest importance for providing the“spatial effect of the plan”, in addition to the fact that it “accentuate[d] thetopography in the most natural way”; that the nine storey and 180 meter longslab block gave “a clearer and more contrast-right form in relation to theforest-clad hillcrests than smaller buildings on parcelled plots”; and so on. 322The architects’ description of the volumetric composition of the plan reflectsa bird’s-eye view description of the landscape. In reading the explanations Ican easily imagine myself the architect’s hand movements over a dramaticallydownscaled landscape model. This stands in radical contrast to theperspective drawings of Harald Hals’ 1929-plan, which can be described asrepresenting a volumetric design modelling spatial ensembles to be experiencedand appreciated by the urban populace moving around on the ground,inside a continuous system of public streets and spaces – on foot or by tramway,bike, moped or car. The architects’ representation of the overall layoutat Ammerud can be described as an artistic volumetric composition of builtobjects in an open landscape, which was to be appreciated and experiencedby a highly mobile modern audience, seeing Ammerud at distance whenmoving through the open urban landscape – by airplane, on the highway, etc.Ammerud (1967): Foreground: the four slab blocks behind the centre buildings, 9-storey slabblock (behind left), C-shaped slab block (behind, middle), atrium building area behind (right).321 “Reguleringsarkitektens redegjørelse for planen”, in extract of “Kommunikasjonsrådmannens innstilling tilkommunestyret”, May 1962, (the architect-planner’s textual explanation of the proposed plan as presented inthe proposal prepared by the responsible deputy major for the municipal council, May 1962), presented inThorbjørn Hansen & Anne Sæterdal, 1970: Ammerud, Oslo, Pax forlag, pp 88-99. The architect planners spent3½ months developing the proposal. It took three years to pass the plan politically and administratively, thoughonly minor adjustments were made during the process. (Hansen & Sæterdal 1970: 81)322 My translation – “contrast-right” or “kontrastriktig” is not really a term in Norwegian either, but it shouldbe possible to get a sense of what they wanted to describe. Hansen & Sæterdal 1970: pp 96-97.176


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2These large-scale housing projects are monumental architectural oeuvres:the slab blocks are landmarks in the urban landscape of Oslo – both becauseof their scale, the landscape situation and the composition of volumes andcontrasts in their surrounding built landscape. Both the exposure of rawprefabricate concrete elements in the façades and the repetitiveness can beseen as iconographical means to express both the power of efficient andrational mass-produced social housing, and ideas of equality related to thewelfare state. The buildings are designed as monumental objects in the openlandscape space, set in a local domestic area. There is a principle differencebetween the monumentality of these projects and the monumentality that wasproduced by adding numbers of housing units in the previous architecturalsystems and growth belts: The monumentality of Hals’ housing projects (forinstance Ilatrappen) can be seen as a celebration of the collective spatialensembles of modern urban society. The monumentality of the long straightmultifunctional perspective street of the industrial working class areas (forinstance Thorvald Meyers gate), produced by addition of numerousrepresentative, decorated front façades of rather thrifty working classapartment blocks, can also be seen as an accentuation of the multifunctionalcollective spaces of the industrial city.By the end of the 1960s, a new kind of research-based critique of thesatellite-town development emerged in Oslo. Two case study reports fromAmmerud, produced by a group of young architect researchers, had greatimportance in that respect. The first report – Ammerud I 323 – was an analysisof the role of the technocratic architect-planner, and the knowledgebase,values and the planning process that were the basis for the plan solutions bothin general (in terms of the General Plan of 1950) and more specifically atAmmerud. The researchers criticised the planners for continuously increasingthe dimensions of the social housing projects, out of respect for the socialconsequences of their experimental social engineering. 324 And theyconcluded by recommending a total reorganization of the planning processesas such: multi-disciplinary teams of planners should be included in order tostrengthen the knowledge base and make the identification of challengesmore unbiased; a broad specter of user groups or inhabitants should beinvolved in the planning process; better kinds of statistic data should beacquired for strategic use (especially for making prognosis); there should be323 Thorbjørn Hansen & Anne Sæterdal 1969: Ammerud1: planlegging av en ny bydel, Oslo, Norskbyggforskningsinstitutt. The research report was later edited and published in a series of paperbacks onsociety, culture, politics and criticism: Thorbjørn Hansen & Anne Sæterdal, 1970: Ammerud, Oslo, Pax forlag.324 The first (aesthetical) 1950s critique was raised by culture-conservatives and neglected by theradical/progressive planners and architects. This second (social) critique was raised by a new generation ofradical architect researchers and had more impact on the further development. Benum (1994: pp 352-353) alsodescribes how cultural conservatism and political radicalism united after the second critique – arguing for thesame solutions.177


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2better transmission of knowledge between planners and politicians;alternative proposals should be developed at different stages of the planningprocess (program – plan – project); and routines should be developed forcontinuous evaluation, analysis, critique and feed-back, for enrichment of thewhole planning discourse. The second report – Ammerud II 325 – was aninterview survey that focused on the inhabitants’ experiences from living atAmmerud. In the introduction the researchers quote the modernistarchitectual slogan “forms follows functions” and then present their ownproject as an investigation of “what really are these functions?” The interviewsurvey reflects a multiplicity of individual experiences, some of theinterviewees are very satisfied, others are not: more than 50% of theinformants said that they wanted to stay at Ammerud “for ever”. But many ofthem – also among those who generally were happy with their life atAmmerud – had critical comments related to issues such under-dimensionedfacilities for children (day care centres, schools, kindergartens, activities foryoung people) and inconvenient access to shops and service-facilities ingeneral. A lot of the informants described their apartments as deep and dark,though functional and spacious. Many of the dwellers enjoyed the nice viewand the easy access to outdoor recreation, though commented that the slabblocks were to large, that small children had problems orienting themselves(finding the right building, doorbell and entrance), that there was a too largedistance from the sandpits to the kitchen windows, and that the wide andopen outdoor areas lacked more screened or intimate places for play and stay.The public debate that followed focused in general on problems related tothe social consequences of the environmental tool kits of the mass-produced“housing machines”, in particular represented by the slab blocks: The builtenvironment of the new satellite towns were criticized for having “inhumandimensions”, for being alienating, and for not providing the inhabitants witha sense of belonging, identification and sense of community. 3263 rd generation 1970s satellite towns: reduced scale and complete hierarchy of outdoor spacesFor the remaining satellite town areas of the General Plan of 1950 (i.e. areasthat were not yet built), the critique brought about a shift in planningstrategies: there was a full revival of the hierarchical neighbourhoodscheme 327 and all including community-building communal functions and325 Thorbjørn Hansen, Ragnhild Haug & Grete Bull, 1971: Å bo i drabantby: Ammerud II:intervjuundersøkelse 1968-69, Oslo, Norsk byggforskningsinstitutt.326 As commented by amongst others the sociologist Ivar Frønes, the satellite town-critique escalated in themedia: “Verdens onde rot var funnet, den lå på Ammerud” (my translation: ”The root of all evil in the worldwas found, it was located at Ammerud” (Frønes, Ivar 1984: “Bill.merk. “Ikke Oslo Nord”.Betonggenerasjonen og deres verden” in St. Hallvard 4/84, Oslo, Oslo Bys Vel, p.262).327 The basic principles are back, in terms of central concepts from the neighbourhood scheme of the GeneralPlan of 1950: “quarter playground” (“kvarterslekeplass” in Norwegian), “hamlet” (“grend” in Norwegian),“local community” (“lokalsamfunn”), “local centre” (“lokalsenter”), “country courtyard” (“tun”) – everythingis back. Two new features have appeared though: exceptions: The term “neighbourhood” is replaced with178


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2prospects of shared outdoor spaces at different levels (no more alienatinganonymity). What furthermore was to be emphasized was: planted andsubdivided outdoor spaces (no more windswept lawn deserts); reducedbuilding dimensions (no more slab blocks); involvement of future habitantsin the planning process (no more deaf-blind technocracy); multidisciplinaryplanning teams (no more reason to only blame the architects); old farmbuildings should be preserved and reprogrammed for youth leisure activitiesand also work as identity-producing historical elements (no more ignored andlost young people like at Ammerud – and no more alienating break with localqualities); introduction of new functions (no more mono-functional dormitorytowns); the use of new kinds of façade materials, materials of a moretraditional kind, “providing a sense of place and belonging”: paintedconcrete, brick, wooden panels – and even panel imitations in sheet metal (nomore alienating exposure of prefabricated concrete elements).Furuset-Lindeberg was the last satellite town project in Groruddalen. FurusetNord 328 is the northern part of the satellite town, located north of the mainroad E6 and south of the railroad, between the older (early 20 th century)suburban small house areas by the railway stations Grorud (northwest) andHaugenstua (nort east). In the information brochure from the municipalplanning office Furuset was described as a “new town in the city”, and as “anurban society” of the size as a medium Norwegian town. 329 Furuset senter,the district centre for both Lindeberg and Furuset, was located in the south ofthe area, near E6, with a belt of office and industry buildings as a screentowards the highway traffic.The internal traffic system was completely segregated: all functions andareas 330 are oriented towards and connected by a hierarchical system of mainwalking trails, walkways and footpaths. From Furuset senter there is a systemof main walking trails leading to Haugenstua, Stovner and Marka in thenorth, and under E6 to Lindeberg and Marka in south. Schools are locatedclose to the centre, along the main walking trail.“local environment” (“nærmiljø”); and in the municipal information brochures about the new satellite towns ofRomsås and Furuset there is far more focus on the importance of the communication system in terms ofefficient transportation in all directions. In the small (12 pages) municipal information brochure for Furuset, asmuch as two of the pages are used to present the efficiency of the system of public transportation at Furuset:Both timetables and expected future (even more frequent) schedules are included for the subway- and railwaysystem,and bus lines in all directions. This may of course be related to the geographical situation: Furuset islocated in the extreme north-east of Groruddalen. The two new features can be seen as a new emphasis on bothlocal communitarian qualities related to a broad repertoire of qualitatively differentiated local spaces to playand interact with neighbours and the mobility of modern urban citizens with easy access to a wide range offacilities all over the urban landscape. As such it can be said to represents a contrast to the either or-focus atLambertseter (neighbourhood units) and Ammerud (air, light, and greenery, plus mobility and anonymity).328 0,51 km 2 (Furuset/Lindeberg 2,79 km 2 totally), 2879 apartments, realized 1973-79.329 ”Furuset – ny by i byen. Et nytt bysamfunn på Hortens størrelse tar form på Fururset”. Oslo kommune1978: Furuset. En ny by i byen, Oslo, Oslo kommune, page 1.330 This includes all groups of housing units, communal service functions, institutions, and a diversity of openand green outdoor spaces.179


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2Main walking trails at Furuset.All the larger, communal lawn-covered green fields are also directly relatedto these main walking trails. All groups of domestic buildings and thecommunal service centre can be accessed by car, but the access streetsleading to the different communal parking garages/lots are not internallyconnected: In contrast to the ring road systems of the satellite towns that weredelimited by greenery (for instance Ammerud and Romsås), Furuset issurrounded by older building areas (suburban small house areas) in the west,north and east, and the access streets are end stations in different systems ofbranched dead end streets. To drive by car from Furuset senter to any of thehousing groups in the east, north or west in the area, 331 one has to do quite adetour involving a number of domestic streets outside the area, andsometimes even one or two main roads. The shortcut through the welldimensionedGranstangen street is cut of by a bar that only buses andambulances can pass. The walking trail system is well integrated with thesystem of public transportation though: bus stops, railway stations and asubway. 332 Furthermore are the housing units at Furuset centrally located in331 Driving on the walking trails is only permitted for moving vans, motorized wheelchairs (for disabled),garbage trucks, mail cars, fire engines and ambulances.332 Therefore, although planned ten years later, Furuset was dimensioned for the same number of cars perapartment as at Ammerud: 0,8.180


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2the system of public transportation in Oslo, with relatively easy access to cityfunctions all over the urban landscape.The whole Furuset Nord area was realized as one large OBOS-project. Theapartment buildings at Furuset are constructed by the combination of a fairlylimited collection of prefabricated modules: as row houses and apartmentbuildings 333 between three and eight storeys high. There are two differenttypes of housing areas at Furuset Nord:Illustration: planning principle illustration from the 1978 brochures 334The first type of housing areas are represented by five hamlets, 335 delimitedby open greenery and access streets, located along the west, north and eastedges of the area. The buildings of the hamlets are organized along an upperand a lower walkway, with entrances towards the walkway and opencommunal green outdoor spaces between the building rows. All the hamletsconsist of both row houses and three- or four-storey apartment blocks, addedin rows, with underground parking garages and shared external parking lotsat the outskirts of the hamlet. There are approximately 300 apartments ineach hamlet. The rows of buildings follow the topography. In addition to the333 The apartment block-modules used at Furuset are in principle an added point-block/lamella hybrid: withinternal staircases and a T-shaped footprint (deeper in the middle to provide space for the internal staircase andslimmer on the sides to provide translucent dayrooms with, for the larger three-, four- and five-rooms familyapartments, balconies on both sides). The alternation between deeper and slimmer sections provide forbalconies that appear more screened and private: one can use the balcony without being seen from thecommunal green.334 Ibid.335 The plans for the hamlets, construction principles that were applied, apartment lay-outs, apartment andplayground equipment, vegetation etc. are described in: OBOS 1978: Furuset nord feltene B-C-D, Valhallborettlag felt B1, Oslo (brochure); OBOS 1978: Furuset nord feltene B-C-D, Slåttevangen borettlag felt B3,Oslo (brochure); OBOS 1978: Furuset nord feltene B-C-D, Ulsholt borettlag felt C1, Oslo (brochure); OBOS1978: Furuset nord feltene B-C-D, Kurland borettlag felt C2, Oslo (brochure).181


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2private outdoor spaces (balconies in the apartment blocks, private smallgardens connected to the ground floor apartments and the row houses), eachhamlet has a variety of shared, green outdoor spaces: vegetation-screenedsandpit playgrounds and “squares” with benches and playgrounds for smallchildren along the walkways; a larger playground for older children –screened with ramparts and stronger vegetation; a lot for ball-games; andallotment gardens. Each hamlet was also planned and built with different(300-500m 2 ) shared indoor spaces to be developed and used for whateverpurpose the inhabitants agreed upon, in addition to a children’s institution(kindergarten/pre-school, hamlet school), and one or two reserve lots forfuture needs. All in all the hamlets provide a varied repertoire of –functionally specialized and more or less intimate or open – shared spaces forstay and interaction with neighbors: both within the hamlets themselves,along the access walkways and in the green belts between the rows ofbuildings, or at the edges of the hamlet, in relation to the walking trails. Allthese shared outdoor spaces are spatially organized to be neighbourhoodcontrolled spaces: they can be overlooked by glances from multipleapartments’ windows, from entrance zones, and/or by people walking orbiking on the walkways. The internal systems of walkways at Furuset haveno dead ends: the walkways make it possible to stroll through theneighbourhoods, and also function as alternative flight lines out from any ofthe shared outdoor spaces.Another interesting feature is that there was developed thoroughly preparedand ambitious plans for planting. There was of course not much existingvegetation in this area, since it consisted if former agricultural fields.Windswept large lawns were now to be banned. Instead the landscapearchitects introduced the concept of different stands of trees: A generalplanting program with birch (which is light, providing wind screen in thesummer) and pine (which is darker, but also sheltering in the winter) wassupplied with fruit trees in selected areas, adding up to “a group of particulartrees giving each hamlet a particular character”. 336 These meticulouslydescribed measures that were taken to create a distinguishable character ineach of the neighbourhood units – i.e. the planting of different species oftrees – may seem a little odd related to the fact that every one of the buildingsin the area were constructed from exactly the same mass-produced, prefabricatedand pre-painted elements. 337336 Ibid. More specifically: larch trees in hamlet/area B1, sycamore maple in B2, lime trees in C1, elm in C2,purple true fir in D3, sembra pine in D4, etc.337 If “distinctive character” and potentials for internal distinction was considered important, how could it bethat they used the same prefabricated building elements, the same façade treatment, and even the same coloursin the whole of a satellite town that was as large as a medium Norwegian city? Except for the differencesbetween the denser buildings close to the centre and the hamlets in the periphery of the area, the architecture at182


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2The second type of housing areas are found in three denser apartment blockareas concentrated in three linear settlements 338 of apartment buildingsstretching out from the district centre towards east, north and west. The threetoeight-storey apartment buildings of these denser central “hamlets” arespatially organized in a regular l_l_l_l – shaped pattern, with shared,functionally subdivided yards in a row, opening towards the sun and thewalking trails. The denser apartment block-“hamlets” have a more limitedrepertoire of intimate and sheltered shared neighbourhood spaces: The openyards, defined by the spatial organization of the apartment buildings, haveinternal walkways that delimit the central communal green area from thesmall private gardens and entrance zones along the buildings. The communalyard spaces are planted and functionally subdivided by outdoor furniture andplayground equipment. Since the yard spaces are exposed towards the mainwalking trail and the public institutions on the other side of the trail, they arethough not very intimate or sheltered. By the regular shape of the yards (nocorners to hide behind) and the number of apartments’ windows facing them,these yard spaces are spatially organized to be spaces of extensiveneighbourhood control.Illustration: planning principle illustration from the 1978 brochures 339The larger green fields between the T-shaped group of denser apartmentbuildings and groups of hamlets along the edges of the area have a more openand “neutral” character, as they are only controlled and activated either by thepedestrian traffic at the main walking trails or by the adjacent schools andnursing home.Furuset satellite town does not provide much potential for social distinction – neither for people wanting toexpress progress in their domestic career nor for people who may feel stigmatized by bad news from the areain media: When the newspapers, as often happens, illustrate the news of a murder at Furuset with a photo fromthe entrance of the apartment block wherein the crime happened, it looks like every other entrance in the area.338 Totally 998 apartments included 61 bedsits and 71 sheltered housing apartments. OBOS 1978:Furusetområdet, Nordre Gran borettslag felt D3, Øvre Furuset borettlag felt D4, Oslo (brochure).339 Ibid.183


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2The critique that lead to the revival of the neighbourhood-scheme didobviously not lead to a renaissance of architectural solutions for creating anintegrated system of collective spaces for dense and mixed co-use (thatcontinually could be controlled by a density of activities or by glances fromthe windows of the adjacent buildings): In contrast to the streets in the studyareas at Grünerløkka and Grønland, where different activities – car accessand pedestrian access to the apartment buildings, goods delivery, shopping,people walking in and out of bars and cafés, etc. – are integrated in the samepublic street spaces, the open spaces at Furuset are strictly functionallysegregated. The segregation of the internal traffic system supports the spatialdifferentiation of the open areas between the buildings and also creates frontsand backsides, and as such also contributes to drainage of program andactivities in the front spaces. The domestic buildings and the domestic servicefunctions are organized around the hierarchical system of open greenery andwalking trails, with main entrances from the communal green spaces.Communal green at Granstangen, Furuset.The less geographically place-bound programs – i.e. the service functions ofthe district centre: public administrative services, library, shops, swimmingpool, post office, pharmacy, health centre, etc. – were located inside theintrovert centre complex, with a main entrance connecting to the externaltraffic system: the bus station, the subway station and the public road system.184


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2It is therefore only the backsides of the centre – where there are windowlessfaçades and entrances for goods delivery – that face the main walking trailsand the larger communal green fields. The backdoor entrances to the internalshopping street of the centre contain an outdoor seating area for two of thelocal restaurants/pubs, but apart from this the outdoor spaces lack programoractivity-related qualities associated with public urban spaces: the backsidesof the centre-complex are neither oriented towards the system of mainwalking trails nor to the external traffic system. Furthermore the potential fora nice view over large green fields towards the other side of Groruddalen isobstructed by the backsides of several other buildings and by the darkwilderness of bushy trees. Another oddity – in an area troubled with a certaindegree of teenage boredom, gang-problems and juvenile crime – is that theentrances both to one of the youth leisure clubs and the activity centre forelderly people are set side by side in a dark tunnel at the back of thecommunity service centre.Courageous elderly woman entering the tunnel.Except for entrances for goods-delivery and garbage collection from thecommercial centre, there are no other windows or entrances providing thetunnel space with activity or social control. In addition, a number of cornersdeprive elderly people using the tunnel the chance of discovering potentialdangers. In a large housing district dominated by controlled neighbourhood185


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2spaces, the diverse backsides of the Furuset senter provide a wide range ofunarticulated, un-invested places to hide away – in a communication-wisevery central part of the housing district.In this system the outdoor spaces are in general specialized for optimalfunctionality of a limited range of activities, and also a limited range of socialcategories of users. This implies that the system is composed of specializedinterfaces between similar categories of users and activities affecting therepertoire of encounter situations. Despite the spacious and open character,the specialized, functionally segregated and hierarchical division of spacesfor social encounters – between neighbours in neighbourhood spaces,between children and parents with small children at playgrounds, etc. – implya denser and more confronting range of encounter situations, than the morecasual sociability that one can find in the spatially integrated urban spaces fordense co-presence with different categories of user groups.Aerial photo of Furuset from 2004: the Furuset senter area a little below center of the photo, thedenser housing areas stretching out from the centre area in three directions, the five hamlets atthe edges of the area, schools (low buildings with flat roof) along the main walking trail behindthe centre-building. The new buildings in the front are Furuset Forum, a larger sports arena, and(with reference to the unfinished building down in the right corner) the site for a new mosque(later re-localized to another site due to problematic soil mechanics). (Photography borrowedfrom Mapaid).186


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2SUMMARY REMARKS TO CHAPTER 4In this investigation of the historical production of differentiated architecturallandscapes, we have seen how the three study areas and their mainarchitectural characteristics are situated in the architectural landscape ofOslo.We have seen in what way the historical development of architecturalstrategies within the urban landscape of Oslo between 1850 and 1980produced three concentric growth belts with distinct morphologicalcharacteristics. The distinguished morphological systems can be seen asproducts of architectural strategies, all of them reflecting different regimes ofurban development. The morphological characteristics of each of the growthbelts can thus be seen as products of historical phases of relatively stablepower relations: In terms of relations between actor roles in theenvironmental production (relations between politicians, public planningauthorities, financial systems, and the housing market), but also in terms ofideologies or conceptions of prevailing problems and how to solve them(relations between politics and dominant architectural ideologies or“architectural models” as discussed by Rossi).As we also have seen, the architectural systems are not only a function ofregimes and their apparatuses for environmental production. Althoughdeveloped in “new areas” outside the existing built-up urban tissue - thearchitectural systems of each of the growth belts have been produced inrelation to a landscape situation of existing conditions. The new architecturalstrategies play up against existing architectural systems and elements (withtheir related patterns in spatial practices) in different ways. By incorporatingor adhering to some, and by contrasting or deliberately intending to transformothers, new relational socio-spatial patterns are produced in relation to thosepreviously existing.We have also seen how architectural strategies develop in relation tocounter-forces expressed by architectural and political critique, representingalternative perspectives on the experienced socio-spatial development andhow it should be dealt with. The consistency of each architectural strategy –the clarity in focus and priorities – enable us to distinguish systematiccharacteristics in the architectural patterns were produced. The consistency ofeach of the architectural strategies represents a relatively unambiguoussubstance to relate to in different ways. Transformation and development ofnew architectural strategies and new regimes of environmental architecturalproduction can also be seen as grounded in interacting tactics operatingwithin and reacting against dominating practices of existing strategies.To investigate historical development of architectural systems implies aneffort to distinguish architectural characteristics of different environmental187


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2types in relation to how they are intended to work as socio-spatial tool kits isneeded:I. As identifiable sets of architectural characteristics related to how thebasic architectural lay out is accommodated for different ranges ofactivities and encounter situations (in terms of spatial organization,functional and social integration, and ways of mediating more or lesspublic and private spaces),II. As recognizable sets of architectural elements, iconographicalcharacteristics and issues of monumentality that can be associated withhistorical patterns in socio-spatial practices, power-relations etc., andIII. As typical architectural characteristics that reflect time-specific ideasabout qualities and characteristics of urban life.Point I implies identification of pure architectural characteristics such asspatial configuration and spatial organization of an architectural system. Ashistory shows, the same architectural principles – as for instance lamellaeblocks and Garden cities or suburbs – have been applied at different places atdifferent times: Seen as pure organizational principles their functional sociospatialcharacteristics can be expected to perform more or less in the sameway, independent of time and place. The architectural systems are thoughalso historical constructions that can be related to certain historical periods.Point II+III implies identification of architectural characteristics that arespecifically related to time of origin and development (for instance typical19 th century apartment buildings in traditional urban blocks with renaissancedetailing, typical early 20 th century Garden suburbs with English-inspiredbrick buildings, etc.).By morphological analysis of architectural systems, we have now seen howeach distinguishable set of architectural elements are internally related interms of spatial logics. Identification of architectural systems impliescategorization of socio-spatial tool kits, but the architectural systems are notthough absolute socio-spatial categories: social components may change overtime, and socio-spatial practices can be modified, sometimes even completelyreplaced, transforming the function, role, and image of an area.As much as being related to recognizable architectural characteristics(architectural systems), the architectural situation of a study area is related tothe dynamic relations between different systems (within the urbanlandscape), and also to relations between the architectural system of theactual area and the urban landscape as a whole:By focusing on how the architectural systems successively has developedover time we have seen how each new architectural system is developed onthe background from experiences with the performance of previously existing188


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2architectural systems: For instance, the architectural system of the traditionalurban blocks, exemplified by Grünerløkka, has certain architecturalcharacteristics. When laid out, this architectural system representedsomething new and different in contrast to the existing urban structure inOslo at that time. Today (much later) the architectural characteristics of thisparticular architectural system represents sets of differences from thearchitectural systems that have been developed in the meantime (as responsesand reactions to what was conceived as problems related to precisely thisparticular architectural system).Differences in the study areas’ location in the historically developed urbanstructure, and differences in how areas are designed to serve a specificfunction and role in the urban structure, are related to the areas’developmental history. The three areas have developed in different historicalperiods in which provisions were made for different forms of transport anddifferent degrees of mobility. The surroundings are thus at the outsetdesigned to serve specific roles and functions in relation to the rest of theurban structure – at different phases of the developmental history of thewhole urban landscape. By focusing on how the architectural systems arerelated to major structural elements of the urban landscape, we have nowidentified relational aspects of the architectural situation that would haveescaped an analysis that only dealt with categorization of architecturalsystems by their architectural characteristics as such.189


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 25. Patterns in architecturaltransformation 1980 – 2007INTRODUCTIONIn the previous chapter I have investigated relational patterns in threeconcentric growth belts in the urban landscape of Oslo, and how they havedeveloped both in relation to architectural strategies for social developmentand in relation to previously existing elements and structures of the urbanlandscape.After one and a half century of successive periods with more or lessexpansive concentric growth, the urban development in Oslo, as in manyother Western cities, has turned inwards: Rather than development of newgrowth belts, transformation, re-development and re-structuring withinalready built areas has been the order of the day.In this chapter I will investigate recent architectural transformation withinthe three study areas with focus on the following issues:- Morphological and iconographical characteristics of the newpatterns,- Relatedness to existing patterns and systems in architecture, and tosimultaneously developed architectural patterns, and- Interpretations of relatedness to patterns in individual socio-spatialpractices.Counter-reactions against modernist architecture in general and urbanclearance plans in particularThe critique of lack of social qualities in large-scale, modernist satellite-townarchitecture that had influenced the architectural development between 2 ndand 3 rd generation satellite towns in Groruddalen, was of course not a localOslo-phenomenon. Similar critical ideas had emerged in the internationaldiscourse on urbanism. 340 In his master thesis, the ethnologist Lars Emil340 Cf. mong others, Jane Jacobs’ praising of the neighborhood qualities of Greenwich village and HenriLefebre’s praising of the democratic values related to access to urban encounters of differences, and,furthermore, the alienating loss related to displacement of people from the inner cities to the new suburbansatellite towns. (Jacobs 1961; Lefebvre 1968 / 1982 (Swedish translation) ; Lefebvre 1970190


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2Hansen demonstrates how the public debate raised by the counter-movementat Grünerløkka started in the 50s and 60s by a number of articles thatdescribed the positive urban qualities of the area in a historicizing and partlyalso local patriotic, nostalgic and romanticizing way. 341 These articlesfocused on qualities of Grünerløkka in earlier times, qualities that were aboutto disappear in the 50s and 60s:Grünerløkka was described as a vivid and vital urban area, with park-life thatstimulated encounters between children playing, pensioners and mothers withprams; the street life of the “homely boulevards” – referring to thecommercial streets Thorvald Meyers gate and Markveien; and last but notleast the general neighbourhood qualities of such a “town in the city”. The rediscoveryand admiration for the social qualities of the urban way of lifeassociated with traditional urban architecture represents a substantial shift inperspective: The architecture of the traditional urban block areas – that formodern architects for more than half a century had represented the cause ofsocial problems, and all that was minor, bad and ugly – was now suddenlytreated not only, so to speak, as valued endangered species but also as theessence of something that represented urban qualities that modernarchitectural development had left behind. 342 The shift in perspective affecteda radical change in the public architectural strategy for development of thetraditional urban block areas at Grønland and Grünerløkka.During the 1970s the 1960s plans for urban clearance in the inner cityworking class areas – such as the plans for replacing the urban block areas atGrünerløkka with slab-blocks – were replaced by an urban renewal programfor improving the sanitary conditions of the existing urban block structure interms of massive public investment in upgrading, preservation and restorationof the traditional urban block areas.341 Lars Emil Hansen 2004: Bydelen som “skiftet ham” – Kulturhistoriske bilder av 1900-tallets Grünerløkka.En studie av Grünerløkkas diskursive og symbolske forvandling på 1900-tallet, Hovedoppgave i etnologi,Institutt for kulturstudier, Universitetet i Oslo: p. 57341 The search for a better understanding of what that had been lost, the when and how of this, and what thisimplies was the motivation behind the French research project “De l’ïlot à la barre” by Panerai et al. that I havediscussed earlier.for kulturstudier, Universitetet i Oslo: p. 57342 The search for a better understanding of what that had been lost, the when and how of this, and whatimplications all of this had, was the motivation behind the French research project “De l’ïlot à la barre” byPanerai et al. that I have discussed earlier.191


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2The first suggestion for urban clearance at Grünerløkka 343 (left: existing architectural structure1931, right: “sounder” alternative with slab blocks). Further plans were developed and widelydebated during the 1960s. Urban clearance plans had as an affect that investments in the existingarchitectural structure was not very much encouraged: between 1925 and 1968 only a handfulnew buildings were constructed in the entire Grünerløkka area, and in general only “necessary”maintenance was pursued.MORPHOLOGICAL TRANSFORMATION ATGRØNLAND & GRÜNERLØKKAModernized apartments and changes in the system of outdoor spacesBefore the urban renewal program (mainly 1980s) the structure of urbanspaces at Grünerløkka and Grønland was comprised of three types of outdoorspaces:343 Presented by Harald Hals in Byggekunst (The Norwegian Architectural Reveiew) 1936.192


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2- A network of representative public streets (main streets, side streetsand back streets),- a set of public squares and parks (and schoolyards) integrated intothe street grid, and- backyards which originally were quite narrow and dark, andprimarily intended to serve as entrance zones and contain everydayclutter of follows residences and businesses.The urban renewal program provided apartments in central eastern Oslo withprivate bathrooms and also changed the apartment combination in the area.Both the large 4- and 5-room apartments and the 1-room apartments were to alarge extent remodeled into 2- and 3-room apartments – all of them providedwith a bathroom. The façades of the apartment buildings were refurbished,old single glass windows were replaced with insulated double glass copies,and roofs and walls were reinsulated. As a result of the urban renewalprogram and its continuation in the central eastern parts of Oslo (includingGrønland, Gamlebyen and Grünerløkka), the traditional structure of outdoorspaces was supplied with new types of private and shared outdoor spaces:- Private balconies,- rooftop terraces,- upgraded common courtyards, and- “gatetun”, 344 in addition to- a number of both new and upgraded existing public parks.The balconies function as private outdoor spaces that provide visual contact,but no direct access, to the courtyard (most balconies face the courtyard, afew face public streets).The rooftop terrace is an access-controlled common-private space forthose who live in the same building, secluded but often with both sunlightand a view, and space and usage possibilities limited to quieter activities for alimited number of people: eating, cookouts, reading, resting, sunbathing, andso on. The use of rooftop terraces is often limited to recreational activities ondays when the weather is good. The rooftop terrace thus becomes a place thatone needs neither to pass through nor spend time in if one does not want to.344 The term ‘gatetun’ is a quite strange construction. In Norwegian ‘gate’ means (urban, public) street, while‘tun’ (country courtyard) describes the private outdoor space defined by the farmhouse(s) and the outbuildings,in individual and collective rural units: Deliberately or not, ‘gatetun’ then describes a private rural socio-spatialunit constructed in a formerly urban public street.193


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2Removed backyard buildings at Grünerløkka (illustration: Immigentri)194


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2Both at Grünerløkka (cf. map showing removed building structures inbackyards at Grünerløkka) and Grønland backyard buildings and woodenfences between the plots were demolished as a part of the urban renewalprogram. The combined and opened backyard spaces were upgraded withnew floors, plants, and furniture in order to provide a significant number ofblocks with common courtyards. Most of these new, upgraded courtyards arelocked off from the public streets. 345 The staircase-entrances of each buildingface the backyard. Traditionally one,two or three buildings had sharedgateway to the street. By opening the backyard, the whole courtyard becomesa common transit zone – more similar to the ‘open blocks’. But theseupgraded backyards are darker and narrower than the yards of the ‘openblock’-system. The courtyards are larger and more open than the rooftopterraces, but they are also access-controlled shared spaces − for those wholive on the same block. The backyards are monitored by their visibility fromthe windows of the surrounding apartment buildings. This may have as mucha restrictive effect on the possibilities for enjoyment as does variations in sizeand furnishings. For small children however, the social control of the gazesfrom the windows can represent a sense of security. But due to the doorwaylocks children living in different blocks cannot stroll through each other’scourtyards to find someone to play with: they have to be invited to get access.Several of the upgraded or renovated courtyards are more set up as atriumsand representative entrance zones than usage areas.During the national Sustainable City Program 346 a number of street spaces atGrønland and Gamlebyen were transformed into ‘gatetun’ by closing offmotorized traffic, installing a new and more decorative floor, playgroundequipment, benches, and some decorative vegetation elements. Although thestreet space was still to be accessible for foreigners walking (but not driving)through the area, the ‘gatetun’ accommodation of the street-space can be seenas a local neighborhood-appropriation of an element of the public structure ofurban streets and spaces: The degree of ‘publicness’ is reduced; the ‘gatetun’street space is not anymore a completely public space with collective userights, but a more local space for neighbours living in the areas. In contrast tobenches that one can find in public streets or parks, the benches in the‘gatetun’-arrangements are not intended to invite foreigners to sit down.The Sustainable City Program did not only provide the Grønland andGamlebyen area with a greater number of upgraded neighbourhood spacesand shared private spaces (courtyards and playgrounds). The program also345 the local municipal administration has been, and is still, providing economical support to electronicdoorway locks and calling systems.346 The results, or the objectives and the realized projects, are summarized in: Miljøverndepartementet 2000:Hovedrapport Miljøbyen Gamle Oslo 1993-2000, Oslo.195


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2implied significant investments in upgrading of public parks in the area (suchas along the lower part of Akerselva), and projects of rehabilitation,restoration and accommodation of public recreational areas in relation to themedieval fragments in the area to elucidate and stage important historicalarchitectural elements for the city as a whole (such as in Middelalderparkenwhere the medieval shore was reconstructed by way of a reconstructed largewater pond as a way of contextualizing the medieval ruins by the – alsoreconstructed – outlet of the river Lo).Despite extensive public investments in systematic adjustments 347 of thearchitectural system of the traditional urban block, most of these changes areinvisible from the public streets. If we look at for instance Tøyengata atGrønland or Thorvald Meyers gate at Grünerløkka and compare almost acentury old images with recently taken photographs, the similarities are morestriking than the differences: There have of course been changes in the designof commercial spaces and their advertisement towards the street, today carscan be seen in the streets, and there are more people in the streets and theydress differently than before. But the architecture of the street – at least fromabove street level and up – seems to have been extremely stable.I have just described the morphological adjustments of the traditionalurban blocks related to the urban renewal program, and I will very soonpresent an analysis of patterns in recent iconographical and micromorphologicaltransformations of the streetscape. Thereafter I will discusstransformation related to issues such as primary elements and the ongoingintroduction of new typologies. But first, I would like to call attention to thenotion of architectural stability understood as an ‘image’ that new patterns inpreferences, practices and iconographical changes play up against:Architectural stability can be related to efforts to preserve appreciatedcharacteristics of the areas’ architecture, but also to architecturalcharacteristics of flexibility and architectural adaptability towards gradualchanges in uses and user groups.At Grønland, the traditional urban block areas, developed as they wereaccording to 19 th century grid plans in between the existing older structures,can be described as architecturally stable in the same way as the traditionalurban block areas at Grünerløkka. At Grønland, architectural transformationin relation to the areas’ node function and older structures in terms of partlyrealized clearance plans for development of the “City”-area, gave the main347 If we recall the hygienic critique of the traditional urban block system that entailed development of thereformed urban block system early in the 19 th century, all the objections of architectural characteristics thatcould be related to the poor sanitary conditions in the traditional urban block system, have in principal beensystematically removed as a result of the urban renewal programs.196


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2spatial ensembles of the area a much more complex and architecturallydiverse character than for instance Grünerløkka has.Today the stability of Grünerløkka’s architecture is reflected in policies ofpreservation of a complete and homogenous environmental system that canbe associated with a certain urban working class way of life in the 19 thcentury industrial city. In general, the most visible form of transformation ofimmigrant and gentrified streetscapes today is the growth of a variety ofshops, cafés and eateries placed within older architectural environments. Thecombination of old and new seems to give inner city neighbourhoods aspecific character that many gentrifiers seem to value. Historical buildingsgive the area a sense of place and historical depth, while the changes in use atground floor level add dimensions of novelty and style. By emphasizing thearchitectural stability, the new “global” metropolitan lifestyles are embracedin settings of local, stable distinctiveness and peculiarities.And, as we later shall see, also the architectural adjustments related toprogrammatic transformation of the factory premises along Akerselva,supports the notion of architectural stability in the Grünerløkka area.By interplay between observable patterns of differences the recognition ofstability related to the preserved architectural characteristics can in itself besaid to be involved in different homologies and distinctions in processes inwhich a ‘sense of place’ and identity are produced: In addition to distinctionof recognizable architectural characteristics that can be contrasted withcharacteristics of later architectural systems, the notion of architecturalstability in historical architectural environments often imply a focus oninterrelations between patterns produced by past and present practices in thearea.ICONOGRAPHICAL AND MICRO-MORPHOLOGICALTRANSFORMATIONS OF CENTRAL STREETSCAPESTendenciesIn contrast to the architectural transformation related to the public strategy ofthe urban renewal program, iconographical and micro-morphologicaltransformation of the streetscape is produced by interacting patterns inindividual projects or tactics: By the individual projects of inhabitants,visitors and other users of the city, as well as by shop-owners and otherproducers of small-scale environments. The observable patterns in changes ofthe streetscape can be associated with general patterns of changes indemography, in preferences and in urban practices. The concrete observablepatterns are gradually developed by a diversity of individual projectsrealizing individual desires in relation to available resources and judgmentsof potentials in situations that also comprise public building regulations. In197


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2the previous chapter we have seen how the architecture developed atGrünerløkka exploited the possibilities given by the building regulations, andhow the (predictably) homogenous interest of a large number of investors andentrepreneurs produced a recognizable pattern, all in accordance with thepolitical intentions of the building regulations. Also the morphologicalchanges analyzed above, can be seen as a products of a public architecturalstrategy (with economic incentives). The process, in which micromorphologicaland iconographical patterns of architectural transformation areproduced within an existing urban area, represents a slightly different relationbetween planning authorities and individual actors. These patterns aredeveloped by a multiplicity of tactics that, taken together, transform thestreetscape by exploiting the range of possible variations given by thesituation. Most of this happens on a level of detail that escape publicregulations. The observable patterns can thus be related to homologies anddistinctions in individual tactics that by aggregation produce patterns whichby others are experienced as strategies.Observable patterns in how different commercial spaces advertise orexpose their commodities and services towards the streetscape can be seen asa reflection of the demographic situation in the area. Such new patterns canbe seen as a reflection of demographic changes both when it comes toinhabitants and user groups. Briefly summarized the main tendencies 348 inthe demographical history of Grünerløkka and Grønland have produced acurrent situation of different coexisting, competing, and interacting sociodemographicalgroups that in a somewhat simplified manner could beassociated with notions of the “the old and weary”, “the young and hip” and“the exotic ethnic”: 349 During the first three quarters of the 19 th century bothGrünerløkka and Grønland suffered from massive depopulation: From 1910to 1966 the population was decimated by 50%: 350 During the 50s and 60syoung and resourceful families moved out to the new satellite towns, whilemore deprived groups such as pensioners and benefit recipients remained inthe area. 351 Grünerløkka and Grønland were cheap, central and run down andtotally different from the new and popular satellite towns. At the same time348 Since the geographical-administrative units have been altered several times during the last 50 years, thegeographical units that statistical reports are based on are slightly different from period to period. This makes itdifficult to find exact numbers for comparison in the historical statistics for the area. But, the main tendenciesare well known and clear enough to be summarized as in the following.349 These three categories (although named in various ways) are often used in the media discourse as well as inmunicipal memos and assessments related to the political discourse on urban strategies. The categories canthus be related to a gentrification-discourse-biased conception of the situation.350 As described in an article in Arbeiderbladet (socio-democratic daily national newspaper) 09.11.1967,referred in Hansen 2004:46, the demographic development at Grünerløkka 1910-1966 had the followingcharacteristics: 1910: 32,000 inhabitants, 1948: 23,500, 1960: 16,000, 1966: 14,500.351 The experience of explosively increased affluence related to moving out (upwards) to the larger, lighter andmodern well equipped apartments, as well as the experience of demographic and social decline in the areasthey left behind, is well illustrated in a number of novels, such as for instance Dag Solstad 1977: Svik.Førkrigsår. Krig. 1940. Brød og våpen, Oslo, Oktober forlag.198


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2marginalized groups in need of inexpensive places to live, groups of peopledemanding cheap housing because of other priorities, and also groups ofpeople with alternative domestic preferences than the ones the constitutingmain part of the market, started moving in to these areas. The immigrationfrom non-Western countries started with industrial workers in the 70s thatsettled in these relatively cheap, central areas. Gradually their familiesfollowed, later on also an increasing number of refugees. At the same time ascorner shops in Norway in general were suffocated by the competition fromlarge supermarket-chains, the increasing immigrant population had developeda market for imported “immigrant” food shops in these areas. During the1980s and 1990s (i.e. after 352 the urban renewal programs) Grünerløkka, butlately also Grønland, has received an increasing number of relatively young,ethnical Norwegian, smaller households, gradually replacing some groups ofimmigrants, elderly, and socio-economic marginal groups (except residentsthat stay put in their municipal social housing apartments).The most striking observable reflection of the socio-cultural andprogrammatic changes at Grünerløkka (in particular, but partly also atGrønland), is the development of a rich variety of street oriented cafés, barsand eateries as well as a wide repertoire of life style oriented shops. Thisdevelopment, in relation to intensification of both street life and park usescan be seen as a reflection of changes in patterns of urban socio-spatialpractices associated with “urban recreation” comprising shopping andentertainment in settings in which consumption of places and it’s imageryseem to be as important as consumption of commodities and services. In thisperspective, the streetscape of Grünerløkka has developed into an arena forexposure and exploration of new lifestyle-expressions related to new sets ofurban practices and consumer preferences. In the current Norwegian mediadiscourse 353 on the development of urban socio-cultural phenomena,lifestyles and “the latest and newest”, the streetscapes of Grünerløkka areascribed an unique position as both incubator, laboratory and exhibit-arena ofsuch aspects of urban socio-cultural transformation.352 Some students, artists and others appreciating cheap accommodation in central urban areas with otherqualities than the more comfortable modern apartments in the satellite town areas, had started to move intoGrünerløkka in the 1960s. Some of these were also an active and outspoken part of the resistance against theurban clearance plans in general and the squatter action against the Grünerbygg project in particular. Butyounger people moving into the Grünerløkka and Grønland areas did not represent any demographic group interms of statistical numbers until in the 1980s and 1990s – i.e. after the urban renewal program. According tothe Oslo Statistical Yearbooks the tendency of relative reduction in the cohorts of inhabitants aged 20-40continued in the decades after the Second World War until it stabilized and turned in the 80s. In the urbanrenewal program as well as other political strategies for “Oslo inner east” it was an explicit political objectiveto attract younger, resourceful groups of ethnic Norwegians to areas that were conceived as suffering fromboth disinvestment (due to half a century of urban clearance plans) and social decline.353 As analyzed by Jonny Aspen (as part of the Immigentri project) in the article “Gentrifisering som kulturelldiskurs” in Jonny Aspen (red.) 2005: By og byliv i endring. Studier av byrom og handlingsrom iOslo,Spartacus, Scandinavian Academic Press, Oslo.199


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2A few main patterns or general tendencies in iconographical and micromorphologicalchanges can be observed as reflections of the programmaticand socio cultural transformation of the “architecturally stable” streetscapesin the study areas of Grønland and Grünerløkka. Some of these tendencies arealso recognized and discussed by other researchers that have investigatedurban transformation related to gentrification and immigration: Extensive use of visual elements representing references to other placesor other times introduce aspects of otherness into the streetscapes: Thenew repertoires of commercial spaces introduce iconographical elementswith more or less explicit references to other places, other cities orcultures, for instance in terms of global references (i.e. productsintegrated into the global economy, or cultural imports related toimmigrant-driven enterprises). The variety of commercial spaces with an“international” or “continental” character is often ascribed symbolicvalue and as such seen as providing the area with an “urban” and“trendy” image. As discussed by Doreen Massey, the global referencescan be seen as “mediators” in a local-global interplay creating a “globalsense of place”. 354 In addition, historical style elements, retro-concepts,etc. in many of the new total-designed establishments play up against theexisting historical architectural environments in different ways, creatingillusions of other places and other times. This can be seen as a more orless artful manipulation of the “architectural narrative” contained in thelocal history of urban practices. Variations in levels of investment and exposure of consistent designstrategies produce patterns of differences between commercial spaceswith a more or less deliberate informal or pretentious character – fromthe most thrifty and austere (but not necessarily minimalist) to the utmoststaged and total-designed (but not necessarily excessive). Within therepertoire of new commercial spaces there is a tendency towards moreambitious and consistent design strategies. The increased focus oncreating a distinct atmosphere of adventure and style can be said toreflect that great emphasis is put on consumption of place andexperiences of place, in addition to the qualities of commodities andservices as such. In contrast, the more thrifty design strategies can besaid to reflect emphasis on competitive advantages related to price andquality of commodities and services. Street orientation: Many of the new establishments are more directlyoriented towards the public street space than the traditional shops in thearea used to be. New kinds of connections and interplay between theinterior shop spaces and the exterior street space can be observed. The354 Doreen Massey 1994: Space, Place and Gender, Oxford.200


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2street orientation of the new retail units or eating-places transform thespatial integration the public street space (and its activities and users)and the commercial space (and its activities and users). The public streetspace is made use of in different ways:• By extensive use of sidewalks for outdoor seating,• by display of goods on the sidewalks,• by use of large an spacious shop windows for improved visualcontact between inside and outside, and• by use of large windows that can be pulled aside in the summerseason (with cushions for seating on the window sills), etc. Homologies, distinctions and cross-references: Uses of design elementsto communicate the profile of the establishment can be related to patternsof distinctions and homologies. There is a quite high turnover oncommercial spaces in the study areas, and continuous changes in designand uses of iconographical elements. Within these relatively rapidchanges, patterns in uses of iconographical references between differentkinds of establishments can be observed: there are of course uses ofimitation to create associations and uses of contrasting design strategiesto distinguish the profile of the establishment, but there are alsonumerous examples of iconographical characteristics that are mimickedwith irony, and play with cross-references. As discussed by Bourdieu, 355interacting relations of homologies and distinctions are dynamic, and thisbecomes even more obvious in a situation of rapid changes. 356In the following I will investigate observable patterns in micromorphologicalchanges and uses of iconographical means that arecharacteristic of different types of new commercial spaces that have emergedin the “architecturally stable” streetscape of the study areas Grünerløkka andGrønland: I will look into how the new patterns exploit the possibilitiesdefined by the architectural situation – and how the observable patternstransform aspects of the street architecture.355 Ref. discussions in part one (chapter 2).356 An example: In the summer 2002, we were out with our student research assistants, inspecting the new,conceptually specialized establishments in the Grünerløkka study area. Although quite different in profile, 5 ofthe recently started, most trendy and popular establishments had one characteristic design element in common:frosted details in the shop window glasses – carefully designed graphics in sand blown or etched frosted zones,sometimes with the name or logo of the establishment, or an integration of both. Apparently, frosted glass was“in” – maybe even possible to describe as the latest symbol of sophisticated taste, novelty and style. However,by the end of the summer “frosted” shop windows made by adhesive plastic film had turned up on all kinds ofkebab shops, coffee bars, butcher shops, take-aways, etc. The next summer, in 2003, the windows had beenchanged in most of the establishments that first had frosted windows (and replaced with larger units that couldbe pulled aside in the summer season to open the café space towards the street, or changed when a new shopconcept replaced the previous one). The year after (2004) when the student research assistants were sent outto do the yearly photo registrations of the street facades and the commercial spaces of the key-streets of thestudy areas, frosted (etched or sand-blown) glass could hardly be found at Grünerløkka at all.201


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2I have selected a few trades, in which patterns of differences can be observedand analyzed, to explore variations within main tendencies. Furthermore Ihave included a few more detailed studies to illustrate typical examples.These are:- Hairdressers – an investigation of iconographical and micromorphologicalpatterns of differences between traditionalNorwegian hairdressers, new “trendy” hair studios, and the newmore austere immigrant barber shops and hairdressers.- Specialist food stores – an investigation of iconographical andmicro-morphological patterns that are typical of how immigrant-run(fruit and vegetable dominated) food shops and halal butcher shopsexploit and transform the architectural situation, and a discussion ofpatterns of association and contrast between the architecturalappearance of these types of establishments and a typical new totaldesigneddelicatessen shop.- Places of entertainment – an investigation of patterns oficonographical and micro-morphological differences thatcharacterize different types of establishments such as the typical“brown” pub and the coffee bar, and a more detailed discussion ofhow the design of some of the new café spaces play up againstdifferent aspects of the historical architectural situation, and as suchcreate “architectural narratives” of place-identity by emphasizingand manipulating the history of local socio-spatial urban practices.- Spaces for shopping life-style markers: dressing, accessorizes andhome decoration – an investigation of typical patterns that arecharacteristic of the new repertoire of life-style oriented specializedcommercial spaces and how such patterns contrast patterns typicalof both traditional specialized assortment-based shops and some ofthe new “ethnically specialized” assortment based shops,exemplified by Pakistani and Indian textile shops at Grønland andlower Grünerløkka.A more exhaustive analysis would probably have made it possible to discovereven more fine-meshed patterns. Since the purpose of this investigationmainly is to identify aspects of dialectics related to other part-aspects thathave been investigated in other part-studies in this thesis, I’ve chosen to keepit on a more general level of detail.202


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2HairdressersIn the traditional Norwegian (ladies) hairdresser saloon the shop windowfilters the visual contact between the shop-space and the public street: Theshop window in these saloons is generally filled up – with signs (shop signsand/or signs advertising hair products and photos of models), with exhibitionof hair products and, occasionally, pottery plants on shelves. In addition, acounter often provides supplementary screening of the activities of thehairdresser and the customers from visual contact with the street space. Theservices of the hairdresser are treated as a quite private matter: The process ofembellishment is only to be observed by other customers undergoing thesame inelegant phases of being wet and disheveled, covered with hedgehoglikedye-cap, hair rollers, half done and finally ready to hit the street. Walkersin the street have to enter the shop or at least stand close to the window to geta glance of what is going on inside, behind the window exhibition. Likewise,the hairdresser’s customers only get glimpses of bodies passing by thewindow. (The traditional Norwegian barber shops are not quite as screenedoff as the traditional ladies hairdresser saloons, but neither were they asnumerous and dominant, as men’s hairdressing also used to be a far less timeandresource consuming activity than what it has turned into more recently).In contrast, the shop windows of both the (often thrifty) immigrant barbershop and the (often exclusively minimalist) hair studio are in general moreopen and transparent. Visually, the performance of the hairdresser’s servicesthen becomes closer integrated with the street life. Instead of working like ascreen or a filter, the shop window then works like a two-ways mediator ofentertainment between the street space (with its users and activities) and theshop space (with its users and activities). The customers can observe thestreet life while drinking their cafe latte and getting their hair done, and thestreet audience passing by can enjoy the professional efficiency of theworking hairdresser and the aesthetical transformation of the customers.Within these micro-morphological patterns of transformation of thehairdresser shop type (visual openness, sparse windows decoration, etc.), thedesign of the shop signs and the exposed shop interiors, the names of thebarbershops/hair studios, and the exposed price lists clearly communicatesthe hairdresser shop’s individual profile. Today, most of the more traditionalhairdresser saloons in the study areas are also run by immigrants. Theiconographical variation – the use of design elements, signs and symbols thatcommunicate contextual differences within the variety of local hairdressers –are supported by their localization in the streetscape (as also each of theseshops are elements forming the streetscape they are part of). “Trendy” hairstudios are gathered in gentrified main streets, immigrant barber shops inimmigrant shopping streets, and traditional hairdresser saloons spread out inthe more domestic side and back streets.203


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2Iconographical differences in street exposure: Minimalist hair studios (above), traditionalhairdressers run by immigrants (under).204


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2Hairdresser shop interiors – traditional hairdressers/barber shops run by immigrants: Onlyminimal “necessary” adjustments of the existing premises (no total redesign), a non-pretentious“bricolage” of different decorative or functional elements, religious or geographical referencesrelated to the origin of the shop owner, and a generous sitting area for waiting customers andvisiting acquaintances.205


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2Hair studio interiors: Total redesign of the shop premises in a consistent minimalist style.Ichnographically, there are clear patterns of association and more subtlepatterns of distinction between the traditional Norwegian hairdresser-shopsand the hairdressers run by immigrants when it comes to both interiordecoration and visual advertisement towards the street: The shop signs areoften of the same kind; both the adhesive letters on the shop windows, thesignboard above the shop windows and the standing signboards with priceliston the sidewalk seem to have been ordered from the same catalogues thattraditional Norwegian hairdressers and shops have used for decades. Like inthe interior design of small, local and traditional Norwegian hairdressershops, one can often find plants, standard hair-product advertising posters,shelves with shampoos, etc., in addition to quite a diverse repertoire ofhomey decorative elements that have been aggregated over time.In most of the immigrant-run hairdresser shops neither interior walls norstreet façades have been redesigned: the establishments seem to have taken206


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2the premises into use with only a minimum of adjustments. The interiordecoration, furniture, and equipment of the barber shop seem to have beencollected and selected out of pragmatic concerns rather than from aestheticaljudgments to create a consistent style. In some way this can be said to reflecta more pragmatic attitude to hairdressing (as a kind of maintenance-service),rather than hairdressing as the design and promotion of individual identityand style. In addition, one can find geographical references to other places:Particularly barber shops often have scenery-posters from the native countryof the shop-owner on the walls, including religious motifs such as picturesfrom Mecca and Koran texts (in Arabic).The iconographical patterns that distinguish the trendy hair studios fromboth the traditional Norwegian and the immigrant-run hairdressers are relatedto both interior design and visual advertisement towards the public street:The hair studios are presented as an integrated total design in consistentminimalist style – both in their appearance towards the public street and ininterior design. By façade refurbishment, individually designed signs,carefully selected window signage (if any), and exterior sidewalk furniturethe often quite minimalist and polished image of the studio-shop play upagainst the simple geometry of the façade, as a contrast to the rustic andornamented façade elements of the adjacent buildings. The interiors are openand airy, in general dominated by a few, selected design elements, and a richvariety of hair products for purchase arranged in specially designed shelves.Another distinct pattern of difference between the “trendy” hair studiosand the barbershops and hairdresser saloons (run by immigrants) is the designof the sitting area for waiting customers: All the investigated trendy hairstudios have a visually well-composed sitting area with elegant, but notparticularly comfortable chairs, and relatively few seats (as if saying: “time isrunning/we know your time is valuable, we will not keep you waiting!”). Incontrast, all the investigated traditional barbershops and hairdresser saloons(run by immigrants) had soft and voluminous second hand 357 sitting groups.The numbers of seats are often more numerous than the actual number ofhairdresser-seats. Furthermore one can find a large table with papers andmagazines (as if saying: “time is coming, sit down and relax!”). But thegenerous sitting groups may also work as a meeting place: as described byone interviewed immigrant hairdresser (#507) 358 friends and acquaintancesoften come by and sit down for a chat.357 In contrast to the second-hand furniture used in recently established cafés run by Norwegians in the samestudy areas (a more classy heirloom-kind of second-hand furniture), these types of sitting groups remind memore of basement sitting-rooms that could be found in single-family houses of the Norwegian middle classesin the 70s and 80s. They were bought cheap then, later on thrown out, and today available almost for free inweekend flee markets.358 This is a reference to interview number, shop interviews.207


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2Specialist food storesThere is a wide range of immigrant-run food stores in the study areas – smalllocal corner shops, larger supermarkets, and more general groceries andspecialized food stores such as halal butcher shops and supermarkets thatmainly provide imported goods from particular areas such as for instanceVietnam, Turkey or Pakistan. Most of the chain supermarkets in Oslo are infact run by immigrants, but then without the iconographical and micromorphologicalcharacteristics of the typical immigrant food store. In herstudy of “ethnic minorities and culinary entrepreneurship” in Oslo, AnneKrogstad 359 has elucidated patterns in individual strategies for realization ofdesires and personal projects in situations that are characterized by limitedpossibilities. In addition, her investigation demonstrates the importance ofimmigrant food shops and eateries in current cultural exchange by what shedescribes as “integration via the taste buds”. My focus in the followinginvestigation is first and foremost on visually observable patterns in howtypical immigrant food shops appear in the streetscape, how they exploit thearchitectural situation, and how they transform aspects of the streetscape – bythe introduction of elements of exotic “otherness”, by patterns in streetorientation, and by representing a pragmatic, cheap and apparently unconceitedcontrast to some of the more staged and thoroughly designedspecialist food shops run by and oriented towards ethnic Norwegians.In the typical immigrant food shop the street façade is totally dominated bycolorful exhibition of fruits and vegetables in cases on shelves, usually withhandwritten prize signs. The focus in the visual presentation of these shops isthe quality, prize and assortment of goods – visually arranged to expose theexcess and variety towards the public street – and not the design profile or theshop space itself. The exterior exposure of fruits and vegetables works bothas a sidewalk extension of the shop space, as an advertising board and asbate: customers have to enter the interior shop space to pay. The door is oftencovered by advertisement international telephone cards. Also on the insidethe visual presentation of the goods seems to emphasize an image ofexcessive variety of inexpensive and more or less exotic importedmerchandise. One can see fluorescent prize signs and piles of goods. In thelarger immigrant supermarkets many different types of rice in economy size 5kilo bags can for instance be found, in addition to buckets of olives, driedfruit etc. Even the smaller, more marginal local corner shops expose theirwide range of dry foods, fresh bread, børeks or spring rolls around thecounter, while the more limited assortment of for instance dairy products areplaced in the back of the shop.359 Anne Krogstad 2002: En stille revolusjon i matveien. Etniske minoriteter og kulinarisk entreprenørskap,Institutt for samfunnsforskning (Institute for Social Reseach), Oslo.208


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2Five different immigrant food stores: visual exposure of fruits/vegetables, façade treatment andstreet signs (left), interior (middle), and details (right).209


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2Except for the fact that customers or people walking by can get a glimpse ofthe inside of the shop through the (almost always) open door, the interior ofthe shop space is hardly visible from the street. In general, the immigrantcorner shops and supermarkets have very long opening hours. But when theshop is closed the street façade is literally shut down: When the shelves withfruits and vegetables are removed, the bars on all the blinded windows andthe un-refurbished façade are exposed. Except for the often quite standard 360street sign, and the name of the shop printed on the awnings protecting thefruits and vegetables, there is usually no particular design or treatment of thestreet façade.None of the interviewed immigrant shopkeepers described a consciousdesign strategy, all with the exception of one specific issue, addressed byseveral informants (#112, #317, #437, #502): the necessity of making thefood store appear as clean, tidy and neat in order to attract Norwegiancustomers. Furthermore the shopkeepers described their competitiveadvantage as related to price and quality on fruits, vegetables and importedgoods, in addition to friendly service.The exotic element of embedded otherness, by visual references to othercultures through both telephone card-posters, the display of Bollywoodvideos and foreign letters and symbols on the food packages – plus the issueof customers experience of adventure related to shopping exotic food culture– are issues that were not touched upon by any of the interviewed immigrantshopkeepers: their overall emphasis was on price, assortment, quality andservice. In contrast to both the chain supermarkets and the more exclusivedelicatessen shops, the apparently relaxed attitude towards profiling, stagingand consistent design strategies – supported by the quite frequent occurrenceof misspelling on handwritten advertising boards – may be associated with alack of cultural, social or material capital. However it cal also be said torepresent the quality of a less pretentious and more straight forward contrastto some of the other shops in the area.Within the study areas geographical clusters of shops that are orientedtowards different ethnic groups can clearly be seen. This goes for instance forTurkish shops in the lower part of Trondheimsveien and Motzfeldtsgate atGrønland, and Pakistani shops, also comprising two specialized sweets shopsin Tøyengata, at Grønland. Among the shopkeepers that were localized insuch ethnic clusters, most of them described a double market of regionalethnically specialized customers and local Norwegians. Furthermore theyrejected that competition was a problem since they tend to help each other out360 As mentioned before these are most of the same kinds of plain catalogue ordered shop signs as thetraditional Norwegian corner shops in the areas used to have, as can be seen in quite many of the immigranthairdresser shops, kiosk, etc. The signs furthermore often have an integrated Coca Cola or another kind of softdrink logo, i.e. the signs have been partly been sponsored.210


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2and the cluster as such attracts more people to the area (#112, #317, #436,#440, #441, #501, #502, #506, #515, #532). The interviewed immigrantshopkeepers at upper Grünerløkka describe their customers as mainly ethnicNorwegians living in the area. Apparently there are more Norwegians thanbefore, since most immigrants today tend to do their shopping at Grønlandand Tøyen (#320).The Halal butcher shops have an ichnographical and micro-morphologicalappearance that is quite different from the vegetables and dry-food orientedimmigrant shops: The focus on “clean, tidy, serious and hygienic”appearance is even more explicitly emphasized in the interviews withmanagers of halal butcher shops (#532, #441, #320). In the larger halalbutcher shops, street façade treatment, shop signs and the visual exposure ofthe shop space towards the public street ia designed to support the image of aserious, hygienic and religiously correct meat store: The street façadetreatment with, as often is the case, an integrated tiled shop sign can be seenas a more permanent investment in street oriented appearance.The white tiled and well-lit shop spaces, as well as the cold counters withfresh meat, are often visually exposed to the street space, also at times whenthe shop is closed. Also in these shops is quantity and prize as well as qualityvisually emphasized by way of piles of lamb and chicken carcasses and largefluorescent prize signs. As described by the interviewed halal butchershopkeepers, they all have a double market: a local market of Norwegianneighbourhood customers and a regional market of both private immigrantcustomers, particularly of Arab/African, Pakistani or Turkish origin as wellas institutions and restaurants. Ichnographically the halal butcher shops havea more ethnic and religious profile than the general immigrant groceries –with religious symbols and texts on the walls, pictures from Mekka, Urdu/Arabic letters on adhesive text on the shop windows, fund raising savingboxes for mosques on the counter, and posters announcing political orcultural arrangements with foreign letters exposed either at the street façade,the door and at the edges of the shop windows.To buy fresh meat is much more a matter of trust than buying vegetables:In the halal butcher shops and the food stores selling halal meat a variety ofreassuring information signs, notes and newspaper clippings are exposed onthe walls, advertising that “here only true halal meat from certifiedNorwegian butcheries is sold”, “we only sell legal meat”, etc.211


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2Halal butcher shops: street facade (left), interior/display of goods (middle) and details (right)Another new type of total-designed specialist food store that in comparisonwith traditional shops in the study areas makes use of exotic otherness andchanges in street orientation, can be exemplified by the delicatessen shopHotel Havana at Grünerløkka: The manager describes (#613) 361 thecustomers as young people, mainly ethnic Norwegians, typical “upper middleclass”, mostly women between 30-45. Most of the customers are regulars.Both the manager and the owner 362 are ethnic Norwegians living in the area.Like many other lifestyle-oriented shops in the area, with their distinct profileand clear idea of who their customers are, also this shop is a hybrid:delicatessen shop, eatery and catering.361 Reference interview number, shop interviews.362 The owner, Jan Vardøen, has designed and/or owns a number of stores, bars and eateries in the Grünerløkkaarea: Los Lobos, Bar Boca, Delicatessen, Bistro Brocante, Park Teatret Bar, Villa Paradiso.212


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2Both geographical references and style elements are consciously used togive the delicatessen shop distinct profile and image: The manager describesthe style as “retro”, “classic”, “agreeable” and “authentic”, and the design as“Italian” or “continental”. The refurbishment of the shop’s street façade witha specially designed sign plays up against the architecture of the building: theconsistent “continental retro” style of the shop façade emphasizes theclassicistic façade elements of the building and the associations that can bemade between the architecture of this building and continental architecturefrom the same period. The geographical references are not too explicitthough. Although described as Italian, the name of the shop can also giveother associations; both the cheeses and the charcuterie they offer are just asoften French or Spanish as Italian. As such the shop-concept is definitelycontinental. In combination with the references to the past (retro, classic, etc.)this provides the adjacent street space a sense of “otherness”. In contrast tothe more integral built-in geographical reference of for instance a halalbutcher-shop run by Turks, the geographical references at Hotel Havana canbe described as more consciously selected and staged.Hotel Havana: Above left: street façade, exterior benches and sidewalk sign. Middle and right:window seating and visual contact between shop space and street space. Under: interior, withspecially designed tiles, display of goods.Hotel Havana is located in a busy main street at Grünerløkka. With its largeand visually open shop windows, window seating and a sitting bench on theoutside, the shop space is tightly and directly attached to the public street213


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2space. The visual contact between the interior of the shop and the sidewalk isnot hindered by merchandise on display: what is advertised towards the streetis neither the commodities nor the prices, but the experience, adventure andwell-being related to the “whole package”: The customers that sit in thewindow seats and view the street life while enjoying their snack arepositioned, so to say, as window displays for potential customers passing by.On occasions when there are no customers on display in the window, both thefree seats and the interior space of the shop are exposed towards thesidewalk.Contrary to the immigrant shops there are not that many visible prize tagsor signs. Non-regulars that care about the prize will have to ask. Anotherdifference is the limited amount of goods on display: only relatively smallunits and a few items of each kind can be found; this is a place for gourmetsrather than gourmands or large families.Cafés, pubs and eateriesThe last decade’s growth in both the number and variety of places to eat,drink and hang out is in itself a significant change in the Grünerløkka areaparticularly, but also at Grønland one can see that typical patterns ofdifferences have been created by various establishments that have differentprofile and are oriented towards different kinds of customers. But within andbetween these main patterns of differences there are an increasing number ofhybrids and uses of cross-references that play against the images of the atfirst sight most obvious types:• The “brown” pub with a rather heavily drinking, grown up, mainlyethnically Norwegian, mainly but not exclusively male, “workingclass” clientele of local regulars. The places serve cheap beer and areopen from relatively early in the morning (8 am or 9 am).• The new, staged and thematically profiled coffee bar/café/bar/eaterythat target a younger clientele (age 25-35) for whom the coffee barseems to be appreciated as the quintessence of contemporary urbanculture: the places provide arenas for lifestyle exposure, refinementof taste and casual sociability. Also within this broad category thereis a wide range of differences in profile and image that in variousways play up against different aspects of the existing architecturalsituation.• The “ethnic” eatery, run by immigrants, serving dishes from thenative country in an environment designed and decorated withreferences that emphasize the ethnic profile of the establishment,targeting both Norwegian customers and immigrants. Within thiscategory there is a wide range of differences between simpler, moreinformal take-away places with limited seating and the slightly more214


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2formal dinner restaurants, and between places that mainly function asa meeting place for immigrants from a certain region and more stagedand ‘ethnic packaged” places mainly oriented towards a Norwegianclientele. Since there is such a wide range of differences within thisvery broad category, and since most of the typical iconographiccharacteristics (geographical references, austere but “clean and tidy”,street orientation, etc.) have similarities with various design strategies(from the thrifty to the more total-designed) of different other typesof establishments, I will not in the following investigate and presentimmigrant-run establishments as a specific category in itself. There ishowever one issue that deserves a comment: The advent ofimmigrant-run establishments gave the city of Oslo a wide range ofnew kinds of eateries and restaurants, and, consequently, newfeatures of “otherness” was introduced to public life. Still today amajority of Oslo’s cafés, bars and eateries are run by immigrants.The typical low-end “brown” pub has a standard pub sign towards the street.It is sponsored by a brewery, and the brewery logo signals that this is a placefor beer drinking. In addition adhesive letters on the shop windows announcethe name of the establishment. Except from such signs, there is usually noobservable manipulation or redesign of the street façade. In contrast to thetypical coffee bar, the typical pub-space is not as directly visually connectedto the public street space: In addition to the often relatively large adhesivesigns on the windows, Venetian blinds and/or interior wainscoting oftencovers parts of the windows – as such visual contact through the windowsisblurred. After introduction of the “smoking law” 363 most bars and restaurants,also the typical “brown places”, put up various kinds of outdoor seating fortheir customers. Due to this the use of the public street space ha obtained newfeatures. But still, there are distinguishable micro-morphological differences(differences in how the interior space relates to the public street and theoutdoor seating) between the visually more open and street oriented coffeebars and the more traditional pubs and bars, and this also affects aspects ofencounter situations that they accommodate for: In the typical pubs, theoutdoor seating works as a “smoking zone”, visually and physicallysegregated from the main pub space. The pub is a denser and in many waysmore intimate space than the coffee bar. Typical pubs are ‘inward’ oriented,so to speak; with their partly covered window façades and the ways thatinterior seating is organized, the premises turn their back upon street life.Furthermore, many pubs have a more local character than the coffee bars.The regular customers are more important for the pubs’ economy than the363 The “smoking law” (”røykeloven” in Norwegian): National smoking prohibition in public accessible indoorspaces has been operative since June 1 st 2004.215


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2case is for coffee bars. If one visits such a place as a stranger though, manypeople would probably get the feeling of entering someone else’s “backyard”(like a stranger arriving at a saloon in a Western film). The interior space isoften sectioned, and the pub often has both seating groups, booths, and a bar.In contrast to coffee bars, different parts of the pub are visually screened offfrom each other.A selection of pubs at Grünerløkka / Grønland: Street signs (left), interior, details (right).216


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2Some of the pubs have a dance-floor. TV sets, gambling machines 364 andpool-tables are even more standard. Traditional pubs are seldom redesignedin a total way: both furniture and decorative elements often are kept as theyare even when the pub shifts owner and name. The more or less dark andrustic interior design, and the aggregated repertoire of quite differentdecorative elements, provides the pubs with an informal and casual character.As explained by some of the interviewed pub-owners (#446, #448, #449,#610, #611, #614), distinction against “sweaty fancy places” is quiteconscious:Their customers appreciate the low prizes and the casual, rough and cozyatmosphere that makes them feel welcome to come as they are and stay aslong as they like. A more pretentious design would challenge such qualities.The pub-owners describe that their regulars know each other quite well, someof them go on trips together, and they also meet and party outside the pub.Some of the traditional pub/restaurants serve traditional Norwegian cottardishes, while the more pure pubs do not serve food at all, although many ofthem are open from quite early in the morning (from 8 or 9 am).In contrast to the pubs the more recently established cafés/bars/eateriescome out as consistently designed total projects: Both street signs, streetfaçade treatment and the interior design appears to be consciously selected tosupport the thematic profile of the premise. When owners, name and profileof the café is changed, the whole design concept is usually replaced with anew staged and packaged thematic design project.A number of the new bars and eateries are designed with explicitreferences to other historical times and/or places. In the same way asarchitectural style elements were consciously selected to give certainassociations when the “neo-style” buildings of the late 19 th century period ofarchitectural historicism were designed, architectural elements are selectedand mimicked to create associations to particular geographical and historicalsocio-spatial settings, like for instance in total-designed retro café concepts:examples at Grünerløkka are the American 1950s style cocktail bar “BarBoca”, the “traditional” French bistro “Bistro Brocante”, and the Vienna style1910-20s art-deco cultural café “Parkteateret”. On their own websites, andother websites promoting each of these places of entertainment, the adventureand well-being related to the total-experience of consuming both food/drinksand the environments of the premises is described as providing anopportunity to travel in both time and space. 365364 Until prohibited and removed July 1 st 2007.365 “Et besøk på denne nydelige cocktailbaren setter deg umiddelbart tilbake 45 år i tid. Her er stemning ogatmosfære takket være smakfullt og tidsriktig interiør. Det viktigste er imidlertid at er får du byens bestecocktail! Bar Boca kan by på et rikt utvalg av drinker og cocktails fra øvede bartendere” (www.barboca.no,August 2007) ”Bistro Brokante er en koselig og intim fransk bistro med gjennomførte detaljer som utfordrerbåde øyne og gane. Bistroen er lokalisert midt i hjertet av Grünerløkka og er det stedet du stikker innom for et217


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2In addition, retro design concepts also provide an opportunity tomanipulate the immediate visual image of the establishment’s or area’shistory, by the use of various kinds of architectural and visualcommunication.Let me take an example: The cultural café/bar Parkteateret that wasestablished in a former cinema lobby of a 19 th century building, after a totalredesign and refurbishment that took place in 2002-2003: In the way theestablishment is exposed towards the public street and the park of Olaf Ryesplass one can see that architectural elements from three periods related to thehistory of the building and its related cultural institutions are put into play:1) The monumental symmetrical front façade of the classicistapartment building, and the emphasized entrance staircase,communicates that the building has been accommodated for a moreimportant collective program than just a regular shop on the streetlevel of an apartment building. Except for this, the architecture ofthe building appears as an integrated element in the 19 th centuryblock structure. In the back of the building, towards the backyard,there is also a theater and concert scene (formerly a cinema) with acentury long history. 3662) The new total-designed interior of the café/bar in the former cinemalobby (2003) is in a consistent art deco style, and the café/bar isprofiled as a “cultural café”. The name of the establishment,“Parkteateret”, stems from the second decade of the 20 th century. Atthat time art deco was the dominate mondaine and sophisticatedstyle associated with the continental cultural elite in general, and theartistic urban culture of Vienna in particular. In the second decade ofthe 20 th century Oslo, art deco was in Oslo mainly a west side andupper class phenomenon – and definitely not something that wasrepresentative of Grünerløkka’s café culture at that time. But theconsistent and integrated design of the café interior of today createsan illusion of the existence of a time-honored continental caféculture – in this particular local environment.3) The front façade neon-sign from the 1960s with the name of theestablishment is a good example of individually designed neon signdeilig måltid i uformelle omgivelser. Interiøret på Bistro Brocante skal være direkte importert fra Frankrike ogmiljøet er på mange måter mer ”parisisk” enn på de fleste parieserbistroer. Folk liker det, for her er de flestebordene gjerne opptatt. Utsikten mot Thorvald Meyers gate er fargerik og urban. Grünerløkka kalles ikke utengrunn for Oslos Paris.” (www.dinnerfortwo.no, August 2007)366 The building was originally built by Kristiania Brewery and opened as Grünerløkkens Folketheater in 1907,after 1913 named Grünerløkkens Verdenstheater, later on further expanded and redesigned with new classicistfaçade (1918-22) and reopened as Parkteateret and a municipal cinema (1926-91), then it became a theatrescene for Nordic Black Theatre (1992-2001), before it again was redesigned (2002-03) and reopened asParkteateret concert scene with Parkteateret café and bar in the lobby.218


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2iconography: stringent, simple and designed to work as an integratedpart of the geometry of the classicist front façade. But except for an‘if it’s not broken, don’t fix it’-argument of more thrifty designstrategies, the neon sign adds another iconographical quality to thestreet exposure of the café/bar space: If you find the art deco interiora little too perfect to be truly authentic – or for instance the finishand detailing of the plywood underbodies of the wall-mountedbenches or the wall-hung lamps suspiciously home-made – theexplicit references to the almost 80 years long history of“Parkteateret” on the menu and web page (supported by historicalphotos of the exterior with the illuminated neon sign), may fool youeven more: The neon sign supplies the art-deco interior with animage of a continuous history of continental café culture – in a muchmore convincing way than what a new street sign in art deco stylecould have done. If we furthermore take into consideration thatGrünerløkka in the 1960s was in a socio-economic trough; the act ofannouncing that this place was alive in the 60s is a way of creatingan image of authentic pioneer pre-gentrification café-culture. Inaddition it can be said to signalize a subtle distinction towards themany more total-designed places for drinking and entertainment inthe area; the profile of the place is consistently stylish, but alsoinformal, relaxed and not at all desperately posh. Such a mediated“architectural narrative” of an authentic old continental café space,could not that easily have been constructed in completely newarchitectural environments.Parkteateret: Street façade (with neon sign), interior photos.219


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2However, also “modern” and new design concepts are set out to play upagainst historical features and qualities in nearby streets, buildings andinterior spaces, though in different ways than in the more consistent retroprojects.The often slick minimalist (but sometimes also excessive‘maximalist’) styled cafés appear as integrated total designs. One plays uponboth associations, for instance to the colors and strict geometry of the façadearchitecture, and contrast, for instance to the (often refurbished and polished)façade with its ornaments and detailing. In the latter instance new stylishdesign is set in contrast to the scenery of the old buildings and streetscapes,playing upon more nostalgic ambiences and picturesque qualities. But also insuch instances, in the by other means totally consistently designed caféspaces, often a few older elements are kept and/or staged as informalcontrast. In many places old sofas are used in such a way, but then usuallymore the stylish heirloom/antique shop kind of old sofas, not the flee-marketkind of sofas that one can find in immigrant-run hairdresser shops.Furthermore, many establishments can be seen to play with, in a more or lessironic manner, iconographic references and cross-references. A very explicitand recent example of this is the four weeks art installation project at “Soundof Mu”, in the summer of 2007:“Sound of Mu” is a relatively new combined bar and gallery inMarkveien. Both the interior and the exterior are designed in a consistentminimalist style – appearing as a clinically clean white cube. In the mediathere has repeatedly been criticism and ironic remarks about this “too cold,too white and extraordinary excluding hipster place”, at the same time as theartist milieu at the place has become more dynamic. 367 In the summer 2007the whole establishment was provisionally reconfigured as part of an artinstallation project. The place was “reopened” under the name “Originalenpub & bar”, and it had been added imitations of dark brownish wainscotingand half timbering made in cardboard, and contained items such as boots, anelk-wall-clock, a banjo, and posters of Bulgarian dance bands on the walls,etc. According to the same newspaper article the sales actually went up by40% during the “brown” experiment – because the customers stayed muchlonger than before.Ethnic eatery concepts (Greek, Indian, Arabic, Italian, Mexican, etc.) havebeen developed by ethnic Norwegians as well as by immigrants. Thevariation in design strategies seems to be more a function of where they arelocated (in the three study areas) than a reflection of ethnic origin of theowner/manager: Main street locations at the more expensive upper part ofGrünerløkka (high rental costs) is reflected both in more deliberate, andexpensive, total design strategies and in the fact that there are more367 Aftenposten, August 6 th , page 8.220


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2Norwegian customers. A wide range of more specialized thematic conceptscan though also be observed, such as for instance the “underwater” ambianceof the Scuba bar in the lower part of Thorvald Meyers gate (for “divers andfriends”), the combined café and maternity/baby shop (lower part ofMarkveien), etc.Five examples of differently profiled new eateries/cafés/bars in the Grunerløkka area (from topto bottom): The “French” bistro Bistro Brocante, the restaurant Coma, the coffee bar Edwards,the café Fru Hagen (one of the first “gentrified” cafés in the area), and the teahouse/bar TeaLounge (left to right: street sign / street orientation, interior, details).221


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2In general these total designed new cafés are quite directly oriented towardsthe public street space, coffee bars the most bars a little less: Thetypical coffee bar ”attaches itself” tightly and directly to the street space.Different architectural means are used to support the street orientation:sidewalk seating (which was a common feature also before smoking wasprohibited indoors); large and clear windows that provide unobstructed visualcontact between the street and the interior space (the windows are oftendesigned to be pulled aside in the summer season). With open facades andwindow seating the coffee bar is rigged as a spectator’s arena. The coffeedrinkingclientele are given a nice view of the street life, at the same time asthey are positioned, so to speak, as window displays for potential customerspassing by. Since coffee bars sell quite small and inexpensive units, and sinceeach customer purchases only a limited number of units, such establishmentsare dependent on attracting a large number of customers every day: Mostcoffee bars are situated in busy urban spaces providing both a legitimateplace for people to stop and sit down, and exposure to a stream of peoplerushing by. Another common feature in coffee bars are seating solutionsdesigned to allow customers to sit in individual peace to drink coffee, read anewspaper and enjoy the view of the street life. The closeness to the publicstreet life provides the coffee bar with greater qualities of anonymous, nonconfrontingcasual sociability than one can find in traditional restaurants andbars.The interiors of the total designed new café concepts (not only coffee bars)are in general spatially organized to appear as spacious, open and airy aspossible: though walls may be painted in deep and strong colors, all cornersare relatively well lit, the diagonals of the interior space are kept open, andthere are rarely boots or sectioning providing places to hide away.Spaces for life style shopping: clothes, accessories and home decorationIn addition to more traditional and specialized categories of shops (clothing,domestic devices, gift shops, perfume, music, furniture, etc) that have a fairlybroad customer base, a range of hybrid categories of specialized niche-shopshave recently emerged in the two central study areas, particularly inGrünerløkka. Although they are quite diverse in regards of retail assortment,price-level and profile, the market and design strategies of the new hybridcategories stand out from the more traditional local shops in the area.Oriented as they are towards a niche in the market, these enterprises aredependant on a more regional market than shops oriented towards an ageandlifestyle-wise much broader range of customers. These hybrid shops sella mix of clothing and gadgets, in addition to music, books and body careproducts, and all of them are thematically specialized to be associated withparticular kinds of life styles and projects of personal identity production.222


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2However, even within the multiplicity of singular projects of shops thatare designed to be individual, different, alternative and personal, one can findregularities and patterns in the repertoire of life style profiles that are playedupon and represented. As a parallel to the repertoire of eateries – none ofthese restaurants at Grünerløkka and Grønland aspire for a Michelin star(those are located further west and down town) – Grünerløkka is no place tosearch for Louis Vitton purses or Armani suits (those can be purchased in thesame areas as the more prestigious restaurants). The life style oriented shopsat Grünerløkka define a range of life style markers related to: youth cultures with a sub-cultural touch (street wear,skateboarding, punk and metal music, etc.), “alternative, artistic and individual” designer clothing andaccessories (particularly for women), “globetrotter life style markers”, ethnically or regionallyspecialized gift shops and shops selling items for homedecoration, second-hand shops and retro-design shops, contemporary design icons and more exclusive global designbrands (shops selling kitchen devices and items for homedecoration, in addition to shops for baby equipment)In the interviews the shopkeepers explicitly describe a clear notion of whomtheir conscious individualist customers are, and how their shop provides awhole package of experiences that have been consciously selected anddesigned to meet and evenexceed the expectations of their demandingcustomers:In a shop selling street wear and accessories the interviewedassociates describe their customers as “mostly parents of youngchildren that are very eager not to turn sedate and mature toosoon. Most of them have relatively recently establishedthemselves in the area” (#312). A sales assistant in a shopselling vintage clothes and various second-hand items explainthat “our customers want their life to be special”, and “ingeneral those who come here are people that want to feelspecial – and not disappear in the crowd.” The customers aredescribed as mostly ethnic Norwegian women between the ageof 25 and 30 – “creative, artistic and innovative people”(#514). The owner of a shop that deal her own collection ofdesigner clothes as well as vintage clothes describe thecustomers as “mostly women in their 30s, women with dreams– wanting their lives to be unique” (#445). The owner of a223


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2“rockabilly” shop selling clothes and accessories describes hiscustomers as men of all kinds between the age of 18 and 86,and his ambition is to “make them feel exclusive and special”.Compared to the shops of more central shopping streets atGrünerløkka the owner describes his own shop as having a“lower sweat-factor”; “there have actually been men here thathave tried several pants on”. The design of the shop isdescribed as “an ambience of red car repair shop with shinypolish”. The owner emphasizes they have taken image andfinish seriously: “the shop shall scream!” The garage image isinspired by car culture and tattooing, in order to create a“rough, tough and exotic image” (#510).An associate of yet another trendy niche-shop describes hiscustomers as “punky and special customers, by no meansmainstream” (#511). An associate in a toy shop describes theircustomers as young, “alternative and urban” parents of youngchildren – mainly women at the age between 20 and 30 (#520).Also the customers of a shop that manufacture children’sclothes are described as “urban” ethnical Norwegian womanbetween the age of 25 and 35, customers “that are extremelyconscious in regards of price and quality” (#608).A number of these new commercial spaces operate with references to otherplaces or cities or aspects of such. One can however see a range ofdifferences in how this “otherness” is produced: While for instance aPakistani textile shop oriented towards and run by Pakistanis inevitably has abuilt-in element of “otherness”, the geographical references in many otherkinds of commercial spaces can be described as more consciously selected,mediated, engineered and packaged. In addition, the Pakistani and Indiantextile shops at Grønland and in the lower Grünerløkka-area appear as moreassortment-based specialist shops, like the more traditional (Norwegian)sewing machine shop and the traditional hardware store close to Birkelundenat Grünerløkka: The shop window of the Elna sewing machine shop (inThorvald Meyers gate) is packed with articles they keep to present as muchof their assortment and different makes and models as possible, from thesimplest and more economic to the more durable and robust. In the samemanner the shop window of the hardware store is packed with all kinds oftools and equipment for sale, some cheaper and some more expensive, to thesatisfaction of both amateur handymen and professional craftsmen.224


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2Pakistani and Indian textile shops at Grønland. Notice the packed-out shop windows (below).While the shop windows of traditional assortment-based, specialized shopsare arranged to present a broad selection of articles, in addition of havingexpertise that can help out customers to find the article they need and evengive useful advice, the more life style-oriented shops have quite adifferentstrategy: For instance the newer design shops in the lower parts ofMarkveien that deal kitchen utensils have arranged the exhibited articles inthe shop window by colors and/or design brands. Furthermore only a fewselected items are exhibited, in order to keep the shop window visually open225


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2to provide for unobstructed visual contact between the thoroughly designedshop space and the public street space. Thus it is as much the thoroughlydesigned shop space as the commodities themselves that are at display. It isalso worth to notice a characteristic difference between the Pakistani andIndian textile shops and the more life style-oriented textile shops when itcomes to how the articles are displayed in the interior of the shop: In theIndian and Pakistani textile shops the articles are piled up to expose both theabundance and the wide range of articles that are kept – all of them markedwith large fluorescent prize tags announcing low prizes. In the life styleorientedclothing shops fewer pieces of garments are exposed. The idea is togive an image of exclusiveness rather than abundance, and the prize tags arediscretely placed. Rather than being filled up with articles for sale, the shopinterior is designed and decorated in ways that call attention to the uniqueselection of commodities the customers can find in the shop: As described bythe informants in the shop-interviews, the interior of the shops areconsciously design to create a particular authentic “feeling” of style,adventure and well-being:The manager of a gift shop says that they have chosen aminimalist design combined with a ‘touch of Asia’ toaccentuate their assortment of gifts and gadgets – they want toprovide their customers with a “sense of traveling”. Both theinterior of the shop and the range of merchandise are carefullyselected. The walls are for instance painted in deep orange, “togive associations to St. Petersburg”. The ideal customers arebelieved to be experienced travelers that know to “appreciateand become exited by the feeling” of the shop (#324). Twofriends that run a second-hand metal and punk music shop havepainted and decorated both the façade (in black and red) andthe interior, “exactly as we liked to” (the inside of the shop hasgrey mural walls that are decorated with personally collectedand precious items: things that definitely are not for sale). Theyunderline that they had collected music and related items andgadgets for 10 years before they decided that it was about timeto start a shop: “We are both 30 years old now, and here we arein our second childhood”. The music they sell is just of a kind“that will give you a punch in the face”, furthermore they“refuse to play reggae unless fuzz-guitar is used” (#319). Anassociate in a street-wear shop says that they have painted thewalls in bright colors, at least five times: “This is definitely nota minimalist shop!” The shelves are home-made and thecounter has been bought at a flee-market: “The shop is226


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2London-inspired and Notting Hillish”. Furthermore theassociate announces that “this is not a ‘wanna-be’ shoppretending to be something special – it simply is what itappears to be” (#321). The owner of a Chinese import-shopsays that their customers are mostly women at the age between17 and 40 that “desire something special”, in addition to menthat buy gifts to their girlfriends (#514). An associate in a shopthat deals toys states that the interior design of the shopdeliberately is made to match the alternative and pedagogicaltoys they sell. A combination of light and clear colors, andnatural materials has been chosen to give the shop a “playfuland environmentally sound” image. The profile of the shop issaid to be because that “for children, the traditional is the mosttrendy at the moment” (#520). The owner of a gift shopexpresses a similar set of preferences: Light colors and naturalwooden floors give the shop a “classic, down to earth,Scandinavian profile” (#604). In a shop that deal children’sclothes the interior is painted in a “soft yellow tone to create atranquil atmosphere” (#605).The street orientation of the shop spaces that here are referenced is not onlycreated by way of the visual contact that large windows facilitate: cushions inthe window sills, or chairs and benches at the sidewalk, are set to invitepeople passing by to sit down and take a look at the few, but uniquecommodities on display, and furthermore, to explore the staged interior worldof the shop space (see illustration next page).Some of these shops are established by first-time founders, often by acouple of friends, others are established by more experienced founders ofseveral shops and establishments in the same area. The interiors of the shopsare most often designed and refurbished by the founders/shopkeepersthemselves. In the interviews many of the founders describe their shop as apersonal project, i.e. as a realization of personal desires or identity, and as anindividual socio-spatial supplement to the multiplicity of shops in the area,interms of a shop with an image and a profile that they appreciate themselves.Since we here speak of regionally oriented niche-shops, it is worth to noticethat the informants describe the existence of similar kinds of shops in the areamore as an advantage, as something that increases the regionalcompetitiveness of the area, than a disadvantage in terms of negativecompetition. However, many of the informants at Grünerløkka say that therapidly increasing rental costs are a great problem, that continues to changethe character of the area.227


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2Although the resources that are available for carrying out total design ofshop spaces and street facades obviously are much more limited for peoplerunning self-made life style shops than the case has been for many of the caféestablishments we’ve looked into, it is clear to see that one has compensatedby making deliberate use of a wide range of iconographical means to create adistinct visual profile of each shop space. A much used strategy is to play upagainst different aspects of the architecture of the facades: by colors andwindow exhibits that emphasize the rough character of the asphalt on thepavement, by contrasts of playful colors, by nostalgic signs that play upagainst picturesque features of old façade walls, by simple design solutionsthat emphasize the sobriety of classicistic façades, etc.Street appearance and interior of a selection of new life style-oriented shops in the Grünerløkkaarea.228


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2INTRODUCTION OF NEW TYPES OF BUILDINGSGrünerløkka and Grønland: New apartment block typesAs discussed earlier, urban transformation in relation to the urban renewalprograms in the traditional urban block areas implied:- a significant decrease in density, both in terms of inhabitants perblock and in terms of housing area per block (due to extensiveclearance of backyard buildings),- a significant upgrading of housing standards and quality in formerquite thrifty apartment block areas,- introduction of private outdoor spaces (balconies) and shared semiprivateoutdoor spaces (courtyards and rooftop terraces) in areas thatpreviously only contained more pure public outdoor spaces anddark, narrow backyard spaces, and- upgrading of a weary streetscape image by way of restoration andrefurbishment of street facades.The recent increase in housing densities in these areas – both in terms ofnumber of apartments and in terms of number of inhabitants in the area as awhole – is exclusively related to the introduction of a large number of newhousing projects, in the name of infill projects and transformation of formerindustrial sites. This has happened both at Grønland and in the architecturally“stable” grid plan-areas of Grünerløkka. In this way a whole new layer ofnew housing typologies has been introduced to the central eastern areas ofGrünerløkka and Grønland.In contrast to the environmental typologies related to the architecturalsystems of the earlier presented historical growth belts, these typologies arein no way designed to work as elements that define a complete architecturalsystem of more or less private/public or integrated/segregated outdoor spaces.On the contrary, the new typological inventions are designed to providemaximum exploitation of singular plots – i.e. to maximize the profit ofprivate developers and to accommodate a maximum of new inhabitants inOslo’s central urban areas. The latter must be seen in relation to publicambitions of “sustainable growth” that is reflected in municipal planningstrategies as well as state-initiated urban policies: The idea is that intensifiedexploitation and an increased number of inhabitants can benefit from theextensive public investments in infrastructure and the general upgrading ofthe central eastern areas.Typologically some of the buildings of these new infill and transformationprojects resemble the modernist freestanding building typologies of thegrowth belt period 1950-80: Both the internal organization of apartments in229


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2relation to staircases, corridors and elevators, the private balconies, and therelatively neutral base and the shape of the building volumes, make thebuildings look like slab blocks and point blocks. But the location of the newprojects, within an existing system of urban blocks, and the way the buildingvolumes are spatially organized, distinguish these projects from thearchitectural system of the satellite towns, as well as from, as propagandizedby Le Corbusier, the architectural model of “the city of towers”, with its openlandscape space, sunlight and apartments with a view; the city in nature andnature in the city. There’s an essential difference between most of the morerecent housing projects and for example the urban clearance projects of the1960s (cf. the slab blocks at Enerhaugen) or the abandoned plans for urbanclearance at Grünerløkka (most of them were based on the introduction ofslab blocks).In more or less all the new housing projects there are both relatively largeunderground parking garages and private balconies. This most often includedirect access from underground parking garages to the staircases/elevators ofthe apartment buildings. Such a segregation of the entrance traffic impliesthat the inhabitants no longer need to pass through communal outdoor spacesat ground level in order to get to their apartment.Changes in the economical organization of housing projects 368 impliesthat the National Housing Bank, and its standards for housing quality, haslost its former impact upon the production of housing. At the same time bothdevelopments in building technology and a boiling housing marked –particularly in central urban areas – has given as a result apartment layoutsolutions that probably wouldn’t have been approved in earlier times:A change towards smaller apartments can be observed, due to developers’aim of squeezing in as many apartments as possible. A part of thisdevelopment is the trend of making more tailored layout solutions that giveless flexibility for alternative uses of domestic spaces. Furthermore,mechanical ventilation and electric heating and lighting, no longer makes itnecessary, in terms of spatial organization of buildings and domestic spaces,to provide for natural ventilation, draught and daylight: Through-lit and -ventilated apartments are rarely produced these days. Particularly for smallerone- or two-roomed apartments (which amount to most of the newapartments) deep and dark one-way oriented layouts have become standard.Although most of the apartments have private balconies, only a few of themare exposed to sun for more than a few hours a day. At block level one thuscan speak of revival of dark, narrow and spatially subdivided backyard368 Many of the new housing projects are built by private developers, based on pre-paid deposits from futurebuyers/inhabitants. This means that most of the apartments are “sold” before the plans are formally approvedand realisation has started. Compared to how housing projects were realized before the premiums are smallerand the joint depth of the housing cooperatives is larger.230


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2spaces that have few, if any, use qualities except for functioning as entrancepassages and light shafts. All of this is commemorative of a type of backyardspaces that was abandoned throughout the typological development of the20 th century.If we look closer at the open outdoor spaces within the actual blocks ofthe new housing projects – i.e. at how the buildings are organized in relationto open spaces, and how the internal outdoor spaces are related to the systemof open spaces in the area they are situated – new types of patterns when itcomes to principles of spatial organization can be identified:a) Closed perimeter blocks that contain internal shared courtyards andcontinuous street facades, with or without street-oriented programs atground level towards the surrounding public streets (example: JessCarlsen Kvartalet). In some projects the courtyard is placed on theroof of parking garages, and it is provided with some sunlight on theground, despite the fact that many of the perimeter buildings often aretwice as high as traditional urban blocks. The number of apartmentwindows and balconies overlooking and controlling the sharedcourtyards are in general significantly many more than in upgradedtraditional urban blocks. Like the many upgraded courtyards of thetraditional urban blocks in the area, the shared outdoor spaces of thenew housing developments are locked off from the public streets; theyare usually designed and provided with greenery to work as atriumsrather than usage spaces, although the size and shape of thecourtyards still gives some flexibility in terms of alternative uses.b) Grouped slab blocks and point blocks that fill a whole block and aresurrounded by public streets or squares, with or without streetorientedprograms at ground level towards the surrounding publicstreets, and including a system of smaller internal green outdoorspaces that are fenced off from the surrounding public spaces(example: Grønlandskvartalene). The internal open green spaces ofsuch projects are most often quite narrow and dark. Although thesides of the entrance paths are covered with lawns, planted anddecoratively furnished to work as representative entrance zones, theirgeneral use qualities are quite limited: If inhabitants of these largehousing projects prefer to spend time in an open and green space,they’ll have to seek out a public park somewhere else.c) Slab blocks and point blocks spatially organized to define a largerarea as a filled block surrounded by public streets. Some of theprojects have street-oriented non-domestic programs at ground leveltowards the surrounding public streets and some are without, andmost of them contain a system of both smaller and larger internalgreen outdoor spaces that are opened towards surrounding public231


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2spaces (example: Ringnes Park). The internal open green spaces ofsuch projects are not meant to function as public urban parks: insteadof being connected to public streets they are surrounded by domesticbuildings that with their windows, entrances and balconies give visualcontrol over the activities of the open green spaces. But as some ofthese internal spaces, both in terms of size and accommodation, haveuse qualities for stay and play, and due to the fact that the spaces areopen for strangers to stroll through the area, the potential for somekind of social interface between neighbors and strangers is introducedinto the internal outdoor spaces of the housing projects. To someextent this can be compared to the open neighborhood spaces of thearchitectural system of reformed urban blocks, in terms of a moreprivate supplement to the system of public urban parks and a morepublic supplement to the closed courtyards of the traditional urbanblocks. However, in comparison with the semi-public neighbourhoodspaces of the reformed urban block system, the internal spaces of thenew housing projects are significantly narrower and darker.Furthermore, as all the surrounding apartments have private balconiesand access to shared rooftop terraces, they may also end up beingused as primarily transit zones, i.e. as pedestrian shortcuts through theblock both for the inhabitants themselves, when they’re not in need ofusing the underground parking garages, and for people walking by, ifthey are not locked out of the area.d) Slab blocks and point blocks spatially organized to define acontinuous street façade towards the public street, with or withoutstreet-oriented non-domestic programs towards the street, containinga shared green outdoor space in relation to a public park space(examples: Waldemars Hage, Sofies Hage). The introduction of anumber of apartment windows and balconies oriented towards ashared private outdoor space that is directly related to an existingpublic park space, introduces a new dialectic relation to the situationof the existing public park space: The new housing projects and theirshared private outdoor spaces bring new types of visualregimentation, activities and social control into the public park space(which can be viewed as both positive and negative, depending onpoint of view and upon the various kinds of activities that take place,or are meant to take place, in of the public park space). If the sharedprivate outdoor spaces are kept open and accessible, they can be set towork as an extension of the public park system, at least for usergroups that are comfortable with supervision and find pleasure in232


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2getting to use the well-maintained playground equipment of theprivate housing project. 369In sum the housing projects realized and/or planned between 2000 and 2006,with morphological characteristics as described above, has given an amountof 4200-4800 new apartments, 370 all of them attached to the existing systemof outdoor spaces at Grünerløkka and Grønland. As discussed earlier, themicro-morphological and iconographical patterns of current streetscapetransformation can be related to a multiplicity of tactics developed at thefringes of what the planning authorities are in control of. In contrast to thesepatterns, the morphological patterns that are created by the numerous housingprojects built on speculation, can be seen as products of negotiations betweenrelatively predictable private interests of maximizing profit, and publicinterests that in this phase has been dominated by two concerns: a) to securehousing production by allowing a maximum number new apartments incentral areas b) to secure a variation of use quality in the housing projects aswell as related to their impacts on the area, for future and current inhabitantsof both.New specialized building types introducing oriental iconographyDuring the last decade an increasing number of specialized building typeswith oriental iconography have been erected and integrated into thestreetscapes of the traditional urban block system at Grønland. In contrast tothe iconographical and micro-morphological transformation related toreprogramming and new profiling of commercial spaces within the existingbuilding structures, the introduction of new institutional and commercialbuilding typologies such as mosques and a bazaar-hall can be seen as anexpression of larger long-term investments in relation to a local consolidationof Muslim congregations and commercial importance of the oriental shops atGrønland.Until recently all the mosques in Oslo were accommodated in more or lessreconfigured spaces in buildings that originally were built for other purposes,such as in commercial spaces, apartment buildings, public air-raid shelters,etc. – usually without changing the façade or even the street signs of the369 But as often happens: At the same moment as I write this chapter (June 2007) an almost two meter tallmetal fence with sharp tips and door-locks is erected to lock off the shared private outdoor space at Waldemarshage from the public park spaces along Akerselva.370 The figures are based on an overview of new projects gathered by the Immigentri project grounded on datafrom applications for building licences from Oslo municipality (Plan- og bygningsetaten). The approximalityof the figures is related to different ways of calculating the number of new apartments (for instance whetherremoved apartments in demolished buildings on the plots are subtracted or not, uncertainties related to the finalresult in projects in the process of negotiations, etc.). The Immigentri project lent the regisrations to twostudents who used it as basis for their master thesis which discussed the current public strategy for urbanhousing development in Oslo: Vegard Ramstad & Kristian Ribe 2006: Kontemporær boligproduksjon i indreOslo (unpublished master thesis, Oslo School of Architecture and Design).233


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2buildings. Gradually, the mosque-congregations in Oslo developed, as didtheir social importance in the neighbourhoods at large. Although quitedifferent in regards of architectural style, the new mosques haveiconographical characteristics that communicate their main functions towardsthe public streets; they are spatially organized to work as mosques, and theirsize, monumental design and costly detailing can be seen as a localarchitectural manifestation of the power of Islamic mission. The developmentof the mosques, and the new bazaar hall, in Oslo can illustrate the interrelateddynamics between tactics and strategies, as discussed by Michel de Certeau(cf. chapter 1): Three decades ago, the mosques in Oslo were most likely tobe seen as socio-spatial “tactics of the weak” making place out of spacescreated and territorialized by others and for other purposes. Gradually, newsocial practices (tactics) produce new kinds of patterns, aggregating power(financially, politically, socio-spatially) to produce spaces of its own.Iconographical and typological variation in the repertoire of mosques in the Grønland/Tøyenarea: a former mosque placed in a traditional apartment building containing an old street signsaying “Oslo bicycle repair shop” (left); a mosque in a reconfigured and redecorated commercialbuilding in Urtegata (middle left); a mosque in Åkebergveien with minarets and traditionalmosaics, established in 1995 (middle right); a mosque with minaret and modern design inMotzfeldts gate, established in 2004 (right).Grønlands basar (from left to right): main street façade, back street façade, main interior space,and a halal butcher shop.234


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2The hybrid shopping mall ‘Grønlands basar’ that was established by the largeNorwegian real estate company of Olaf Thon is spatially organized as abazaar and fills a whole block. The bazaar integrates a listed row of woodenbuildings along Tøyengata, giving an impression of a staged hybrid oforiental iconography and polished local heritage.STABILITY AND DYNAMICS RELATED TOSTRUCTURAL ELEMENTSArchitectural stability and changes at FurusetFuruset was as we have seen realized as one large project three decades ago.The owner structure of the area, with a few large housing cooperatives thatregulate and control all major and most minor issues (for instance when andhow balconies are to be painted, whether or not private parabola antennasplaced on private balconies are allowed, etc.), indicates that this is not a placewhere aggregated forms of individual projects easily can find place.Furthermore, new kinds of commercial and cultural activities in an area (i.e.an architectural system) characterized by spatial segregation and functionalspecialization are hard to establish and integrate. Therefore there are fewexamples of new kinds of interrelations between new activities and streetspaces or street life to be seen in such an area.Still, at least some changes in relation to the architectural structure atFuruset have happened since the time the area was built:General societal developments of increased mobility, changes inconsumer practices, increased motorized traffic and a continuous upgradingof the main road system is manifested in the development of a commercialcluster of regional shopping malls along the main roads in Groruddalen.International chains of warehouses such as Smart Club and IKEA that arelocated at Furuset are regional destinations that people from all over the cityvisit. However, in contrast to the regional shopping streets at Grünerløkkaand Grønland, these regional shopping centres are totally segregated from theadjoining housing areas at Furuset, both spatially and in terms of traffic: theyare located within a zone that originally was planned for industry, they aredesigned to maximize the visual exposure towards the main road (E6), andthe system of secondary main roads function as main access points for cartraffic. Due to the dimensions of the warehouses, traffic systems and parkinglots in the warehouse-areas are not set out as typical pedestrian areas.Within the domestic areas at the Furuset satellite town the observableiconographical and micro-morphological changes are of a more subtle kind:in the denser housing areas at Furuset the amount of parabola antennaes,heavy curtains and closed blinds, oriental carpets hanging from balconies,235


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2refrigerators and other kinds goods being stored in balconies, can be ascribedthe fact that the suburb has developed into a housing area for immigrants. 371Another feature worth to notice is the quite astonishing number ofrelatively new fences and screens that have been put up outside many of thehousing units. This can be seen as a reaction and as adjustments to themalfunction of the intentional seamless borders between private, semi privateand communal outdoor spaces. The frequency of signs saying “private” or“under supervision”, or announcing prohibitions and demand, can also beunderstood in such a perspective. But apart from this both the domestic areaappears as well maintained and architecturally stable in a sense that is almoststatic.When it comes to communal recreational spaces: In the administrativeunit that comprise Furuset and three other satellite towns (of which Furuset isthe administrative centre), 372 there exists 119 voluntary organisations 373 thatprovide leisure activities for children and young people. 80% of the childrenand youth in the area participate regularly in organized activities. A part ofthis picture is the new sports arena and the cultural centre Furuset Forum hasbeen built as a freestanding complex vis-à-vis Furuset senter. 374Furthermore it must be mentioned that the shopping mall at Furuset senterhas been rebuilt and all of its interior redesigned.At the edge of the centre area another development is taking place: alarge, freestanding mosque is under construction. And at Lindeberg farm alarge area of allotment gardens has been developed, which particularly hasbecome popular among immigrants. 70,000 schoolchildren from all over thecity visit the farm on a yearly basis. Just north of the Furuset senter a smallpark has been made, with a statue of Trygve Lie, 375 financed by the localhousing cooperative in collaboration with the municipal park authorities.371 At the local primary school, Gran skole, less than 10 percent of the pupils have Norwegian as nativelanguage.372 Furuset, Høybråten, Ellingsrud and Høybråten373 Cf. various registrations referred to in Oddrun Sæter & Lars-Martin Ulfstad 1998: Stedsutvikling, kunst ogkultur i en drabantby. En studie av kultursatsing i Furuset bydel i Oslo, Project report 235, Byggforsk, Oslo,page 23.374 The two buildings came about as a result of an exchange of real estate property between the local areaadministration and the warehouse IKEA in 2002. The Furuset Forum complex includes an ice hockey arena, ahall for handball, land hockey, etc., a swimming hall, a music school, a library, a local area administration, apost office, etc. 500-700 children visit the building every day. In addition there are unorganized activities forchildren and young people on Friday evenings.375 Trygve Lie was the first General Secretary of the UN, and he was born and raised in the area.236


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2The local shopping mall at Furuset senter has for a long time struggledbecause of competition from both the main road-oriented regional shoppingmalls and warehouses, and the specialised shopping areas at Grønland (only22 minutes away by subway). However, an approved plan for a newsecondary main road that was to connect the four satellite towns in theadministrative unit and strengthen the competitiveness of the Furuset centrearea, caused major local resistance actions at the time was about to berealized: 376 The local inhabitants, represented by the resistance action,wanted to keep the secondary main road as a dead end road at Furuset, inorder to preserve the segregated traffic system and the park. They argued forbuilding of a new and more centrally located pedestrian bridge over the mainroad and for an upgrading of the park. After a year of resistance-actions, thecity council set aside the approved plan, and resources for the bridge and anupgrading of the park was granted. The bridge is currently under constructionand the new activity park in the open area in front of the centre area is aboutto be finished.A last issue I would like to touch upon concerns qualities of public spacemore specifically:At the Furuset senter there are two cafés/pubs with outdoor seating thathave been established at the rear side of the center building. In contrast tostreet cafés that are oriented towards public streets within the traditionalurban block systems, these two places face a minor walking trail and themall’s goods delivery entrance. The urban public spaces in the urban blocksystem at Grønland and Grünerløkka are, as I have described earlier,designed for spatial integration of different activities and user groups, i.e. fordense co-presence and hasty, non-confronting encounters between strangers.In contrast, the open spaces in front of the two mentioned cafés at Furusetwork as an interface for encounters between two different kinds of strictlylocal and quite limited user groups: the customers at the two cafés and peoplethat use the trail at the backside of the centre-building as a walking passage.The squares in front of these two cafés are connected by the tunnel for goodsdeliveryto the shopping centre.376 The resistance action were of the following kind: 5,000 local inhabitants signed a petition and several largeprotest actions where both pensioners, people in electrical wheelchairs, etc. took part and chained themselvesto the excavator (that finally was put on fire). Related to the action five mature gentlemen, comprising thepolitical leader of the local administrative unit and a 75 year old retired conservative politician, were put onsecurity cell, together with a member of the local church council that had used a tractor (model 1950) to undothe work of the excavator, with the help of people digging with spades (Dagbladet Magasinet, 15.03.2002).237


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2Façade appearance and outdoor seating at Lykke kafé & pub (left) and Lee’s (right) – located ateach side of the walking passageSymbolic and programmatic transformation along the Akerselva RiverThe consistent design strategy related to the public policy for programmatictransformation and architectural upgrading of the industrial cluster along theAkerselva river can be seen as a strategy for symbolic transformation of theprimary semantic weighted element of the Grünerløkka area: Thearchitectural characteristics of the industrial architectural heritage isemphasized and aesthetisized by the introduction of contrasting light andmodern architectural elements in relation to architectural reconfiguration andreprogramming of former factory buildings into educational and culturalinstitutions and businesses, i.e. from industrial production to culturalknowledge production. The symbolic value ascribed to the programmatictransformation of the primary element of Akerselva can be illustrated by aquote from the website of Akerselva innovasjon:During the last decade the Capital’s old industrial axis –Akerselva – has developed into the spinal column of one of themost important and dynamic milieus of economical growth inNorway. Akerselva Innovation is the nave in a cultural businesscluster containing among others Oslo School of Architecture238


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2and Design, Oslo National Academy of the Arts, TheNorwegian Design Council, The University of Oslo, TheFoundation of Scientific and Industrial Research at theNorwegian Institute of Technology and Oslo Teknopol. 377The development of recreational facilities and qualities in relation to thepark-string along the riversides of Akerselva has been a major municipalproject since early in the 20 th century. The process was intensified throughthe public-private partnership collaboration “Akerselva Environmental Park”that was carried out 1987-90. 378 The architectural transformation of theAkerselva area includes reprogramming, reconstruction and refurbishment ofa series of larger old industrial buildings. In an earlier phase thetransformation was initiated by smaller architectural offices, artist studios,non-governmental organisations, cultural workshops, etc. that establishedthemselves in inexpensive premises along the river. In recent years moreinvestment-demanding forms of reprogramming – from private industrialproduction to public institutionalized knowledge production and culturalproduction – has taken place, as has the building of new housing projects (forexample Lilleborg, Christian Kroghs gt. 30).A common denominator regarding the forms of architectural adjustmentsthat have been made to incorporate such diverse new programs in the formerindustrial buildings, manifests itself as an iconographic play with contrastsbetween new, slick, light and “modern” elements and old, rough, rustic, and“industrial” elements: 379 The large brick buildings, dams and bridges alongthe waterfalls, large iron-framed windows, high-lofted working halls, pipesand other traces of the industrial era are preserved, staged and accentuated aspowerful references to another time and another local situation of productivedynamics. Such elements are in many ways set as a silent presence andwitnesses of another way of life and other means of production. As illustratedby the quote from the website of Akerselva Innovasjon, the preserved andrestored aspects of the architectural environments are used for branding anew dynamic cluster of cultural and knowledge producing institutions.Furthermore the architectural heritage is presented and staged as positivequalities of place, providing historical “depth” and a sense of place-boundmultiplicity. References are made to authentic traces of a proud local history377 My translation, www.akerselvainnovation.no (September 2007)378 The planning process is discussed and analyzed by Knut Halvorsen 2002: “Akerselva Environmental Park:Urban Transformation by Chance or by Governance?” in Martin Dist, Walter Schenkel & Isabelle Thomas2002: Governing Cities on the Move. Functional and management perspectives on transformations ofEuropean urban infrastructures, Aldershot, Ashgate.379 The coherence in the architectural strategies for transforming the architectural environments from the earlyindustrial periods in Oslo can of course be related to guidelines and claims from the Cultural HeritageAuthorities, which, generally speaking, have argued for few, but pronounced impacts rather than many andsmaller and less marked adjustments of the industrial environmental heritage.239


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2of production and socio-spatial practices. Both associations to past andcurrent dynamics are set into play.Related to this the new educational programs 380 bring in a flow ofpresumably young, creative and artistic students that come and go around theclock throughout the semesters in addition to a range of semi-publicarrangements and happenings such as public lectures and seminars,exhibitions, student performance shows, etc.380 Cf. Oslo School of Architecture and Design, with 550 students and 100 employees, and Oslo NationalAcademy of Arts, with totally 550 students and 150/180 employees, that quite recently have been located inrebuilt premises (parts of the academy is still under construction), at each side of a pedestrian bridge overAkerselva.240


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2SUMMARY REMARKS TO CHAPTER 5By investigating new patterns of architectural and iconographicalcharacteristics that has been developed within the existing architecturallandscape, we have in this chapter seen how such new patterns in variousways play up against existing physical environments in all of the threedifferent study areas: both when it comes to primary elements, architecturalsystems and historically developed relations between different architecturalsystems and primary elements.The new patterns of architectural characteristics are related to generalsocietal changes and more specific changes in the regional function and roleof the study areas. As shown, the iconographical changes in the streetscapesat Grünerløkka and Grønland play up against the historical architecturalenvironments in different ways, thus generating new different patterns. Thechanges in the visual image of the streetscape are distinct and clear. As suchthe areas have been provided with visual and symbolic characteristics thatpeople in most parts of Norway, through media coverage, etc., associate withcutting edge urban ways of life and lifestyles.The changes described are related to two different actor perspectives thatinteract or, which often happens, counter-act or stand in conflict. On the onehand the new patterns are related to public strategies; on the other hand theyare related to numerous individual projects that exploit the potential fortransformation given in the existing architectural situation (produced bypatterns in historical practices). As we have seen, public strategies and plansthat because of public resistance never were realized in many instances havegenerated forceful counter-actions (cf. the resistance against the sanitationplans for Grünerløkka, but also the more recent opposition against the plansfor the “urban main street” at Furuset). Although not physically realised, thedebates and reactions inflamed by such plans and strategies, have shownthemselves to represent forces of power that have turned around both theprofessional and public discourse on environmental qualities. Thus suchplans can be said to have paved the ground for both alternative publicstrategies and for more consistent patterns in many of the more individualprojects. Probably would none of them have been developed without thediscursive changes just mentioned.As we have seen, by contrast and association the new patterns play upagainst historical architectural qualities. As such new patterns in architecturalnarratives of place identity are created, related to both past and present sociospatialpractices. Historical architectural environments are mobilized andassimilated into current processes of inner city regeneration.241


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2The architectural systems, as described and analyzed in chapter four, weredeveloped as complete environmental systems in more or less tabula rasasituations:They were developed to work in relation to an existing andplanned urban structure, but also conceived of as relatively independentsystems for new parts of the city. As such the function of each architecturalelement was defined by its relation to other elements of the system. Incontrast, newer ‘incremental’ projects (cf. new housing projects) are todaydeveloped as singular projects that play up against already existing qualitiesin the adjoining area. The patterns produced by many such new projects,though, can be said to challenge and threaten many of the same qualities, interms of demographic and commercial homogenisation, and in terms ofincreased local environmental problems related to motorized traffic, night lifenoise, tall buildings casting shade onto open green areas, etc.The analyses in this chapter of how new architectural patterns challenge,transform and play up against the existing architectural situation are basedupon the analyses of the historical production of differentiated architecturallandscapes and their embedded characteristics in chapter four. Without suchan analysis it would have been difficult to understand the many differentways in which historical architectural characteristics condition and delineatethe development of new architectural patterns today. Such forms of relationsbetween old and new architectural patterns (both in local settings andbetween different areas) represent processes of socio-spatial dialecticsbetween social and spatial features as well as between different kinds ofsocio-spatial patterns.242


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 26. Spatial narrativesWhat kind of patterns of differences in socio-spatial practices can beidentified in the three study areas? How can these patterns be related toaspects of the architecture of the three study areas (as analyzed in theprevious chapter)? What are the socio-spatial qualities that are described asaffecting individual dispositions? How can patterns in the described sociospatialexperiences and practices be related to patterns of differences inencounter situations, situations that represent differences in integration andconfrontation in the three study areas?INTRODUCTIONIn chapter two I’ve discussed two complementary perspectives on howproduction of social space – or development of patterns of differences 381 insocial practices – is produced by respectively socio-material or socio-spatialinterplay: Bourdieu’s perspective on the transforming structure of socialspace as a space of lifestyles produced by patterns of differences –homologies and distinctions – in individual dispositions related to materialand cultural consumption; and Lefebvre’s perspective on the transformingstructure of social space as a space of encounter situations produced bypatterns of differences in individual dispositions related to rhythms ofpractices of everyday life.In chapter two I’ve also discussed in what way both Bourdieu’s andLefebvre’s perspectives can shed light on how architectural differences areinvolved in processes of social differentiation. In chapter three I’ve analyzedpatterns of differences in architecture that may affect the social production ofspace in these three areas – based on the discussions in chapter two. Thepurpose of this chapter is to investigate patterns in socio-spatial practices, inorder to analyze more closely in what ways architectural differences areinvolved in processes of social space differentiation in the three study areas.In this chapter I will investigate urban transformation processes (i.e. areasthat change function and role) in perspective of interaction, or sets of381 As discussed earlier “patterns of differences” is a key concept in dialectical analysis: to identify patternsand to investigate how they are related.243


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2dialectics, between production of (differences in) architecture and productionof (differences in) social spaces through individual practices. 382 The studytakes as a point of departure that different sets of practices in various wayscontribute to transformation of the urban structure. The practice setschallenge places’ function, role and significance and are read as anexpression of how the urban landscape is included in different groups ofindividual projects (such as creating a satisfactory everyday life). Thisimplies that socio-spatial dialectics or patterns of differences willsuccessively be identified or described, analyzed and discussed. Such ananalysis is hard to summarize in a short conclusion in end: the purpose of theanalysis is to explore the range of dialectics that can be identified – thedescribed patterns of differences in socio-spatial practices and how they arerelated to architectural differences.The analyses in this chapter are based on an investigation of 104 homeinterviews with residents in the areas Grønland / Nedre Tøyen, Grünerløkkaand Furuset. As discussed in the previous chapter, the three study areas havedifferent development histories, locations in the urban structure andarchitectural characteristics. All three areas are in various ways involved insocio-cultural processes of change, which among other things involve theirbeing put to use in other ways by other social groups than previously.The design of the interview guide, the large number of interviews and thetranscribed interviews’ somewhat summary character all reflect the focus ofthe study. In spite of the fact that the interviews were carried out by researchassistants 383 that were Master students of anthropology, 384 my analysis is notan anthropological interpretation of individual narratives as an expression ofthe interview objects’ experiences with “the other” in a given here and nowsituation (an anthropological space). What the study instead investigates isthe ongoing production of a differentiated social landscape within an urban382 When I use the word practices (individual practices, urban practices, everyday practices, practice set) andnot the word use (urban use, use pattern) is it because I want to emphasize the transgress, transformative andproductive qualities of the practice-term as it is used by, amongst others, Henri Lefebvre. Furthermore Iassociate the term “use” with contended users/clients that are satisfied with what is offered to them.383 As mentioned earlier, my doctoral project has been a part of the larger Immigentri research project financedby the Norwegian Research Council. The privileged situation of being associated with a larger research projectprovided me with resources to engage research assistants to pursue time-consuming data collection. Theinterview-guide was developed by the project leader Edward Robbins, Jonny Aspen and myself (see asappendix). Professor Robbins has given an analysis of the interview material in the article “Et nabolag utennaboskap – virkninger av fornyelsen på Grünerløkka” (“A neighbourhood without neighbouring – effects ofthe renewal at Grünerløkka”), in Jonny Aspen (ed.) 2005: By og byliv i endring. Studier av byrom oghandlingsrom i Oslo, Scandinavian Academic Press, Spartacus forlag, Oslo. Parts of the analyses in thischapter was also presented in an article by myself in the same publication: “Lag, landskaper og tre områder iendring” (”Layers, landscapes and three areas in transformation”).384 A group of Master students in anthropology from the University of Oslo: Øyvind Rolland, Anne MaritHessevik, Kjersti Lillebø, Mariann Botten Hansen, Jens Oldgård, Charlotte Bik Bandlien and Cecilie Nordfeldtwere engaged to take care of the data collection for this study and to carry out the interviews on the basis of anassigned interview-guide. In the period from December 2003 to November 2004 they carried out andtranscribed 104 home interviews (plus about 20 somewhat incomplete) with residents in three study areas ofGrønland/Nedre Tøyen, Grünerløkka and Furuset.244


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2landscape characterized by morphological and geographical differences: Inother words relations between social and architectonic landscapes reflected inpatterns in individual narratives about practices in, and experience of, thecity’s landscapes.Patterns in socio-spatial practices can be related to patterns in individualdispositions as well as to patterns in architecture (the socio-material or sociospatialstructure). The repertoire-like variations in practice sets can both berelated to how different patterns of dispositions ‘meet’ or interact with theurban landscape and to how various architectural differences in the urbanlandscape interact with these patterns of dispositions. In order to identifypatterns in practices that can be related to architectural differences, it wasnecessary to find a way of organizing the interviews into categories of ‘citylandscape dispositions’. In the analysis of the interview material I first triedto organize the material in a way that highlighted more superior and typicalpractice sets (actor groups) with a point of departure in patterns ofdispositions that influence practice, and, then, to study geographic variationswithin each of these typical practice sets (in order to examine how theseagain are related to differences in aspects of the areas’ architecture). I willsoon return to a description of how I went about to find a way of organizingthe interview material, but first I will present some arguments for why itshould be possible to identify and examine architectural affects related todifferent aspects of geographical differentiation of social space.In order to be able to distinguish, with point of departure in Bourdieus’sperspective, the use-value of material environments, one needs to try toidentify what kind of aspects of differences in the material environment thatare put into use in production of symbolic value. The recognition of symbolicvalues related to geographical, architectural or morphological characteristicsin different places or areas in the city can then be identified as qualitativeaspects of the socio-material environment which influence the production ofsocial space (through patterns of practices that produce homologies anddistinctions) both aesthetically, functionally and symbolically.(1) On the most explicit and maybe superficial level this can be investigatedas patterns in aesthetical judgments of architecture described as havingaffects for socio-spatial dispositions: in the appreciation of the symbolic andaesthetic qualities of the architecture, or the architectural style in a certainarea or at a certain place, differences in taste and preferences are exposed.Domestic choices – such as the decision to live in a specific building or aneighborhood from a specific historical period – can be described as anaesthetical choice based on aesthetic judgments, in the same way as manydecisions when it comes to home decoration. But, with point of departure in245


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2Lefebvre’s perspective, architectural differences, even at building level, mayaffect the contextual composition of encounter situations and thereby howpeople experience and interact with their neighbours.(2) On a second level, architectural and morphological characteristicscomprise differences in how the physical environment is designed to serve asa tool for certain ways of life. 385 The appreciation of purely (pragmatic)functional aspects related to different centralities and access to different setsof outdoor spaces in specific urban areas can be difficult to discern from whatcan be interpreted as symbolic qualities related to how certain environmentaltypes are associated with certain lifestyles, and certain sets of judgments oftaste. But, as all of these aspects involve identification and recognition ofdifferences – either functional or symbolic or the both – in the socio-material(architectural) urban landscape, that in their turn affect individual choices andurban practices, I do not consider such difficulties to be a major hindrance forthe kind of analysis I intend to do.These first two levels of identifiable socio-spatial dialectics impliesidentification of ‘esthetical and symbolic values’ that affect (1) domesticchoices and socio-spatial practices and recognition of (2) ‘functionalenvironmental tool kit values’ related to a desired way of life or life style. Inboth instances this implies an effort to identify patterns of dispositions (asdescribed in the interview material) related to given or chosen socio-spatialsituations.(3) Patterns in architecture are developed to support specific flows ofpractices that involve or incorporate specific repertoires of social encounter385 Examples: The built environment of the Grünerløkka-area was produced to provide industrial workers witha domestic area in walking/biking distance from the factories (along the Akerselva river and downtown). Theclassicistic urban plan and the urban block architecture at Grünerløkka respond to a particular set of ideas ofurban life, i.e. to ideas about what kind of socio-spatial practices the particular morphological system of moreor less public spaces were designed to serve. The iconographic characteristics of the architectural environmentin this particular late 19 th century industrial working class neighborhood (renaissance façade motifs etc.) alsodiffer from the iconographic characteristics of the late 20 th century satellite town-neighborhood at Furuset(plain socio-democratic modernism: mass produced concrete apartment blocks with details in wooden panelpainted in the traditional rural Norwegian housing palette). This reflects that the Furuset-area was designed toserve quite different ideas about urban life, ideas of reproductive life separated from the spheres of production,ideas of local sub-centers serving the needs of everyday life, confining the need to go to the urban center tomore special occasions. The Furuset-area was planned and designed at a time with different means ofcommunication and circulation (telephone, radio, television, cars, buses and subway) than at the time thatGrünerløkka was designed. This also implies a different understanding of centrality. All in all the physicalenvironment of the Grünerløkka-area (understood as a environmental tool) was designed to have other kinds offunctional characteristics than the physical environment at Furuset. As such the two areas can be consideredmore or less functionally suited for different conducts of life. Both means of communication, patterns intraveling and technological developments within media and communication have changed dramatically sinceFuruset was planned and developed. The pace of technological development, as well as the pace of social andcultural adaptation of new technologies, is often described as accelerating. It might even be that the ways oflife that Furuset was designed for about 30 years ago is as different from the dominating ways of life today asFuruset at the time it was build differed from the Grünerløkka-area designed a century earlier.246


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2situations. By living in and making use of different areas, informants fromthe three study areas get exposed to different rhythms of practices, i.e.different repertoires of socio-spatial situations and encounter situations. Assuch geographical patterns in experiences of interaction and confrontationwith others are produced. On a third level we can discuss how identifiablegeographical patterns in described repertoires of encounter situations andexperiences of interaction and confrontation with others is related todifferences in the areas’ architecture.Before I go on with an empirical analysis of how patterns in architecturaldifferences can be said to be related to the described patterns in socio-spatialpractices – i.e. the social production of space – I must however find a way ofordering the interview material by dispositions.The search for a way to group dispositions in order to study patternsMy starting point was to read through the transcribed interviews. 386 Theinterview material is lengthy and rich in scope. 387 At first sight it was morethe multiplicity and variations in individual experiences and choices thatstroke me than clear patterns or connections. After reading through thematerial I made a short thematic summary of each interview, related to theinformants’ description of their practices in the urban landscape. Thesummaries were put into a matrix: One interview per row containing four setsof issues that were summarized in a column each:1. Background information related to the interviewee: age, origin,gender, education, profession, income (per household and percapita), mortgage and rent costs (per capita and per household),composition of household, position in the household, domestichistory, means of transportation, eventual plans for changingresidence (if yes: where, when and why?).2. Descriptions of the informants’ (and prospective householdmembers’) uses of the urban landscape: shopping, recreation, sociallife (what, with whom, where), work, etc.; and more thorough386 Each interview was carried out with two interviewers present, each of them taking notes that later weretranscribed (by one of them) and quality assured (by the other). The interviews were not recorded on tape. Theoverall focus is first of all what the informants say they do, and the reasons given for doing what they do, nothow they say it. The written notebooks from both of the interviewers have afterwards been available fordouble-checking of quotes. On occasions when I use quotes from the notebooks and not the transcribedinterviews, this is explicitly pointed out. The interviews were carried out in Norwegian and later transcribed inEnglish. When I first read through the interviews, I did a comparison with both of the two sets of notebooksand made a list of supplementary comments, quotes and other kinds of information that had been left out in thetranscribed interviews.387 The interview guide (see appendix) includes 20 background questions and 35 open questions about differenttypes of use and experiences. In addition the informants were asked to draw a neighborhood map. Thetranscribed interviews are from four to 13 A4 pages long. All in all the transcribed interviews amount toapproximately 1100 pages (A4, single spacing).247


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2descriptions related to places / social spaces of preference (why,how) and places they describe to avoid.3. Descriptions of different kinds of encounters and social relationswith others: whom, where, how.4. Descriptions of positive and negative experiences / qualities withinareas of residence, of groups mentioned as making importantpositive or negative contribution to the neighbourhood, and ofstrategies for dealing with problems / challenges.In this way I got a more manageable extract of the interview material. 388 Thiseffort enabled me to compare patterns in practices within each of the studyareas, though I had not yet found a way of organizing the interview materialin a way that gave a more general description of typical practice sets (actorgroups) with point of departure in ‘patterns of dispositions’ that impactedupon practice.I therefore went back to the transcribed interviews and tried to systematizethe answers given to the various more or less open questions that belonged toeach thematic group of questions: I started by going through the answers toall of the different groups of questions and made a short list of the answersfrom each interview. 389 Based on the range of answers, I defined a range ofanswer-categories, and gave each category a letter-code. The text with theshort versions of the answers and a letter-code for each answer-category werethen put into a large Excel-chart: One interview a row with the differentanswers and answer codes in a column each. By use of the functions “sortby..”, ”then by..”, etc. (with locked rows) in Excel, I could now group theinterviews by different categories and combinations of answers, andthereafter sort the interviews in a more manageable extract, as describedabove, in order to look for patterns in described practices and experiences. 390First I tested different ways of grouping the interviews from each of the studyareas by different combinations of socio-demographic backgroundinformation on the informants: household categories (single, flat share,couple, nuclear family, etc.), age, position in household (parent, child, etc.),income levels, percentage of household income spent on covering housingcosts, age, education, life phase, ethnic background, etc. However, I didn’t388 Instead of 1100 A4 pages I now had 50 A4 pages (font size 9).389 Due to the open character of the questions, many of the informants, when answering a question, tended toinclude explanations and clarifications to formerly posed questions: many ‘answers’ are therefore to be foundin different parts of the interview.390 On a few occasions I ended up with a different way of categorizing the answers. When so happened I justadded a new column, put in new letter- or number-codes, and continued with new combinations of searches.When working one can, in order to make the chart easier to overlook, hide all columns containing informationthat is not considered relevant for the actual search.248


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2find any obvious patterns of practices within the categories of interviews Ihad managed to group. This needn’t imply or indicate that individualdispositions in no way are related to factors such as economical situation,cultural capital, class background, etc. It does indicate though that thebackground data on the informants (as reflected in the interview material) didnot unanimously point in directions that made it possible to define groups ofrelated dispositions that form patterns of practices in more or less alike sociospatialsituations.As described above, in my various reviews of the interview material, I wasnot able to find clear lines of distinction related to factors such as income,ethnicity, education or other kinds of socio-demographic or -economicindicators. This did not however make me less suspicious about the idea thatit should be possible to explain the development of new social spheres –wherein a multitude of individual choices and practices related to recreationaluses etc. of the city are played out – with reference to universal needs. Eventhough more traditional socio-economic indicators seem to have littlerelevance, I felt a need to continue looking for alternative ways ofconceptualizing the preferences that were at play. At this stage it becameclear to me that ‘issues’ such as individual wishes, choices and futureprospects should be taken much more seriously when trying to identifypatterns of differences in socio-spatial practices.In order to do so I took Lefebvre’s time-space perspective on individualrhythms as a starting point. 391 The assumption that prompted me was that itshould be possible to find correlations between, on the one hand, patterns inthe informants’ decisions to live in a particular neighbourhood, seen inrelation to a more long-term life plan, and, on the other hand, patterns in theinformants’ neighbourhood practices. What I assumed was, in other words,that there was a relationship between the informants’ evaluations of factorssuch as attractiveness, centrality and everyday neighbourhood practices, andtheir announced long-term life plan-reasons for living in a place ‘here andnow’. My perspective was that the types of wishes and objectives one has forliving in an area has affects for how the area is used and implications for howthe urban landscape is perceived as a space of possibilities and constraints forfulfillment of wants.If I, in accordance with such a point of view, could find a way of orderingthe interviews into groups of related individual projects in terms of reasonsgiven for living ‘here and now’, it would make it possible to investigate391 As described and discussed in chapter one and two.249


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2patterns in described experiences of how the different neighbourhoods‘respond’ to the informant’s expectations and preferences, i.e. dispositions.To be able to organize the interview material in groups with related ‘timespace’-perspectiveson the neighbourhood situation, I made use of answers tothe following thematic groups of questions: question 29-31 on dispositionsand expectations related to choice of residence; question 52-53 on plans toremain or move (and the reasons given); and question 15-17 on residentialhistory.The answers to question 29-31 392 and question 15-17 393 were categorizedaccording to how the informants described their current residential situationin relation to issues of choice:A. An individual, conscious choice, mainly based on judgements ofenvironmental characteristics (social and/or architectural) of thearea.B. An individual, conscious choice, mainly based on judgements ofarchitectural characteristics (aesthetical/functional) of the domicile.C. An individual, conscious choice, mainly related to locationalcharacteristics in terms of proximity (to someone or something).D. Sheer coincidence or solely considerations related to size/prize ofhousing unit.E. A more or less conscious choice made a long time ago, but (sincemost factors related to that choice have changed) the main reason forliving where one does is that this is home.F. A limited choice in principle made by others (municipal socialservice, employer, family members’ external to household, etc.).G. A limited choice related to changes in life-situation where proximityto (or moving together with) close relative(s) was considerednecessary (in terms of either to take care of or to be taken care of).A-C can be seen as expressions of free and individual, conscious, domesticchoices, E-G as expressions of a more limited range of choices, and D as anexpression of less attention to qualitative differences.The answers to question 52-53 394 were categorized according to how theinformants described time-perspectives or life plans in relation to theircurrent residential situation:392 Dispositions and expectations: 29) Why did you choose the area and residence you currently inhabit? 30) Iflocation was attractive to you, why was it? 31) If housing type attracted, why?393 Domestic history: 15) When did you arrive in Norway, 16) When did you first reside in present domicile?,17) Previous residence in last 5 years (addresses),250


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2H. Satisfied with the situation – and plan to remain in present domicile(because of and despite…).I. Satisfied with the situation – and plan to remain in theneighbourhood, but will probably look for another kind of dwelling(different size / different type / different kinds of facilities / fromtenant to freeholder, etc).J. Satisfied with the situation here and now, but plan to remain in thearea/domicile only for a limited time / in the present phase of life.K. Don’t know – dependence on other concerns.L. Plan to move ‘as soon as’…, because of …M. More satisfied with the situation before, but do not list anyincitements for moving elsewhere…N. Not particularly content with the situation, but no plans or noabilities to move in the current situation.H and I can be seen as an expression of a certain degree of willingness toinvest time and resources in integrating into a neighbourhood (withexpectations of benefiting from it in a more long term perspective), J and L asan expression of a more short-term perspective on socialinvestment/beneficials, M and N as an expression of a more ‘making the bestout of it’-attitude towards living in the neighbourhood.By combining the answer-alternatives I then re-organized the matrix of shortversioninterviews and looked for patterns in described practices. By addinggroups with related descriptions of domestic choices, residential plans anddescribed practices I ended up with four quite broad groups of informants (inwhich most of the interviews 395 quite unequivocally could be placed):Self-imposed transit residents (A, B, C) + (J, L)Self-imposed permanent residents (A, B, C, D) + (H, I)Imposed permanent residents (D, E, F, G) + (M, N)Imposed transit residents (F, G) + (L, K)The first three groups are relatively large, and the descriptions of experiencesand practices are quite rich and elaborated. The last group consists of quitefew interviews, and is not sufficiently well represented in the interviewmaterial to identify patterns (the group only contains 3-4 informants from394 52) Do you plan to remain in present residence? Do you plan to remain in your present neighbourhood? Doyou plan to move? If yes, where would you like to move? 53) Why?395 Only a few interviews did not fit into any of these groups: #012, #307, #409, #414.251


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2each study area). Besides, these informants, 396 understandable enough, hadtheir mind on many other things than neighbourhood issues in a area theyprovisionally were staying in. In the following analysis of socio-spatialpractices I have therefore chosen to focus on the three first groups.Layers of dispositions and the production of a differentiated urbanlandscapeIn the analysis of the interview material I will investigate how differentlayers of practices, experiences and attitudes to the urban landscape come toexpression in the three different study areas. The layers represent differentways of being in the urban landscape, or different perspectives on the urbanlandscape as a space for action. This provides variations in expectations,experiences and practices when it comes to making use of the city as alandscape of possibilities and limitations. The different levels of practiceshave features in common with discourse analytical subject positions. 397 WhenI choose to treat them as layers, and not groups or positions, it is toemphasize a focus upon how they operate in relation to the entire material,urban landscape: i.e. how the practice sets dialectically produce differenttypes of qualitative change in places’ function, role and significance − inrelation to other places in the city structure. When the practice sets, seen in amore commercial perspective, form a customer base related to a regionalactivity cluster, such as for instance ‘ethnic’ in Grønland, ”alternativefashion” in Grünerløkka, the role and profile of both areas are set in change.But such a change does not just represent a development of particular localconditions, but also of differences in function and role between differentelements in the urban landscape. When, for instance, the shopping streets ofGrønland and Grünerløkka change function and role, it is not only in relationto a before-situation, but also in relation to places in the surrounding area.One reason for this is that residents and customer groups usually willevaluate the streets’ shopping qualities in relation to each other.In my analysis will each of the layers be scrutinized as a set of practices,perceptions and discourses about qualitative differences within the urban396 The group consisted of weekly commuters, temporarily accommodated asylum seekers and refugees, andpeople that provisionally were staying in the area (due to illness amongst close relatives, etc.) – all of thempeople with a limited time-perspective on remaining in the area.397 The analysis of the interview material is an analysis of a stack of individual narratives about ‘what andhow’ they perceive different areas of the city to be. When narratives about different parts of the city arecreated, it contributes to changing perceptions and expectations. When a shift takes place in the production ofnarratives about places, it can be regarded as an integral aspect of an ongoing urban transformation process. Inhis article, “Gentrifisering som kulturell diskurs” (“Gentrification as cultural discourse”), in Aspen (ed) 2005,Jonny Aspen discusses such a shift as a key aspect of the gentrification processes in Oslo. In my own analysis Iam however more interested in what information the narratives contain about experiences of qualitativedifferences in and between areas, especially in the perspective of possibilities and constraints for practicechoices. Furthermore, I am looking for information about geographical differences in the repertoires ofpractices (and related issues of urban transformation) in the three areas. I am more interested in such aspectsthan in discourses as such (and the manner in which they contribute to urban transformation).252


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2landscape. By living in a social and material landscape, one experiences thelandscape in a direct fashion by being in it. The experiences can change one’sperceptions about the landscape, at the same time as each and one’s ownpractices comprise an element of the urban landscape that is experienced byothers. The layers are however not to be understood as absolute categories inwhich every kind of urban resident can be placed. Several of the interviewsaddress features that in substance could be placed not just in one specificlayer. One should also be aware of the fact that over time the status of theinhabitants could change: some “transit residents” may choose to continueliving where they do; “self-imposed permanent residents” grow old andimmobile, etc.In order to illustrate what an analysis with a point of departure in practicelayers and morphological characteristics may disclose, I will start up byfocusing on the two layers that stand out as most clear and distinct. My aim isto identify patterns of similarities and differences in experiences of the studyareas as described by informants that represent the following two contrastingtime-space perspectives: Layer 1: Self-imposed transit residents: “Tourism” Layer 3: Imposed permanent residents: “Settled situation”Thereafter I will focus on patterns of differences between the three studyareas and how these can be related to patterns in architectural differences:Layer 2 of self-imposed permanent residents, or “conscious neighbours”,comprise inhabitants that describe having chosen to live and continue to keepliving in a particular neighbourhood: As such we in this layer can expect tofind more conscious reflections upon socio-spatial qualities of the particularneighbourhood they live in compared to other alternatives. By theirdescriptions of a more long-term plan of remaining in an area we can expectto find socio-spatial practices that, so to speak, are more dedicated, inaddition to more motivation for wanting to integrate into the neighbourhood.And by the long-term plan we can also expect to find reflection on problemsor lacks in the neighbourhood and maybe also strategies for dealing with it.In the analysis of layer 2, I will focus on geographical patterns of distinctionwhen it comes to use-value, practices and experiences addressed byinformants both from this layer and the other layers. Based on this I willdiscuss how patterns of differences in social practices correspond to patternsof architectural differences analyzed in the previous chapter.253


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2LAYER 1: SELF-IMPOSED TRANSIT: TEMPORARY,NON-INVESTING PRACTICESThe social practices of this layer can be said to ‘float, in a manner ofspeaking, above the urban landscape. The layer is dominated by actors whodescribe having a large amount of freedom of choice, in time and space, andfor whom this is important. Both with regard to choice of residence and urbanpractices, they emphasize how they have consciously chosen to live preciselyhere when they had the option to choose so many other things, and how thechoice is temporary. They use the urban landscape in a temporary,consumption-oriented and non-investing manner (and why indeed shouldthey invest time and energy on becoming integrated in the local community −when they shall regardless be moving on soon?). In Grønland andGrünerløkka those belonging to this layer show much stronger indications ofshopping for experiences and image than in Furuset. Beyond the centralityaspect (with regard to the opportunities for recreation and for going out onthe town of which they avail themselves) the area qualities of Grønland andGrünerløkka that are described are predominantly of a symbolic nature,connected with descriptions of a place-identity and part of an individualidentity production. The choice of place of residence (temporary) is describedin the manner of tourism: one rents or buys into an exotic, unfamiliar andexciting neighborhood and thereby acquires the opportunity to stage oneselfand one’s life using the surroundings as exotic spices (socially, culturally andarchitectonically). The expectations regarding the authentic neighborhoodone wished to become part of by moving here also resemble many travelers’expectations with regard to tourist destinations. They are not based on travelbrochures and narratives but on media coverage and the stories ofacquaintances who have been there, or who have moved there. The urbanpractices and the manner in which they are described in this most extremepractice layer can be associated with the type of spatial practice that MarcAugé describes in his essay ”Non-places” (2000; 84) as the traveler’s spaceand as production of non-places. In that the places included in a traveler’sroute are many, a discontinuity is created between the observing traveler andthe landscape through which she is moving. The discontinuity found in heralways being on the way to somewhere else, prevents her from beingcompletely present in the landscape and deprives her of the possibility toexperience the landscape as a place. If she tries to fill this gap with thoroughand detailed information about the places she visits (such as from guidebooks and travel descriptions) this also contributes to distorting the focus inthe relation between the places and the places’ names (designations which arecarriers of an idea of what one can experience there). The focus changes from254


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2seeing the names through the places to seeing the places through the names:Paris, New York, Luxor.Many of the young, ‘for-the-moment’ residents of Grønland describe andvalue the presence of immigrants in the neighborhood as a kind of excitingexotic and atmosphere- and identity-creating spice to the street life that formsthe framework for their own lives. But while this quality of the area is heldup as something positive and exotic, almost everyone is also clear aboutwhere the limits for their enthusiasm lie. Even in the light and superficial,almost symbolic type of distanced confrontation with unfamiliar strangers(and their life conduct) that one experiences when one lives in the same area,passes others on the street and so on, the difference is experienced as a littledisturbing. Even at a safe distance the strangeness of others can be quiteimportunate:A female economist in her late 20s (#430 398 ) describes how shelikes the atmosphere of Grønland, particularly that it almostfeels like being in another country, with people of allnationalities standing around and talking in the streets, shakinghands and so on. At the same time, she describes vociferousimmigrants calling out to one another in the streets as the mostnegative aspect of the area, in addition to (and in the samebreath as) littering in the streets and hospices that attract drugaddicts to the area.A 31-year old ergonomic who shares an apartment with agirlfriend (#500) mentions the immigrant shops, immigrantshaving discussions in the streets, the vitality of the area and thecombination of different types of people and the bars, cafés andrestaurants as the most important qualities of Grønland. Shestates that this is exactly what makes her feel more at homehere than in the western parts of the city, such as at Frogner.But she finds the area to be too densely populated and is notused to so many people being in the streets, especially late intothe evenings. And, she adds: “The immigrants are noisy andthey do not show much consideration for other people aroundthem.” In particular she is irritated by a group of youngAfricans who play ball, disturb the street people and hang outin the square outside of the building late at night. Along withlittering, dust and pollution, she views this as the most negativeaspect of the area. It is the reason why she wishes to move soonto another part of the city, with more air, and when the day398 Reference to interview number. The features that are used as examples illustrate points that are mentionedby several informants.255


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2comes to have children, out of the city so her children will beable to grow up there.Only a few of this layer’s informants from Grønland could provide the nameor the native country of an immigrant acquaintance (and only in cases whereit was for example a matter of an Indian fellow student from BI 399 who alsolived nearby). Some flirt with the idea of how awfully accustomed they havebecome to “the exotic”:A couple in their late 20s from the north of Norway (#329) andliving in Grønland mention the immigrants in the neighborhoodin every possible context throughout the entire interview(immigrants who talk loudly in the streets, immigrants whothrow ice cream wrappers and other trash on the street, theimmigrant women who wear saris, so that the woman afterhaving lived here for two years, in spite of a job and studiesdoes not know what is ‘in’ any longer), and both emphasizethat they are so accustomed to there being many immigrantsaround them that they have ceased to notice it and that they nolonger find it to be exotic. “I think multiculturalism is fine, butto put it bluntly, it does not exactly have any influence on ourdaily lives.” As the only places in the neighborhood that theyavoid he mentions a Turkish recreation club (where heunderstands he has no business being) and she Café Oliven,where she had an unpleasant surprise last year. She broughtalong a group of girlfriends ‘from home’ to eat and see bellydance (she had expected a kind of “respectable folk dance” andexperienced the belly dance performance as embarrassing,disgusting and offensive). She has therefore not been backsince, even though she went there often before.Most of these young, Norwegian, temporarily urban adventurers have grownup outside of Oslo or other crowded urban areas. 400 Little knowledge aboutand little interest in the way of life of ‘the others’ and being unaccustomed tocodes and types of social behaviors based on living in close quarters withmany strangers, appears to cause more misunderstandings, disappointments,399 Norwegian School of Management400 Although only a very few explicitly stated where they came from, many have expressed that they go tospecific places to visit family and friends (in their vacations, etc.) and I have therefore interpreted that thismeans that they have a kind of background or connection from there: Kongsvinger, Romerike, Nordland,Troms, Ytre Enebakk, small towns in Western Norway, Trøndelag, but also other Norwegian cities such asSandefjord, Stavanger, Sandnes, Ålesund, Bergen, Drammen, Kongsberg. Some also come from the suburbanareas around Oslo: Østerås, Asker, Jessheim, Nittedal, Ammerud.256


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2and direct confrontations in this layer than in the others. The confrontationsare described however as a problem with the neighborhood only, not withone’s own behavior. Two examples from Grünerløkka:A 23-year old male student (#006) describes his beingregularly beaten up on his way home from town at night asbeing a typical problem with the area. Likewise, a 26-year oldfemale student (#301) tells of her having been beaten up ontwo different occasions in the past year outside of the buildingas a typical example of how rough the neighborhood is.The adventure that is connected with the experience of something exoticpales when one has become more accustomed to it. After a while thesurprises and foreignness become commonplace and trivial. Thedisappointment over the emergence of, instead, a mundane, everyday life alsobecomes more pervasive when one has had high expectations with regard toall the excitement one was going to become a part of in moving here andwhen the lack of met expectations has neither been replaced by another socialconnection to the area. Many of the informants who have had an expectationof moving in and becoming part of an exciting socio-cultural localcommunity, express disappointment over discovering that it is not sofrightfully exciting after all. Some express irritation over not fitting in orgaining access in the manner in which they had anticipated:A female Norwegian art student (#314) tells of her frustrationover not getting the response she wants from the immigrants inthe neighborhood. She wants, almost demands to be treated asa regular customer by the immigrant shopkeeper she frequentsand describes her irritation over not being “seen” by immigrantgroups. She is in particular provoked when she walks pastgroups of African men on the street, knowing that she is notwelcome to take part in whatever they might be up to, whilethey are standing around hanging out. When she moved herethe year before, she valued the fact that Nedre Tøyen seemed alittle more foreign. She wanted to live here “where there areconstant surprises, where every day is not just like the daybefore”, but now she no longer finds the area to be so exoticand believes it is because she has grown accustomed to it.The type of quite powerful, not just ethnocentrism, but also egocentrismillustrated by her irritation over not gaining access and acceptance in the257


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2manner she wants, finds expression on the part of many of the informantsoperating in this most extreme layer of urban practices. Strangers arepresented as something that has value primarily on the force of theexperiences they give me, and to the extent that I can use them to create afavorable image of myself and thereby construct an image of myself that canalso be socially transcoded. In this way, the description of strangers and theurban encounters with the unfamiliar, emerge as elements in a selfconstruction,more like Marc Augé’s descriptions of the traveler’s narcissisticmirroring (2000:103) than Lefebvre’s descriptions in Le droit à la ville, andLa revolution urbaine of the potential for self-realization that lies in the city’sgreat many and confrontational encounters between strangers:A female Grünerløkka resident of some 30 years (#105) relateshow she always says hello to the immigrant shopkeepers andthat she likes that they say hello to her, also when she justpasses by. In a somewhat patronizing manner she describeshow she always teaches the immigrant shopkeepers “to speakand write correctly” when she is there and shops and how sadshe thinks all the social problems in the area are, with thepublic housing and “all the lonely Moslems” (sic.). She alsostates that she was very fascinated by the area’s exotic imagewhen she moved here four years ago: “Grünerløkka is anexciting place with artists and it is multicultural.” Both thelifestyle and the architectonic style she associated with it,attracted her: she wanted to live in a renovated 19 th Centurybuilding with tall, multi-paned windows, plaster ceilingrosettes and that kind of thing. But today the expectations havebeen replaced by disappointment. She feels that theneighborhood with all of its café-bars and other ”trappings”comes across as “staged quasi-urbanity” and tells of how shenow wants to move to a house with a garden outside of the city,because that was how she grew up and besides, she adds, “citylife is not really me”.Connections between a type of life conduct, identity and a specific type ofsurroundings are brought up in several of the interviews. Particularly inGrünerløkka, but also to a certain extent in Grønland, many describe how theexpectations of a lifestyle (an exciting city life) also were associated withliving in an area and preferably also a building/apartment from a particular258


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2architectonic style era. 401 Among those who have found out that this is not apermanent place, are many who describe a feeling of their not identifyingwith the type of city life they see the possibility of leading here. They alsoexpress a longing for a type of surroundings and lifestyle that more greatlyresembles what they grew up with − with a house, a garden and a slowerpace, outside of the city.Among the informants from Grünerløkka a good many describe the area’seast side character or a kind of distancing from the west side as an importantquality of living in the area. Such an emphasis of “we over here” as differentfrom “the others over there” is not similarly expressed in the interviews fromthe two other study areas. Those who emphasize the east side character arealso often preoccupied with the internal territorial boundaries of Grünerløkka:they describe certain sub-sections as less attractive to themselves and theircontemporaries and they also describe other user and resident groups asdisruptive elements in their own experience of “Løkka”:Two men in their mid-20s who live in a collective with acouple of others (#101) tell of how they wanted to live on theinner east side because there are a lot of young people andplaces to go out. They do not like the west side they say, “boththe people and the atmosphere there are not pleasant”. “Furthersouth on Thorvald Meyers gate is trash” but the cheap beerthere is OK. The alcoholics and the drug addicts are a problem:“move them to Frognerparken!”One couple in their 30s, living together (#104) also findproximity to friends, cafés, bars and restaurants important butcomplain about the sameness of the population: ”there are fartoo many ‘hip’ people here, too many students, and familieswith children − there are baby carriages everywhere!” But theylike the alcoholics at Schous Plass: “They are funny and createatmosphere.”The actors of this layer associate for the most part with likemindedcontemporaries (“their traveling companion, other travelers”): fellowstudents, colleagues and friends they knew previous to moving into the area,or friends they have met through other friends and acquaintances while living401 Several of the interview objects with a background from another place had such an attitude to the area whenthey moved in, but have adjusted, created their own city life and thereby assumed an attitude that is describedin layer 2..259


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2here. They frequently meet out on the town (particularly when they are tomeet with friends who do not live in this part of the city, it is important formany to give them the opportunity to experience the neighborhood’s manycafés and bars), sometimes at each other’s homes. Many, particularly theyoung men, are also enthusiastic users of the many unofficial ball parks foradults that have been established in the parks in this part of the town: atHersleb school, at Kuba, by Lakkegata School, in Sofienbergparken and thearea of Voldsløkka.A 26-year old male student (#306) who lives in a collective inGrünerløkka tells of how he usually rides his bike a lot aroundthe city and looks around and that he often plays petonk orFrisbee with friends in Sofienbergparken or the backyard orbasketball at Kuba. He and his friends often meet others there,with whom they play, immigrants also, but he does not get toknow those he plays with, they just play. And he has no ideawhere the immigrants he plays with come from or what theirnames are (except when some have used names to call out toone another). Many of his fellow students live nearby, and hemeets at the student pub or they make appointments to meetother places in Grünerløkka. Sometimes they also meet in eachother’s homes to play playstation. Otherwise he has noticedthat both the elderly in the area and some of the families withsmall children are more interested in taking care of the areathan are those who are just renting for a shorter period of time.Furuset also has transit residents who describe a conscious choice to live andwork in Oslo for a few years, before moving back to where they come from.In the same manner as the young transit residents of Grünerløkka andGrønland these also primarily associate with likeminded colleagues andfriends of their own age group whom they frequently meet with at cafés orbars in downtown Oslo, in Grønland and in Grünerløkka or visit in eachother’s homes. And neither do these people see any reason to invest time andenergy on integration into a neighborhood that they will soon move awayfrom. But unlike the informants from the other two areas, the interviews donot contain descriptions of either exotic experience value or irritation inconnection with, for example, immigrants where they live. The residents hereare neither in the same fashion concerned about more symbolic qualities suchas identity or image in the neighborhood they live in or where they go todrink beer and coffee. And the Furuset residents maintain that they live in acentral area: they do not have street life near their home, but in terms of260


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2transport (subway) they live centrally in relation to many select points atdifferent locations in the urban landscape.A teacher in her late 20s from Trondheim (#312) tells of howboth she and her husband use the entire city, but in particularthey spend a lot of time in Grünerløkka. They often go there togo out and drink coffee, beer or to eat, to meet friends and theygo there to go for a walk in the parks or on a picnic(particularly Sofienbergparken). On occasion they go for awalk in Furuset also. They never use the common areas forpicnics or such but are very satisfied with the private outdoorarea because it is so private, has sun, and is secluded. InTrondheim they lived downtown. She is happy to live inFuruset: there are trees and grass, and it is nice and peacefulthere. They live centrally in terms of transport and still close tonature. She relates that she knows the neighbors throughvoluntary communal work and that they greet one another andchat when they meet outside. She thinks it is pleasant that thecooperative building society organizes trips and parties, eventhough they almost never take part in them. On occasion theyshop at Furuset Center; it is nice to have everything close by.But even if the selection of restaurants, cafés and bars, andstores had been better at the Center, she would nonethelessrather go to Grünerløkka. She does not identify with theclientele of the cafés at the Center and she “likes to go intotown”.Four Danish workmen in their 20s (#211) have shared anapartment in Furuset for a couple of years while working oncontract at different construction sites all over the city. Sincethey live together, they often do things together in their freetime: they jog from home, work out at the gym or take thesubway into the city to have a few beers and eat. Although theymaintain that they do not know any of their neighbors, they saythat they usually take part in the cookouts organized by theneighborhood in the summertime, and that there are quite a fewimmigrants (and elderly) living in the neighborhood whomthey often help with different things of a practical nature. Theylike that it is quiet and peaceful where they live and are alsovery satisfied with living in Furuset compared with the otherpotential apartments (in the same price class) that theiremployer could offer them in other parts of the city. The onlything they miss is actually a decent place nearby to drink261


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2coffee, have a beer and meet people from the neighborhood.Furuset Center is definitively not such a place.The lack of sufficiently attractive and public arenas (parks, street life, cafésand bars) at which to socialize with likeminded strangers in the neighborhoodin Furuset is by these informants associated with the opportunity to go otherplaces (19 minutes by subway to Grønland / downtown plus 5 minutes toGrünerløkka), and to what is offered there. The bustling and varied street lifethat is described as an important quality of Grønland is kept alive by, amongothers, the residents of Furuset who go there to swarm through the streets,buy food and textiles and take advantage of different types of social venues.But even among these transit residents who do not express any interest inintegration into the neighborhood, I still find statements of how peopleappreciate organized outdoor neighborhood activities in the summertime,chatting with the neighbors, as well as mutual help with practical small thingsbetween neighbors. I do not find similar examples of this type of interactionbetween non-likeminded or otherwise “foreign” neighbors in the descriptionsof the everyday practices of informants from Grønland and Grünerløkka.Some transit residents who had recently moved in at Grünerløkka dohowever, describe expectations of such inclusive neighborhood arenas:A woman of 35 (#303) who knows the bars and cafés and thearea from previous use, describes how she, now that she hasmoved here, hopes to get to know many people in theneighborhood through use of the backyard, barbecuing in thepark and this type of activity in the summertime. Among themost important qualities she mentioned the pulsatingatmosphere, “that there is a sense of anticipation in the air hereand many crazy young people who live here and do things andorganize events”.Among the transit layer’s informants who have lived awhile in Grünerløkkaor Grønland, there are however only a few who can state that they use thebackyard, and to the extent that this involves socializing with neighbors, thisis with neighbors with whom they were already acquainted:Some people describe summer cookouts and parties in thebackyard but emphasize that this is something they do with“friends, not neighbors” (#407). Some of these friends havemeanwhile also become neighbors in that friends who live inan apartment in the same apartment building have tipped off262


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2friends or acquaintances regarding a vacancy in the apartmentbelow (#500, #432, #430). Many describe the backyard as “acourtyard nice to look at”, or also “creating a good atmosphereand cool with the children that play there” (#503), but also statethat they never use it − “none of us who live here do soactually”(#314). Some explain that they meet and chat withneighbors who are also outside smoking a cigarette in thebackyard, when they themselves go out to smoke there (#101).Some of the transit residents have one or two toddlers. Among these residentsthere are more who use the backyard on a daily basis during the summerseason, but they do so less than they use the parks and without greatenthusiasm:Some describe their backyard as “nice to look at but unsuitableto spend time in because it does not have enough sun andplants and there is equipment that does not tolerate children’splay”(#310). Others describe their backyard as safe and fine tosend the children out to, but too boring for adults to spend timein (#401). Still others describe their backyard as fine for thechildren to play in, but difficult in relation to the neighborsthey often meet there because of “a mutually shared andtherefore easily ignored responsibility and many differentopinions regarding how the backyard should be used” (#403).The young transit residents in all three areas describe socializing withlikeminded people and use of urban recreational arenas with a large degree ofpublic access as more important than socializing with neighbors and usingcommon private outdoor spaces connected to their apartment buildings. Thestreet life, parks, shopping possibilities and cafés and pubs along the busierstreets of Grünerløkka, Grønland and downtown Oslo otherwise, are part ofthe everyday descriptions of the transit residents in all three areas, also inFuruset. But the interviews illustrate that there are differences in the types ofrepertoires of arenas the residents of the three areas have access to in theirrespective local environments, and differences in the ways in which these areincorporated into their everyday lives and individual production of identity.Grønland / Nedre Tøyen is described as downtown both by those who livethere and those who use the area. In the interviews with transit residents fromGrønland “the others” are described as strangers who slide by on the streetpicture: immigrants, drunks and drug addicts. The rough and unfamiliarcomprise a kind of exciting backdrop in an impersonal public space. Oneassociates with a selection of likeminded people in places with other263


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2likeminded people while the other neighbors receive little attention.Centrality is important in relation to the opportunities to go out which theytake advantage of (it is nice to be able to walk home after a night out on thetown) and because of the possibility of getting public transport to any part ofthe city, including the forests and islands with beaches. With the exception ofthe playgrounds for adults in the parks, the transit residents describe using theforests and islands much more than the local parks, but bicycle trips in thecity and jogging along Akerselva (where one is minimally confronted by thepeople one observes as one passes by) are also included in many of thedescriptions. The fact that there is a lot of life and people in the streets,almost around the clock, is described as giving a kind of security and aquality of living in a “lively neighborhood”, a “vital local community”. Butthe informants do not comment upon the area’s location as a juncture, or howthe street life they observe probably has more to do with visitors 402 or peoplepassing through than with the pulsating local community. With the exceptionof expressions such as “vibrant neighborhood” and ”vital local community”(which perhaps reflect just as much the street life as other forms ofneighborhood feeling?) the descriptions of the impersonal coexistence withothers are little characterized by the type of territorial demarcations of theneighborhood’s “we” and “the others” which emerge in the interviews fromGrünerløkka (something which is even more apparent in the level with theself-imposed permanent residents than among transit residents). The area orthe territory is neither clearly delimited. Architectonic style that is associatedwith lifestyle and identity, is neither in the same fashion a theme in theinterviews from Grønland or Furuset.Grünerløkka is described as the East side by the transit residents who livethere; many mention the lack of West side character as an important quality.Those who use the area, but live in Furuset, describe it as downtown. InGrünerløkka “the others” are described to a larger extent than in the two otherareas as those whom one (in many ways resembles but) does not identifywith. It comprises those whom one positions oneself somewhat above, andthose whom one experiences as invading or clinging to the neighborhood oneviews as one’s own: the vain and hip, all the families with small children(baby carriage invasion), all the “old and surly”, the very young “wannabeswho rent here for a short time”, “the west side people who just come here toparty”. The “people who are somewhat reminiscent of the Norwegian402 This is documented in another study (within the framework of the same project) that addresses use and usergroups in a selection of (11) parks and urban spaces at different times of day throughout three summer monthsof two different years. The registration of use and user groups (e.g. in Grønland) and brief, sample interviewson where in the city the users have traveled from and what they were going to do here, shows for example thatthe majority of the men who looked like immigrants (people of colour) and who stood talking togetherthroughout Grønland had traveled in here from different suburbs in Groruddalen, Søndre Nordstrand andBærum. Some did so almost every day.264


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2working-class author Rudolf Nilsen on the other side of the backyard” andthe alcoholics at Schous Plass are however described as atmosphere creatingelements. I do not find in the two other areas, in a corresponding fashion, theterritorial dispute or definition struggle about “Løkka” and the “Løkkaresidents” that I read from some of the interviews from Grünerløkka,although some of the informants from Grønland describe Grünerløkka as“overly hip, overrated, staid and boring”. Fewer than in Grønland describeuse of public transport; for many it is important to walk everywhere or atleast ride their bike. Grünerløkka is described as a creative and colorfulneighborhood, a local community with a good and varied access tointeresting, likeminded people. “Løkka” is described as a place with anhistorical identity connected to the old industrial traditions and a jovial eastside character, a place with architectonic individuality and “a town within thecity.” 403Furuset is described as a central residential area, transport-wise, of Oslowith good nature and recreational opportunities, but with boring (lacking)possibilities for shopping and going out. The transit informants from Furusetwere neither as concerned with area delimitation as were the transit residentsof the two other areas: They live in Oslo, and they use the entire city. Thelack of attractive venues for going out in the local community is neitherdescribed as something they miss because the parks, street life and cafés, barsand restaurants in downtown Oslo are a part of their repertoire of recreationalarenas. But unlike the residents in the other two areas, the informants are lesspreoccupied with place identity as a part of their individual identityproduction and in contradistinction to the transit residents of Grønland andGrünerløkka, they describe chatting with, and that they to a larger extentrelate with, non-likeminded neighbors.403 This type of description is however even more common among those who had decided to live permanentlyin the area. Among these there are also more who argue for an even more comprehensive city recreationalprogram, including a cinema, swimming pool, etc.265


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2The informants were asked to draw a map of their neighborhood. Here five such neighborhoodmaps drawn by “self-imposed transit residents” are shown. The two drawings on this page arefrom Grünerløkka. The three drawings on next page are from Furuset. While the two fromGrünerløkka communicate a picture of a geographically delimited, small town idyll, the twofrom Furuset present a picture of transport lines radiating from the residence to target points atother locations in the city landscape.266


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2267


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2LAYER 3: IMPOSED PERMANENT RESIDENTS“SETTLED SITUATION”This layer of practices is comprised of residents who describe little freedomof action both in time and space. When one does not see alternatives otherthan to continue living where one lives, and by and large limits one’sactivities outside the home to what one finds in the immediate surroundings,one’s practice opportunities to a large extent are dependent upon the localoffers of physical and social arenas. This is not the case with the other twolayers where individual practices both challenge and exceed local offers andattractions. At the same time, the recognition of the neighborhood as arepertoire of limitations and possibilities that one must live with (in theforeseeable future), implies another view of limitations not only in alternativeactions but also for practice opportunities that save one from undesiredconfrontation. This involves other strategies than those used by residents who‘shop’ individual aspects of living in an area for a period.Some of the actors of this layer have moved to the part of town quiterecently, as a result of their life situation having changed: health-wise,economically or family-wise. Many are also remnants from other layers:They once made a choice to live exactly where they live, but time has passedand much has changed. Having lived in an area for a long time brings anotherperspective of change processes in the area than if one has only lived there ashort while: the before-situation for these residents is not the first impressionsand expectations of the newly-arrived, but of the life one had here before, asyoung and active, when one had a family and was professionally active. Inthat perspective it is seldom the case that things were worse before. Anotherdifference also makes itself felt: while the transit residents of Grønland andGrünerløkka also connect choice of residential area with descriptions ofexotic atmosphere, the presence of immigrants in the streets, access toimmigrant stores, etc., some of the older permanent residents have acompletely opposing view of this: it is particularly in the public space that theunfamiliar becomes a threat. Besides, it is not a matter of just any old noman’sland, but the neighborhood one has viewed as one’s own throughout along adult life, where all that one held near and dear gradually disappears andis replaced by something unfamiliar, new and different.A pensioner who has lived in Grünerløkka for 50 years, statesthat he never shops in immigrant stores, “at least not at thePakistani or Turkish because they are expensive and they cheatpeople”. He thinks in general that the stores in the area havebecome much worse. All the foreigners and all the bars and268


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2cafés are the most negative things about the area. They make alot of noise in the streets. He avoids Grønland because there areso many immigrants there. Before he retired, he workedtogether with several immigrants, “they were fine to work with,fine fellow workers in every way”. Nonetheless, he is quiteuncomfortable about there being so many foreigners in the areawhen he is out walking because “they come from anotherculture and you never know quite what they are about to”. Hethinks it is a shame that so many of those he knew in thebuilding have moved out and that the young people who havecome in are so bad about washing the stairways. Some of themhave “even suggested hiring someone to wash the stairs”. Hehimself sees no point in spending money on such things, “theymust either be very lazy or very rich”. When he moved in, theyactually washed the stairways three times a week, “but that wasthen perhaps an exaggeration” (#106).A married female pensioner, who has lived in Furuset sincethe suburb was built (#109), thinks she lives centrally andeasily so close to the forest, but she does not feel quite at homehere. She never really has; she has not even unpacked all of herboxes from when she moved here over 25 years ago. She tellsof how she is irritated by all the immigrants who do not followthe house rules, and that there are far too many of them here.Many of the friends she used to have in the area have moved,and she feels locked-in. She does not associate with friends orneighbors very much, mostly her own children and theirfamilies. But she enjoys sitting on her balcony watching theTurkish neighbors outside − “and watching how they eat andenjoy themselves with children and friends and everything”. Itcreates life and atmosphere and she feels that she has learned alot from them.A widow in her 80s moved to Furuset from the north ofNorway (#415) to live closer to her children after her husbanddied a few years ago. She is happy she did so and is verycontented here. “It is a quiet and peaceful area even though itdoes happen quite often that the police ring the bell to get in tosomeone’s flat in the building.” She talks some with theneighbors she has become acquainted with. Once she wasrobbed, “but he was Norwegian, we must not blame theforeigners for everything”. Sometimes her daughter takes herout shopping, and before her legs got so bad they often went to269


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2Furuset Center and “had a cup of coffee at Lee’s… that is areally cozy place”.The informants from Furuset describe another repertoire of everydaypractices and social neighborhood arenas than do the informants fromGrønland and Grünerløkka. While trips to the pub or morning café visits aredescribed as important daily rituals and important places to meet people fromthe neighborhood, in Grønland and Grünerløkka, the descriptions of meetingswith neighbors in Furuset are to a greater extent connected with voluntarycommunal work and organized common activities.The descriptions of recreational activities in Furuset are often connectedwith situations where one to a minimal degree is exposed to the gaze of theneighborhood: with walks in the forest, time spent at home and on thebalcony. But they also include descriptions of social neighborhood activities:common organized activities in the outdoor areas, cookouts with neighbors,activities in local committees and clubs, etc. The descriptions of recreationalactivities in Grønland/Grünerløkka are more often connected with use ofpublic city space where the presence of crowds of people implies a certainanonymity − to ride a bike/go for a walk on the city streets or through theparks, walking the dog in the parks, or spending time in a variety of socialspaces where one can meet likeminded people.A divorced, childless man who has lived on the outskirts ofFuruset since the suburb was expanded (#421) spends the daysof his retirement home alone, very busy with all of his hobbies.He enjoys his own company, reads a lot, paints pictures, playsthe piano, uses the Internet and runs or goes bike riding in theforest from home. He does not really have a social life, he says,months can in fact pass between the times he visits or hasvisitors, but those he sees the most frequently are the neighborswho are also retired. An exception is the time he got involvedin a protest action against the Center Street; he thought thatwas very positive. He does not enjoy himself in the city andcould never think to live there − neither would he ever havehad enough room for everything he does in a tiny andexpensive city apartment. He goes to the city only when he“absolutely must”, to buy art supplies or go to the opera.A pensioner (#311) relates that he has many acquaintances inthe neighborhood and that they often drop by one another’sapartments. He feels a strong sense of “place attachment”, notleast because he has been active in different committees and270


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2clubs ever since he moved to Furuset in the 70s. The fact thateverything then was new and that everyone had just movedthere, provided the opportunity for another kind of belongingthan that which characterized the old areas in downtown Oslo:“There are many new residents in Oslo, both from other partsof the country and from abroad and the city belongs in fact tous as well!” He misses having a place to go out (to drink beer,coffee and eat) in Furuset, and finds the clientele at the placesthat do exist very shabby. But he goes for a lot of walks in theforest Østmarka and often uses his balconies. He especiallylikes to sit on the balcony facing the park where the youngpeople usually gather to play different ball games.While the transit residents mentioned exotic, varied and lively “atmosphere”as the most positive, and pollution and drug addicts as the most negativeabout both Grønland and Grünerløkka, there is little focus on these mattersamong those who have lived there a long time, who ended up there withouthaving chosen it, and who figure on being there always. Among these verypermanent residents, the presence of strangers and the unfamiliar is oftendescribed with a pragmatic distance: little enthusiasm for the exotic, fewexpectations regarding exciting interaction and little politically correct praiseof a colorful community and multiculturalism. But there are also fewdescriptions to be found of disappointment and irritation over the contact notbeing as anticipated, and only a few mention irritating details about thepresence of immigrants (such as their loud conversations in the streets).People live in parallel worlds in the same area, and the distance is notdescribed as a problem but more as a well-functioning adjustment to what isnot a wholly optimal situation.A married man in his 50s (#431) says he has always lived inGrønland and that he seldom travels outside of downtownOslo, except for when he goes up to his cabin. He tells how heoften goes for walks in the city streets and in the parks with thedog, especially Tøyenparken and the Botanical Garden. Henever speaks with people he meets in the parks. At the pubs, onthe other hand, he talks with those he meets. At the pubs hegoes to everyone is Norwegian. Neither does he shop in any ofthe immigrant stores, but then again he “has no use for thekinds of goods they sell there”. It is however not a matter ofprinciple, for he “frequents kiosks that are run by immigrants”.Previously he found it to be “a little annoying to be in thecompany of gypsies and the gangs of immigrant youths who271


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2used to hang out in the area”. But he thinks it has improvednow and it is also “positive that more Norwegians havereturned to the area in recent years”. Actually, he notices noproblems in the area whatsoever. He “thinks basically thatimmigrants and Norwegians get along and manage well livingin the same area”.In Grønland and Grünerløkka the impression of distance between a “we” and“the others” is reinforced by the informants describing the socialneighborhood arenas where they only socialize with, for example, ethnicNorwegians from the neighborhood (not family, not close friends, butlikeminded strangers with whom they become acquainted). The pub or pubsare described as close-knit environments completely different from the coffeebars used by the transit residents; one falls into conversation with strangers,one goes out not just to but also with (the people at) the pub and one sits theretogether and is amused by “the others”:A man in his 40s comes from another city in Eastern Norway(#410), but had to move in with his sister in Grünerløkka sometime ago. In the course of the time in which he has lived in thearea, he has made many friends from the neighborhood,through his sister and “through the pub”. All of these areNorwegian. They often have cookouts together in the parkoutside Lakkegata School, meet at the pub or sit in thebackyard of some acquaintances that live a bit further down thestreet. He thinks it is great to live so centrally and have stores,the streetcars and everything close by. The mosque next door“could have been a little negative but it gives us something tolaugh about when we sit at the pub”. At the pub he meets“friends, close ones and people who work in theneighborhood”. But on those occasions when his daughtercomes to visit he usually takes her a little outside of the area, tothe Botanical Garden or to Sognsvann.Also for immigrants with different origins, access to and use of public socialspheres where one can meet and socialize with likeminded strangers, isdescribed as an important quality of living in Grønland and Grünerløkka.A Pakistani man who came to Norway as a working immigrantin the 1970s (#603) describes the Pakistani immigrant272


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2community in Grønland as important for him and his family.Not least when his wife came here, a few years after he did, itwas nice for her to be able to walk around freely and shop inplaces where they spoke the same language and understood oneanother. They have continued with this and he has a detailedknowledge of and describes a personal relationship to theshopkeepers they frequent (also those he is arguing with andcurrently avoids). For the most part they shop on Brugata andTøyengata, never on Thorvald Meyers gate or Markveien. Herelates that he has a large network (of Pakistani men but alsofamilies) because he has lived here a long time. They often goand visit each other’s homes or he often goes out to play poolor have a beer with friends and drinks coffee at a particularsports bar by Jernbanetorget. He is also member of a darts clubthat sometimes goes off on fishing trips together. The familyoften goes on a picnic together (with a grill) to Ekeberg.Sometimes they go to Frognerparken, but they preferTøyenparken, which is “a proper pleasure park, the best inOslo”. In the other parks there are “a lot of women andsunbathing and such ‘indecency’ − we do not dare look youknow”. In Tøyenparken they escape all that; there he can takealong both his wife and daughter. He knows the neighborsquite well, they have cookouts together on the rooftop terraceand have visited one another at home sometimes, but some ofthem are “a little surly and stressed”. Ten years ago it wasmuch better to live here, now there are too many refugees withserious problems. It is a problem for everyone. The crime andinsecurity it carries with it results in his no longer daring tosend the younger children out alone to the kiosk in theevenings.The presence of likeminded people and use of venues where one socializeswith (or at the least, is surrounded by) likeminded people is a recurring themecited as an important factor for many of the informants (in all of the layers).It is however only informants with an immigrant background who express anawareness of the presence of likeminded not solely as a positive quality, butas the absence of the friction that can arise when one is very different in aplace where all the others are “the same”.Two youths with Pakistani parents who grew up inGrünerløkka (#603b) point out that it is positive for foreigners273


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2such as themselves to live in an area with many otherforeigners. “It is not as peaceful where immigrants live aswhere only Norwegian Norwegians live. Just think about howskeptical (the Norwegian) neighbors would have been if wehad moved to Holmenkollen, for instance.” Most of the peoplethey knew here while growing up have moved out of the city tolarger apartments and houses in the suburbs. And even thoughthey scarcely know anyone in the neighborhood any longer, itis “nice to live in the city and have everything close by, theshopping is better, and one does not need to feel so selfconsciousin the city”.Both young adults who have grown up in Furuset, and parents with childrenwho have grown up there, describe marching bands, sports teams anddifferent committees and clubs in connection with children’s activities asimportant local community arenas where they get to know very differentpeople. In addition they mention voluntary communal work and commonactivities in the neighborhood:A man in his 50s who came from Pakistan to Norway in thebeginning of the 70s (#419) and moved into Furuset when thesuburb was new tells of how he and his family have manyfriends of all nationalities in Furuset. They have gotten to knowthese people through voluntary communal work projects ofdifferent kinds but many have moved away from the area −they knew more people here before. He experiences Furuset asa quiet and peaceful area. It has been a nice place for thechildren to grow up and “there are many who take part in thevoluntary communal work and participate in taking care of theneighborhood together”. Otherwise they have friends inGrønland and in other suburbs that they meet with in oneanother’s homes. In the summertime they often go for walksfrom home, or they go to Sognsvann, Slottsparken or AkerBrygge. They buy groceries at Furuset Center but meat,vegetables and other things in Grønland. If they are going toeat or drink coffee out, they do this also in Grønland.A young Norwegian man who grew up in Furuset (#416)relates that he has learned a lot from growing up with so manydifferent people from so many different countries and types offamilies as there are in Furuset. He says that the area ischaracterized by a “unique tolerance because people get toknow each other in a positive way through friends (children),274


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2the children’s families (children + adults) and voluntarycommunal work and such”. But he also thinks that there is abig difference between foreigners who came here before andafter 1990; the latter are much less integrated. There is actuallya large problem with big groups of immigrants who move hereat the same time and keep to themselves. Children and youngpeople can carry on as they like on their own much more inFuruset than they can in the city (they ride their bikes torecreational activities on their own and meet out). “This createsa multicultural children’s society” where children of allnationalities “get to know each another and do things together,until about the time when they turn 16”. After that, they aregiven more duties in relation to the family and relatives, orschool, job and education. Then they spend increasingly moretime together with others with the same background. Thisyoung man buys food at Furuset Center but vegetables onTorggata, clothes in downtown Oslo and at the regionalshopping malls. He uses the forests and swimming areas inseveral parts of the city. When he is going to meet friends out,this takes place in downtown Oslo.The residents of Grünerløkka and Grønland also describe neighborhoodarenas where one socializes with neighbors who are strangers and who onehas nothing else in common with except that one shares the right of use andresponsibility for semi-private common areas in connection with the building− with all this implies of different types of interaction (and confrontation)with neighbors. The rooftop terrace is described as a secure and pleasantcommon venue:An 80-year old widow (#204) who has lived in Grünerløkka for40 years explains that she is a frequent user of the local activityprogram for the elderly in the area (pensioners university,lectures at the seniors center, etc.). She often goes for walksdown Torshovsdalen and along Akerselva together withfriends. On the walks they often stop to rest on the parkbenches. But beyond this she does not spend time in the parksand not in the backyard either. The rooftop terrace on the otherhand is important; she “often reads, eats and takes a nap there”.Up there she also often chats with her neighbors who are “veryeasy-going people”. Other residents in the same building, suchas a homosexual couple in their 40s (who otherwise belong tothe former layer) (#205), also describe the rooftop terrace as “a275


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2social meeting place for everyone in the building – and as suchmuch more important than the backyard, even though thebackyard is very nice and a lot of money has been spent on it”.They commonly invite guests there and the neighbors ofteninvite and are invited to each other’s parties. Sometimes theythrow neighbor parties there.Also the informants of this layer state that they use the backyards forcookouts, parties and socializing with friends (not neighbors), as a smokingarea and also that the children play there sometimes. But in this layer thereare also descriptions of avoiding the backyard, not because it is boring, butbecause spending time there involves unwanted and uncomfortableconfrontation with the neighbors:A Turkish woman (#443) who lives in a municipal apartmentin Grünerløkka, tells of how both she and her children avoidthe backyard “because there is so much unpleasantness, fromracism to bullying from the neighbors”. But she is often inSofienbergparken, to eat and play with the youngest of herchildren. The oldest plays at the ping pong area there; hespends a lot of time at Kuba and plays ball, too. She has twogirlfriends in the building whom she spends a lot of time with.They usually meet in her home “because she is divorced”.Another Turkish woman in the same building (#442) states thatshe also spends a lot of time in Sofienbergparken on a dailybasis with the children, but not in the other parks in the areaand never the backyard. When they moved there 15 yearspreviously they were the only immigrant family in the buildingand “the neighbors were helpful and pleasant, and they wereoften together with the children and everything in thebackyard”. All of this changed after “so many refugees withproblems” moved in. The family has an allotment garden theyoften go to, or on Sundays they go on excursions toFrognerparken.A pensioner (#106) who has lived in Grünerløkka all of hisadult life, meets with old friends from the neighborhood at theSenior Citizens Center, where he often eats dinner and takesdifferent courses. Otherwise he does not use the neighborhood;he never walks in the parks and avoids meeting neighbors inthe backyard. He meets friends from the entire city in amotorcycle club where he is an active member, and old friendsoften drop by his home. Besides this he travels quite a bit and276


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2keeps in daily contact with friends who live far away, with thehelp of the Internet. In that he has more than enough to occupyhim with his own social network, he does not need “fortunatelyto mingle with the neighbors − except for on very specialoccasions − like when the cooperative building societycelebrated its 100 th anniversary”.In the interviews the informants describe experiences with different spatialsocialarenas, which in different ways are part of their everyday lives. Theinformants of this layer do not speak of any plans to move other places,although the decision to remain living there is not presented as a choice. Thelack of awareness regarding other choices results in another manner ofrelating to the surroundings than was the case with the transit residents whoat times virtually maintain that the world is their oyster. Descriptions ofsymbolic, identity-related qualities of the neighborhood are also completelyabsent in the interviews from this layer, and neither are there any whoexpress being preoccupied with living on the east side. Several of theinterviews contain descriptions of adaptation to given framework conditions,where the level of ambition is not to have a fantastic, interesting and excitinglife, but to have a decent life and to manage well. With this perspective onliving, these informants’ experiences from use of the city and localcommunity illuminate other aspects of the areas’ repertoires of spatial-socialarenas than do those of the other layers. Compared with the transit layer’sinformants, there is much greater variation in the informants’ background,age, and life situation in this layer. It is therefore more difficult to generalize.But some geographical differences are nonetheless evident, particularlybetween the everyday descriptions from Furuset and the two other areas.The informants from Furuset describe neighborhood arenas where verydifferent people are together: the arenas are both more demanding for thosewho are interested in investing time and energy in development of theneighborhood, and also offer the opportunity for others to participate in avariety of organized common activities. In the descriptions of thecommunities that are created through the voluntary communal work andparticipation in social arrangements of different kinds, a defining distinctionis also created between “we” who take part and “the others” who are notinterested in participating. Many describe stopping and talking with peoplethey meet when they are out walking in the neighborhood and many speak ofhow they chat with the neighbors. Otherwise there are few who speak ofspending time in the green common areas between the buildings, except tocook out/eat, with the family or with the neighbors. One goes for walks in the277


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2neighborhood and forest and one stays home a lot and on the balcony and onegoes to the city (Grønland and downtown) to go out.The informants from Grünerløkka and Grønland do not describeneighborhood arenas connected with voluntary communal work and club life,but a good selection of social venues without obligations, where one canmeet likeminded people. This applies to pubs, recreational clubs, cafés, etc.,and to the choice of shops. On the basis of the interviews, particularly fromGrønland, it is clear that it is possible to live in completely parallel worldswithin the same geographic area: whether it is in a “Pakistani immigrantsociety” or by only spending time in the arenas where everyone isNorwegian. Those who have rooftop terraces describe this as an intimate andnice arena for those who live in the same building (transversing social andethnic differences). The common spaces that everyone uses (the parks,streets, etc.) represent a totally different degree of public anonymity than thecommon spaces in Furuset; neither are there any descriptions of interactionwith other users (than those one possibly goes there together with, oracquaintances one bumps into in the park). The backyard descriptions aremore mixed. The backyards are described as places where one spends timetogether with friends (who come to visit, or whom one goes to visit) − notneighbors. Some have children who play in the backyard; many do not allowthe children to play outside alone. The interviews also contain somedescriptions of avoiding undesired contact / confrontation with the neighborsin the backyard, and of feeling supervised and controlled by glances from thenumerous windows when staying there. The informants from Grønland andGrünerløkka describe to a lesser degree chatting with neighbors but that onesays hello when one meets at the mailboxes.278


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2LAYER 2: SELF-IMPOSED PERMANENTRESIDENTS: “CONSCIOUS NEIGHBOURING”The layer 2 of practices and perceptions is richer and more complex than thetwo other layers, it includes more and a greater diversity of informants andthey are not so uniform (compared for instance with the layer of young urbanadventurers). Both those who substantiate their conscious choice to move towhere they find centrality and environmental qualities that suit their chosenlife-conduct and those who describe having ended up where they live as morerandom choice (but who still have made a choice to stay) describe a spatialfreedom of choice: a weighing of other possibilities and a decision to remainbecause of and in spite of. The decision to remain involves a stronger degreeof investment in the neighborhood but also a more critical gaze with regard towhat the neighborhood “lacks” (which one must go elsewhere to experience),and what challenges that follow from living in precisely this area (whichthere are different problem descriptions of and different managementstrategies for in the different areas). Within this layer the three study areas aremore equally represented and the geographic differences appear to be moreobvious.Domestic choices related to differences in the architecture of buildingsAsthetical judgments of architectural style at GrünerløkkaAmong those who have chosen to settle in Grünerløkka, quite a few addressarchitectural qualities related to style, aesthetical qualities and potentials forfurther aesthetical improvement as issues affecting their domestic choice:An architect with husband and children that moved to Osloeight years earlier, describes that she back then, coming fromanother Nordic city with mainly late 20 th century architecture,“wanted to live in one of these older apartments with highceiling and stucco detailing”. The density of people andactivities, the social diversity, the public streets with their streetlife, the parks and the park life one can find in an urban arealike this, are mentioned as other reasons for choosing thisparticular area and for choosing to stay (#002).Two social workers, a homosexual couple that has lived inthe same apartment for eight years “since before it becametrendy to live here” address the aesthetical potential and thearchitectural style of the apartment as decisive for their choiceof domicile. They have invested a lot in refurbishing since then279


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2and they are particularly content with how the improvementsplay up against the original details (#205).An archivist at 41 tells that when she moved to Oslo in 1995she wanted “one of these old apartments with stucco details inthe ceiling”, but today, she adds, “I would rather have chosen apre-war functionalist apartment”. She appreciates the type ofbuilding and to be able to walk to all activities and for allerrands – “for me the vivid street life is associated with thiskind of architecture” (#005).An anthropologist at 30 describes her choice of apartment asan aesthetical choice: “The apartment was weary and rundown,but architecturally it had style, soul and potential. Thatwas important. There are some newer apartment buildingsfurther up the street – probably from the eighties – that I neverwould have considered living in” (#009).The examples above illustrate how some informants relate issues of a desiredlifestyle to the architectural style as well as to architectural environmentalqualities of their chosen neighbourhood (#002, #005), but also to aestheticaldistinctions between different more or less tasteful buildings in the same area(#009). The examples also illustrate acknowledgement of dynamics in thesocial landscape, as defined by judgments of aesthetical values (exemplifiedby descriptions of how one’s own taste has developed since moving into thearea), and distinction of one’s own dispositions related to particularaesthetical values or potentials, dispositions that at that time were far moreavant-garde than for those who make similar choices today (#205, #005).Architectural elements ascribed good and bad associations in GrønlandThe issue of architectural style – as recognition and appreciation ofarchitectural characteristics that can be associated with a certain historicalperiod and its way of life – is also addressed by some of the informants inGrønland. In addition, some of the informants from Grønland describe quitemixed feelings related to how they think the new monumental Islamicarchitecture may affect the image of the area:An artist at 33 describes how the architectural traces of othertimes and related narratives were important for her domesticchoice: “The building – you know, this is actually RudolfNilsens’ Nr.13 404 – is an architectural beauty spot. I considered404 Rudolf Nilsen (1901-29) was a famous Norwegian author and poet, born in Oslo. His poetry was createdunder and strongly influenced by the class battles in the 1920s. Some of his poems are battle songs, othersexpress harsh political satire. At the same time he produced poems that can be read as declarations of love to280


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2the atmosphere, the architecture and the view of RudolfNilsens’ square as important when I found the apartment forsale. For instance, the building has its own traditions for 1 st ofMay, with a marching band coming to play The Internationaland other marches in the backyard. (…) I like these old, mixedareas in eastern Oslo – I could never settle in a posh westernarea such as Majorstua or Frogner” (#435).A 56 year old secretary that runs a small business togetherwith her husband moved from a larger satellite town apartmentinto a smaller apartment at Grønland when their childrenmoved out some years ago. They enjoy the diversity of people,shops, parks, activities and places for entertainment in the area– and particularly she appreciates walking the streets and doingshopping in all of the immigrant stores. But she complainsabout public services that do not take care of buildings andstreets. Some buildings are literally falling apart withoutanybody interfering, creating dangerous situations on thesidewalks. “And then suddenly all these new huge and costlymosque projects… as if powerful Islam is conquering ourfatigued Norwegian neighbourhood – I certainly don’t like thatidea (…) I really support multiculturalism and the integrationof immigrants that can be seen in this area, but I don’t likeghettos. The litter in the streets and the slowly disintegratingbuildings contrasted with these huge Islamic investmentsproduce a ghetto-image of this area which I profoundly dislike”(#405 405 ).The examples above illustrate quite different aspects in regards of in whatway architecture is ascribed symbolic value related to production of imageand identity: The first informant (#435) describes the architecture as tangiblehistorical traces that gives her associations to a historical working class wayof life and to a heroic history of class struggle. The building she lives in isdescribed as a symbol of such values, especially with reference to the famouspoem “Nr 13”. Even more the backyard of the building is described as ascene for celebration and memory of working class ideological values. Heridentification with these values is further emphasized by her explicitdistinction towards “posh western areas”. The second informant’s descriptionof the monumental mosques as a disturbing demonstration of foreign powerthe city, to urban life and to the streets and people of eastern Oslo. His most famous poem is titled “Nr. 13”,which is known to Norwegian schoolchildren even today (compulsory reading): The model for this poem isconsidered to have been the apartment building in Heimdalsgata 26, at the east side of the square RudolfNilsens plass.405 Full quote translated from the interviewees handwritten notes following the transcribed interview.281


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2is related to the way it contrasts the weary architectural environments of theneighborhood. She ascribes this contrast symbolic meaning related to powerrelations.A focus on more pragmatic issues at FurusetNeither aesthetics nor architectural style is explicitly mentioned in any of theinterviews from Furuset – neither from this layer nor from any of the otherlayers. None of the informants from Furuset that mentioned architecturalqualities (building type, lay out, spatial organization, two ways thru-litapartment, balconies etc.) in relation to their domestic choices did actuallyuse the term “architecture”. Besides, at Furuset, the architectural qualitieswere – without exception – related to prize and size in comparison with otherurban areas in Oslo.“When we moved here from Tøyen three years ago, we wereable to buy a 4-room apartment with two balconies and anelevator for the same amount as we sold our old 2-roomapartment at Tøyen. (…) But the buildings around here are atragedy, too dense and too dark” (#416). ”The size of theapartment and the balconies, the flexible layout, and the factthat the building and the whole satellite town was new wasimportant when we moved here in 1979” (#311). “The size ofthe apartment, the price and the flexible layout were reasonsfor choosing this apartment when we moved from Tøyen someyears ago” (#207).Some also comment upon pragmatic details related to how the architectureaffects everyday social life in an apartment building:“We really appreciate that apartments are better insulated herethan what was the case in the building we lived in at Tøyen:There we could hear our neighbors turning in bed at night,coughing, and even overhear details when they were arguing orteaching their children manners. (…) Too much knowledgeabout each other’s private sphere made it difficult to socializewith neighbors in the backyard, I guess we all preferred to dealwith each other as strangers” (#416 406 )At Furuset internal architectural differences in relation to areas containingdifferent housing types – i.e. the difference between the denser high rise area406 Quote from interviewer’s hand notes to the transcribed interview.282


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2close to the tube and the Furuset senter, the row-house hamlets and the oldersingle family houses surrounding the satellite town – are mobilized for socialdistinction and also used as symbolic markers of steps in domestic careers:Some of the informants from the row house-hamlets and single family housesdistinguish their neighborhood “we” from the denser housing units in thecenter-area. The denser area is described as “the local problem area” incontrast to their own well-functioning neighborhood. Quite a few of theinformants from this area do not include the denser Furuset senter-area intheir neighbourhood map drawings (#313, #423, #425, #429). On the otherhand, some of the informants from the denser apartment block-area at Furusetsenter described ambitions of moving to the adjacent area of semi-detachedand single family houses (#418, #420, #416, #108, #207).Descriptions of domestic choices and patterns in practices related toarchitectural differences between the three study areasEnvironmental socio-spatial qualities that can be related to how differentarchitectural systems are spatially organized to accommodate for a certainrange of socio-spatial practices and a certain repertoire of encountersituations is addressed by informants from all three study areas – asrecognition and distinction of environmental qualities that support desiredlife conducts or a life style they identify themselves with. The patterns ofdifferences in the description of possibilities and constraints for realization ofdesired socio-spatial practices is different in the three study areas, and so arealso the strategies for dealing with what is described as lacking orproblematic in the neighborhoods: Some local lacks and shortcomings arecompensated by easy access to other destinations within the urban landscape,other local problems or lacks are dealt with in other ways. There are alsopatterns of differences related to how informants that have families describethe effort to balance the different interest of the family members. Informantsfrom all three study areas describe their choice of neighbourhood as a choicerelated to issues of centrality, but the descriptions of in what way thedifferent study areas represent centrality for a chosen way of life vary, both interms of proximity of favored functions and related to communications.Independence from using a private motor car in everyday life is emphasizedas a quality in all three study areas, but in different ways.Grünerløkka - street life, park life and a complete “village” in the cityIn Grünerløkka, informants describe that their domestic choices are related tofeatures such as easy access to public street life and park life, easy access toshopping and entertainment, and the existence of “social diversity” in thearea. Many informants address the quality of dense co-presence and hastynon-confronting encounters with strangers in public space, as well as social283


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2control related to flows of people in public streets. The rich variety of placesfor entertainment where one can meet colleagues or friends, or just besurrounded by likeminded individuals, is also an appreciated qualityaddressed by informants from Grünerløkka. Many of the informants havechildren. Their dispositions and descriptions of neighborhood qualities andchallenges are quite diverse, but to some extent form patterns that can becompared with what the informants from Furuset and also Grønland tell us.In general the informants from Grünerløkka describe the centrality of theirneighbourhood as related to the range of activities they can reach by foot orby bike. Many of them also address neighborhood qualities related toconceiving Grünerløkka as a “village” or a “town in the city” – in contrast toinformants from both Grønland and Furuset that seem to be more orientedtowards the range of activities they can reach both by foot and publictransportation.A pedagogue at 55 describes that they were looking for adiverse and lively environment and “an area with a large publicspace” when she and her partner moved into the area 12 yearsago: She wanted to see people outside and in the streets, and“not only in their secluded gardens – nobody here has a gardenand thereby they are forced to use the parks”: “We really valueopening the entrance door to step directly out into publicspace”. They chose this particular street because it wascentrally located, but still peaceful and quiet – “the nightlife ofthe main streets must be disturbing for those who live there”(#103).A 30-year old anthropologist with an eight-year old sondescribes the parks as essential for her choice to stay put here:“I would never considered living here withoutSofienbergparken and the Botanical garden, or if I didn’t havea car: to be able to drive to Marka (Sognsvann and Tryvann) inthe winter and places to go swimming in the summer (Frysjaand Huk) represents a necessary opportunity to escape thedensity of the area”. She appreciates the easy access to avariety of shops and places for entertainment, the socialdiversity, the proximity to the city “without being in the middleof it”, the street life and “the exotic and yet relaxed atmosphererelated to the immigrant shops”. Furthermore she has a numberof friends in the area. She does though describe the area as ademanding place for raising children: “I have to follow my soneverywhere. There is too much traffic, drug addicts, heavydrinking and strange people everywhere. He is of course not284


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2allowed to go out on his own to play in the parks, and ourbackyard is not particularly pleasant.” She has a noddingacquaintance with some of the neighbors, and during the tenyears she has been living in the same apartment, she describesonly once having invited a neighbor home (#009).A 48-year old secondary school teacher with a teenagedaughter describes the vivid street life, the complex diversity ofpeople and activities “and particularly the anonymity and theclose presence of many others without feeling invaded” asqualities related to an easy way of life which she appreciates alot. But “it takes a lot of organizing and planning to havechildren here” and unfortunately, “there is criminality, drugsand strange people all over the place”. She knows some of herdaughter’s friends, but not their parents – previously the girlsused to come and play in each others homes. When she movedto Grünerløkka 20 years ago social multiplicity and the factthat lots of likeminded people, especially students, lived in thearea, were considered important reasons for choosing theneighbourhood. She still sees some of them, they meet in eachothers homes, go for a walk together or meet at cafés or bars inthe area. She is not very fond of spending time in parks, butenjoys walking through them. Earlier, there were “much moreelderly neighbors sneaking behind their curtains”, but that isnot a problem anymore. Staircase cleaning on turn and theseasonal “dugnad” is a hassle; she “really hopes there will be amajority for caretaker-services in the board of the housing cooperativethis year”. There are few energetic types in herhousing co-operative, she says, many elderly, and quite a mix –“other places they have parties and more fun together with theirneighbours” (#010).A lawyer at 37 with two children describes significantseasonal variations in the family’s favored activities in theneighborhood: Both he and his wife enjoy being able torespectively bike and walk to work all year around. In thesummer they use the backyard a lot. They “bring dinner totables in the backyard and the kids play a lot in the backyard”.This is also how they have been acquainted with some of theneighbors. They particularly spend much time with one otherfamily. They also use local parks, where the chance ofbumping into people they know is great. He feels though thatthe outdoor areas in the inner city only are attractive insummertime, and he sees this as a functional difference285


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2between the system of outdoor spaces in the inner parts of thecity and the outskirts of the city. This particularly affects thechildren’s range of activities. It takes more planning andorganization to get the children out to play in the cold and darkseason in this kind of area. As they both work full-time andoften lack the extra energy it takes to go elsewhere, he regretsto admit that their children in the dark seasons spend far toomuch time indoors. “We have friends all over the city: Furtherout kids go out and play on their own all year around, whilekids in this area sit indoors entertaining themselves in front ofdiverse screens while drug addicts and people with fightingdogs have the parks for themselves in the wintertime”. On theother hand, “children in the outskirts seems to have a muchmore organized leisure time, and hopefully we compensate bybeing able to take the children on everyday family outings bybike to museums, cafés, the beach at Bygdøy, parks and alongAkerselva in the summer, while our friends in the outskirts arestuck with their children’s soccer games etc.” For weekendsthey almost always drive out of town, to their cabin or to seefriends or family (#403).As illustrated by some of the previously mentioned interviews fromGrünerløkka, the appreciation of Grünerløkka’s ‘centrality’ is related toproximity to the city and activities downtown, though without living “in themiddle of it” but in what is described as a “village” or “town within the city”.In contrast to informants from the other two study areas, which in generaldescribe centrality as easy access to a wide range of activities all over theurban landscape, a number of informants from Grünerløkka touch uponissues of neighbourhood development in relation to a conception ofGrünerløkka either as a more delimited unit or a dream of the area developinginto a more fully equipped “town in the city”:A designer in his 50s explains his domestic choice byemphasizing the ambition and the ‘drive’ of this particulararea: He wanted to live in Oslo, and he wanted to stay in anarea with a challenge and “buoyancy force” (“oppdrift”). Thisarea and the apartment had enough bohemian feel to it(“bohemfaktor”) to appeal to him. It was spicy enough (“krydranok”), the neighbourhood had density, and it gives him thesense of living in a city. He studied in a European city when hewas young and it was then he got the taste for this kind ofenvironment. He considers himself an urban individual, and he286


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2likes to take walks in the parks rather than in the forests. Hewas born and raised in the countryside, but he doesn’t at allmiss that way of life. But the area isn’t without problems: “Thetaggers and the drug addicts need to be solved. There is somekind of misunderstood softness towards the taggers. The drugaddicts should be taken care of rather than being chased aroundthe neighbourhood: The Eika-area is degrading.” According tohim the city council in no way spends enough resources oncultural activities in Grünerløkka, even though it is a dense partof the city: “Everything here seems to be based on restaurants,and not much has been done to get cultural activities andactivities for the youth started. (…) If you compare thepopulation and the investments in cultural activities atGrünerløkka with other places, very little has been offered thepopulation at Grünerløkka: 27,000 people live here – more thanin a medium size Norwegian town – and today there is onlyone theatre, which was started by a private group, there’s nomovie theater and no public cultural scene where independentgroups can stage a play (…) The neighbourhood is a microsociety,and there is a need to make people belong here, to givethem a particular identity and shared cultural experiences. Theonly institution offered to people here is the library.” Over thepast five years he has noticed that a lot of immigrants havemoved out: There has been a great change of people in theneighbourhood. “It is of course sad that some deprived groupsare forced to move out of the area. However, now that thestandard of housing has improved, the tax income from thisarea must be much higher too: The city council should returnmore of these resources back to the neighbourhood andupgrade our structure of public cultural institutions!” (#107)Furuset – green and calm, closeness to nature, public transportation and children’s activitiesAlso the informants from Furuset stress the use qualities of the physicalenvironment as supportive of their chosen way of life, the importance ofcentrality, and the value of independence from using a private motor car ineveryday life.“I appreciate living in a satellite town with everything withinreach. (…) We live close to nature, close to public transport,and the outdoor spaces are green and tidy – with a variety ofpossibilities for children’s play. (…) I really enjoy the greensurroundings and seeing children in activity on my daily walks287


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2in the Furuset-area” (#418). “It is nice to be independent of thecar in the everyday life: We have all service facilities we neednearby and live close to the tube, and it is also a luxury to beable to go for a hike in the forests directly from home” (#311).“It is so centrally and convenient to live here, for walks andchildren’s play and also to take public transport all over thecity” (#420). “It is nice, green and calm out here, but still easyto go downtown or anywhere in the city by public transport.(…) In all these years we have really appreciated thepossibilities for children’s development in this area, the largeopen spaces, lots of other children.” The latter informant alsodescribes that all the communal activities in this area haveprovided the family with “a lot of friends and acquaintances:Norwegians, other Pakistanis and people of other origins. (…) Ioften go for walks in the area and enjoy the greensurroundings.” (#419) “It is nice and easy to be a child aroundhere – and by that it becomes easy to be a parent here as well.”Centrality is another appreciated issue: “The simple access topublic transportation and the Furuset senter that covers most ofour basic needs is convenient in our everyday life, and we alsoappreciate being able to go for walks, jogging or bikingdirectly from home into Marka” (#416). “It is nice for childrento grow up here, with so many other children, activities and thevariety of places to play, and also close to different schools andpublic transportation.” Many informants describe being“pleased about the green and nice surroundings and living soclose to Marka” (#424).The profile of described environmental facilities as well as centrality atFuruset is different from in the two other study areas: At Furuset centrality isrelated to 1) immediate access to greenery, open areas for children’s play,walking trails and Marka, 2) public transportation, and 3) public and privateservice institutions. Both the location in the urban landscape and theenvironmental system of the satellite town, are recognized as a specializedenvironmental tool kit accommodated for other use values than those of thearchitectural system accommodated for public street life, park life, etc.:A widow at 47 of Pakistani origin lives with her youngest son,while three grown up children have moved out. They movedhere from another satellite town a few years ago when theyfound a larger apartment with balconies. She appreciates theenvironmental satellite town qualities at Furuset as well as at288


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2Oppsal where the family lived before: “the proximity to natureand the tube, the walking trails, the calmness and the wellmaintainedcommon greenery.” They are planning to remain inthis area, but she is hoping that the family soon can afford asingle family house. There are many foreigners in theapartment building that don’t participate in “dugnader”,particularly she bears a grudge against a large and noisyAfrican family downstairs: they make a lot of mess and theydon’t even clean the staircase when it’s their turn. She hasmany female friends living in different places in Oslo, but alsohere at Furuset: Some of them are Norwegian and some arePakistani. They usually meet in each other’s homes ordowntown, but she has also been at weekend trips to privatecabins (“hyttetur”) with some of her Norwegian friends. Shegoes for walks at Furuset every day, sometimes she goes forlonger walks in Marka. In the summer she often goes toSognsvann or Ekeberg for picnic with the family and/or withfriends. She also participates in cookouts at Furuset, but thenmostly with neighbors. Most of her acquaintances at Furusetare either people living in the same building or other Pakistanisin the area. “Usually I shop food at Sultan supermarket atFuruset senter, and in different Pakistani-shops at Grønland.My husband had lived at Grønland for five years when Iarrived in Norway and we stayed there for a few years beforewe moved out to the satellite towns, twenty years ago. I stillhave friends from living at Grønland, and every time when I goshopping there I meet lots of acquaintances that now live allover the city” (#418).At Furuset, most of the interviewed parents describe that their children veryoften are out playing on their own: toddlers in sandpits and equippedplaygrounds, schoolchildren biking around to and from different organizedleisure activities, playing ball, etc. The children get to know each other, andthe parents get acquainted through their children’s friends and activities – orthrough involvement in neighbourhood issues:The parents (#416) of a 5-year old boy with a handicap usuallyaccompany their son when he is out playing. “When I amoutside with my thermos-bottle of coffee, I often meet and talkwith other parents. We have become acquainted with someNorwegian, Pakistani, Kurdish and Vietnamese parents.” Theydescribe the neighbors they meet and discuss with outside as289


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2“people with shared interests: children, upbringing and theneighbourhood”, in contrast to likeminded friends andcolleagues they meet with in one’s homes or go out withdowntown. In particular they describe discussing a lot with thePakistani and Kurdish neighbours at the time when all of themwere engaged in the resistance action against “Sentergata”: Theresistance action is described as a success – “although we don’tyet know how it finally ends, it connected very different peoplein the neighbourhood, and it was a great shared feeling ofvictory when the neighbourhood won the battle for protectingthe park and the playground towards the plans for morecommercial buildings and through traffic” (#416).Sometimes the children get in trouble with each other, but as someone alwaysknows where they live and whom their parents are, it is described as “routinebusiness” (#108) to seek out the parents or air the problems at the firstoccasion they meet. Also adults without children say that they occasionallyinterfere from their balconies:A 69-year old retired man who has lived at Furuset since thesatellite town was built (#311) has all this time been involvedin neighbourhood issues through different local organizations.When sitting on his balcony, viewing the children andadolescents playing, he sometimes overhears harassing andmean, even racist comments – “then I lean over and let themknow that I’m observing and disapprove what I see”, butusually, he adds, the kids seem to get along well.Although parent-informants from Grünerløkka and Grønland also describetheir neighbourhood as a nice place to both have children and to grow up,their descriptions have different focus: Parent-informants at Grünerløkka andGrønland describe a logistically more demanding everyday situation, but alsostress the opportunities given to introduce one’s children to urbanexperiences that grown ups appreciate, while parent-informants at Furusetdescribe the ease of self-organized children activities as a quality also for thegrown ups, as well as stressing the positive sides of getting acquainted toother parents and being involved in neighbourhood issues through theirengagement in children’s activities.The lack of local places to “go and have fun” in the neighbourhood, isaddressed by many of the informants from Furuset:290


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2“We miss a decent place to go for a meal or a beer here atFuruset – the few existing places and their clientele are quiteweary” (#311). “Furuset lacks nice, decent and informal placesto go and see people in the neighbourhood” (#420). “Not thatwe eat out that often, but sometimes I go for a coffee atPakistani places at Grønland, or the family eat out at one of thehalal restaurants in the same area. (…) It would have been niceto be able to go for a cup of coffee at Furuset too, but youknow, when I go to Grønland to have coffee it is not as muchfor the coffee itself, but for sitting there and watch and talk topeople I know from before, or to acquaintances of them againpassing by, etc. (…) You need street life for that, Furuset hasother qualities” (#419). “We do all our shopping outsideFuruset except for last-minute basics. We always go downtownif we want to eat out or have a cup of coffee” (#416). “I reallymiss places around here to go and have fun with friends andmy husband” (#429).The local lack of functionally integrated urban streets with a street life, placesfor entertainment, a wide range of shopping facilities, etc. does not thoughimply that the Furuset inhabitants are excluded from socio-spatialrecreational practices related to shopping, hanging out in streets or cafés, parklife, entertainment and cultural activities. At Furuset the local lack ofenvironmental qualities related to urban recreational socio-spatial practicesare solved by seeking out such qualities wherever they can be found – mostlydowntown (which for informants from Furuset include Grønland,Grünerløkka, and also central urban areas further west).Even immigrant grandmothers describe (and are described) leavingFuruset at regular basis at daytime to hang out in the streets at Grønland:A recently retired informant of Pakistani-origin tells that hiswife is a childminder for their eldest daughter’s two toddlers.“Usually they stay at home and go for walks and play in theplaygrounds in the area, but a few times a week she takes thechildren by tube to Grønland to do shopping for the wholefamily”. He describes how she enjoys being able to talk Urdu,to show her beautiful grandchildren to acquaintances andfriends, and just to see people and enjoy the street life. “After Iretired this year we have been going together on some of thesetrips, by car” (#419).“My mother-in-law takes care of the children while I andmy husband are at work.” The informant describes that the291


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2mother-in-law usually also does errands and cooks for them.“Since she doesn’t speak any Norwegian yet, and since she hasbeen living here with us too short a time to get to know anyothers around here, she usually goes to Grønland with thechildren a few times a week – to shop food, to meetacquaintances or just to get a change from the calmness outhere, I guess” (#423).“Usually I shop food at Sultan supermarket at Furuset senter,and in different Pakistani-shops at Grønland. My husband hadlived at Grønland for five years when I arrived in Norway andwe lived there for a few years before we moved out to thesatellite towns, twenty years ago. I still have friends fromliving at Grønland, and every time I go shopping there I meetlots of acquaintances that now live all over the city” (#418).The geographically dispersed everyday practices described by the informantsfrom Furuset imply a distinction of neighbourhood qualities and practicesrelated to the local neighbourhood in contrast to other places that play anactive part in their everyday life conducts. Grønland, but to some extent alsoGrünerløkka and other central areas in the city, are by many informants fromFuruset described as areas that are used but where one doesn’t live. May bethough these self-imposed residents that live in one neighbourhood butextensively use another neighbourhoods for shopping and seeing people – interms of meeting likeminded friends and acquaintances, showing offgrandchildren, hanging out, having coffee, eating out, enjoying hastyencounters with flows of strangers, etc. – regret not living more centrally?Actually they say they don’t. Instead they emphasize all the positiveenvironmental qualities that characterize Furuset in contrast to Grønland andother central urban areas that the informants describe using on a regularbasis: To use Grønland for everyday activities whence living at Furusetmakes many informants emphasize that qualities found at Grønlandcorrespond to lacks and shortcomings at Furuset. And vice-versa, one putsemphasis on environmental neighbourhood qualities at Furuset that cannot befound at Grønland.While the informants from Grünerløkka describe local everyday shoppingexperiences as something related to social encounters that support their senseof the neighbourhood, the informants from Furuset distinguish much clearerbetween shopping related to basic needs at Furuset and the more variedsocio-spatial experiences related to shopping at Grønland: Most of theinformants from Furuset describe shopping fruit, vegetables, etc. at (the quitelarge and well assorted) Sultan supermarket in the basement of Furusetsenter. But in contrast to the descriptions they give of social encounters and292


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2recreational qualitites when shopping at Grønland, shopping at Furuset isdescribed in more practical and neutral terms. The socio-spatial practices thatare ascribed place-making qualities at Furuset are related to taking a walk,children’s activities and to encounters and communal voluntary work(“dugnader”) with a quite diverse group of inhabitants (not necessarilylikeminded) with whom they share neighbourhood interests.While some of the neighbourhood descriptions from Grünerløkka can giveassociations to descriptions of a well assorted platter of activities and sociospatialsituations wherein most of the informant’s desired everyday practicescan take place 407 – the neighbourhood descriptions from Furuset portray avery different situation, corresponding to a “calm, green and safe” base forlocal neighbourhood activities as well as activities all over the urbanlandscape.Grønland – living downtown, access to “public space” with a dense mix of people and activitiesLike at Grünerløkka, direct access to public space, to street life and urbanhasty encounters, proximity to urban activities such as shopping andentertainment, and proximity to friends and likeminded people living in orusing the area, is addressed by most of the informants from Grønland. Incontrast to informants from Grünerløkka, the informants from Grønlandhowever focus more on easy access to public transportation and uses ofactivities and destinations all over the urban landscape. Furthermore qualitiesrelated to living downtown, and the international, informal and dynamicatmosphere of the area, are stressed by many. The use of parks related toencounter situations is not that much emphasized in the interviews fromGrønland; parks – and particularly the Botanical garden – are described beingused for walks, jogging and for retreat situations such as “being alone readinga book without being interrupted” (#434), or “going for walks or just to bethere for a while to change one’s mind about something” (#602), etc.Many of the informants from this layer of self-imposed permanentresidents describe that they have experience from living in architecturallydifferent types of neighbourhoods as well as in quite different locations in theurban landscape. Some of the informants emphasize that aspects of sociospatialdifferences related to differences in architecture affect socio-spatialpractices they take part in, in terms of representing various possibilities andconstraints for different activities:A Latin American couple with a teenage daughter has recentlymoved back to Grønland after 13 years in a satellite town. Theystress the centrality of their new domicile and “access to a407 Apart from large-quantity shopping at regional non-place shopping malls and contrasting weekend trips toremote cabins and/or destinations abroad.293


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2public social life” as the main reasons for moving into the area;“we are so close to everything here, we can walk wherever wewant to go”. The husband describes his previous practice ofcommuting from the satellite town to work as a social barrier:“We missed being part of a social life, to be able to go out,meet friends or colleagues on a Tuesday – you know thingslike that. With 15 minutes by tube and then additionally tenminutes walking each way every day, I was exhausted when Igot home after work. So when I finally got home, I stayedhome. When friends called and wanted to grab a beer, I usuallysaid no. It would take to much time to get downtown and then Ihad to worry about reaching the last tube home. So we didn’tdo anything except for in the weekends. Now I don’t hesitate togo out when friends call – it’s so easy, we live right in themiddle of it. And now I have only ten minutes to walk to work,I can go home for lunch if I like, or have early dinner with myfamily and then go back to work a few hours in the evening.”Living in Grønland they often go on family outings by bike –to Ingjerdstrand and Nordstrand for the exercise, toFrognerparken or just for biking across the entire city. Whenthey lived in the satellite town they sometimes bikeddowntown at weekends, but they never went walking or bikingin Marka: “Why should we? There is nothing to see there buttrees and trees and they all look the same.” There wasn’t reallymuch to do in the satellite town, neither for the parents nor forthe daughter. She was just hanging out at the small, miserableshopping centre, and except for that all that existed was woods.They started worrying for her, her language got worse: “astreet-language with lousy grammar and vocabulary, theadolescents out there didn’t care.” She was also afraid whenwalking home from the tube or center area after dark; “here weall feel much safer; there are always people on the streets”. Theparents decided that they wanted their daughter to shift school,to find new friends. “We wanted Ila because it didn’t have toomany foreigners who spoke badly, and we wanted to live closeto the school. It only takes her ten minutes by bus.” The fatherexpresses that they’ve noticed a huge difference in theirdaughter’s language and appearance after moving. Now shegoes with friends to the city centre, or to friends’ homes, “wego to Oslo City (a shopping mall), or we go to the bowling hallby Gunerius, they have a dancing machine – I love it!”. It ishard to get to know people in Norway, they spent 13 years294


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2getting to know people in the satellite town, and when they left,people cried. But at Grønland it’s much easier, they chat withthe shopkeepers (particularly the butcher), the hairdressers andthe coffee waitress at Evita, and with neighbours they meet inthe backyard. There is lots of good food to buy, usually theyshop at “Turkita”, as they call their regular little Turkish foodstore. Furthermore the backyard is nice and people are veryoutgoing around here, much more than in the satellite town.They chose the apartment because of its size and the prize. Thebuilding is from the 1980s, was built for social housing and haslarge apartments for large families, but now the municipality isselling out and the old people are moving. Most of the newinhabitants in this wing of the block are Norwegians, maybe asmuch as 60-70%. They could have lived at Grünerløkka too,they like that area as well, “but you pay too much for what youget there”. Besides, they believe Grønland soon will becomethe new Grünerløkka. “The opera house will make a difference,and we can already see changes taking place for instance withall these new places for entertainment: Gloria Flames, Datteratil Hagen, Kaffekontoret, Café con bar, etc. – this is obviouslygentrification!” (#328).Many informants from Grønland as well as from Furuset describe using thewhole urban landscape and, related to this, the importance of good publictransportation. This stands in contrast to informants from Grünerløkka thatseem to be more focused on what they can reach by foot and bike, in additionof being more protective or disturbed by regional users of their localneighbourhood. It is fairly obvious why the latter is not considered a problemat Furuset: regional users of regional destinations in the area (such as theregional shopping cluster) are totally spatial segregated from the domesticareas of the satellite town. Grønland is located by the node, andarchitecturally more complex. It may also be that the architectural morehomogenous and also more clearly delimited situation at Grünerløkka –where the end points of the sightlines of the orthogonal street system helps todefine a fairly delimited homogenous area in architectural terms – supportsideas of the delimited “village” in the city.Rhythmic differences in neighborhood practices and repertoires ofencounter situationsIn the various individual descriptions in the previous sections, the informantstell about themselves and their expectations to city life with a point ofdeparture in the area in which they live. They also tell about types of295


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2attractions, which parts of the city they use, and what types of socio-spatialsituations they seek out − and avoid. Furthermore one is given information ontheir experiences with “the others” in different socio-spatial situations. In thevarious narratives about neighborhood practices, different social spheres aredescribed where encounters with the neighborhood’s “strangers” take place.The descriptions of social spheres and encounters with “the others” are basedon experiences in concrete situations in physical places. The differentrepertoires of physical space that are included in these narratives can also beseen as elements in architectural systems, as analyzed in the previous chapter.With regard to issues of how differences in architecture play a part whenencounters between different social groups and individuals are described interms of either interaction, confrontation, integration or parallel worlds, I amin this section mostly interested in examining differences in architecture thatare related to comparable contextual differences in the private-public spheresbetween the places and areas that are described.As analyzed in the chapter 4, the spatial organization of differentarchitectural systems represented in the three study areas can be seen asaccommodating for differences in encounter situations: Differences in thespatial organization of the architectural system inflict differences in how thesystem of open spaces may work as an interface between various socialcategories of users. This can also be related to patterns of differences in thedescribed experiences of encounters with both “otherness” and likemindedpeople, in other words as interaction, confrontation or just parallel co-use thatgive different experiences with social mixing at different levels.Grünerløkka – dense co-presence, non-confronting encounters, but not much neighboring?As described earlier, informants from Grünerløkka portray appreciation ofstreet life, park life and social diversity, experienced as dense co-presenceand hasty encounters in highly public outdoor space. Furthermore they stressaccess to a variety of places for entertainment where one can meet, or at leastbe surrounded by, likeminded people.At Grünerløkka a greater part of the ethnic Norwegian informants mention“the immigrants” as the most positive contributors to the neighbourhood,though not primarily understood as neighbours: only a few mention that theyhave immigrant neighbours, some more do however mention the tendency ofimmigrants moving out of the area as a loss. Among all the conductedinterviews from Grünerløkka, none of the informants actually describedknowing an immigrant co-parent of their children’s classmates or animmigrant neighbor by name or nationality. 408 The positive contribution of408 To me this seems quite extraordinary, though it may represent my suburban bias: I myself live in asuburban area (not Furuset or another satellite town, though) and I have three children. The percentage ofpupils with other than ethnic Norwegian origin in each of my children’s classes in primary and secondary296


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2the immigrants was entirely 409 related to two specific other aspects of theirpresence in the neighbourhood: The first is the professional contribution ofimmigrants, especially the immigrant food stores and the rich variety ofgoods, excellent quality of fruit and vegetables, low prices, long openinghours and friendly service they have. The second, but probably just asimportant, is related to the immigrant shop keepers’ exotic contribution to theimage and atmosphere of the area: not only do they represent an opportunityfor shopping exotic food culture, they are also described to make the areaexiting, socially diverse and multicultural. On the other hand – and incontrast to some of the informants from the previously described layers ofdispositions at Grünerløkka – none of the informants from this layermentioned immigrants in relation to neighbourhood problems.A 37-year old secretary with three children has been living inthe Grünerløkka-area for ten years and describes the area as anice place to raise children: There is a certain social control inthe area, always people in the streets, often even people sheknows. Besides, the social diversity and the diversity of shopsand cafés etc. is a local quality that is important to her.Everything they need is within walking distance: “Grünerløkkais like a village in the city!” With three schoolchildren sheassumes she must know as much as 40 couples of parents.They are all Norwegians. She knows that her children haveimmigrant classmates, but was not able to mention thenationality or name of any of them – “but some of them aresurely Pakistani, I guess” (#003).An architect in her thirties describes how both she and herhusband and also their two children make extensive use of theparks in summer evenings and in the weekends:Sofienbergparken, Paulus plass and the school yard. They oftenbump into someone they know. She appreciates the density ofthe area, the street life and park life and the social diversity;school have varied between a third and a little above half of the pupils, in upper secondary school it has beenlower. Due to a busy family schedule, I am not of the ones that are most eager to participate in all school- andleisure-related social arrangements, and I am not pretending to know the name and nationality of all the pupilsand parents of my children’s school-classes and leisure activities. But to my experience it seems difficult toavoid getting to know quite many of the various co-parents quite well after years of shared schools and/orleisure activities. It therefore comes as a surprise to me that that many of my informants do not claim to knowany immigrants at all, not even at the most superficial level in terms of having been presented to each other atschool meetings, at the usual “mother’s class parties”, while co- supporting children’s soccer games, in diverse“dugnader”, in 17 th of May arrangements in the schoolyard, in semesterwise parents coffee after pupilperformance-evenings,etc.409 As described in the 55 home-interviews conducted at Grünerløkka (#001-012, #101-107. #201-206. #301-310, #400-414, #442-444, #519). I am very much aware that out of a population of 25-30,000 individuals(depending upon where one draws the borders of the area), it is from such a relatively small material difficultto generalize; it might be that cross-over ethnic neighboring is more common than reflected in the interviews.297


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2“different immigrants groups” are definitely the one’s shethinks contributes most positively to the neighbourhood (andadversely: drug addicts). Generally they socialize withcolleagues and friends from other parts of the city. Most oftenthey meet out in this area or in each other’s homes. She doesn’tknow any of their neighbours particularly well, but she hasbeen acquainted to many other parents through her children’sschool classes and earlier also their kindergartens. They are allNorwegians, and some of them she knew from before. Shecannot remember any names or nationalities of immigrantclassmates or their parents (#002).Among these informants from Grünerløkka, quite a few mention or nametheir regular immigrant food-store in ways that emphasize both the localcorner character of the shop, and also that the informant him- or herself – as aregular – is well-informed about the ethnic origin of the shopkeeper. 410 Thistendency was even more significant in the layer of self-imposed transitresidents, but it is well represented also in the layer of self-imposedpermanent residents:Several informants tell that they buy fruit, vegetables, dry food,etc. at “the Pakistani right across the street” (“Pakistaner’n overveien”) (#009), “the Turk down the street” (“Tyrker’n nedigata”) (#010), “Arkan in the shop downstairs” (#102), “theKurds in Markveien” (#103), “the Turk” (“hos tyrker’n”)(#202) “Turk shops” (#205).Such nicknames may also be related to a more profound appreciation oftreasured neighbourhood values that, though by other means may havebecome more or less lost, are perceived to be represented by the way theimmigrant shopkeepers operate:“I shop fruits and vegetables in this same building, right downon the corner. I always shop fruit and vegetables from the boys(“hos gutta”) at the corner. They treat you well, they do thelittle extra. If I for instance want 25 equally 15 cm long, greenasparaguses, they will find it for me. If they don’t have it thatday, they will fix it for the next morning. (…) “Gutta” (theboys) at the corner makes an important effort in social service410 Of course other reasons for using nicknames may occur, but surely it is not a matter of convenience; thegrocery shop “Sultan” – which is the name of one of the mentioned shops – is much shorter and easier to saythan “tyrkergutta på hjørnet” (“the Turkish boys at the corner”).298


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2for the old people here. Daily I see that old people get their twopotatoes or some other vegetables without having to pay for it,if they don’t have the money. They also give away yesterday’sbread to the old. (…) Some take advantage of the boys, butthey have another attitude towards elderly people, it’s in theirculture, they are Turkish. (…) When the sidewalks are icy, theyassist their more fragile old customers and see them safelyhome. Most of the immigrant stores around here do that, butnot the new, fancy places. Norwegians never do that. They justwant money and young, fancy customers” (#300).Some of the environmental characteristics that are valued amongst manyinformants at Grünerløkka, such as the rich variety of shops and places forentertainment and the vivid street life and park life, are qualities that partlyare produced and maintained by a regional market of visitors from other partsof the city. In contrast to the informants at Grønland (and also Furuset) quitemany informants from Grünerløkka raise the issue of problems related to thefact that their neighborhood is very much used by visitors from other parts ofthe city:“There are much too many restaurants making noise at night inthis area, litter in the streets and the number of drug addicts isalso a problem” (#002). “The most negative contribution to theneighbourhood is the noise from the bars at night, just afterclosing time. The drug addicts also represent a problem as theyare so unreliable, in contrast to the alcoholics. But media isexaggerating the problems, that is maybe a problem itself”(#300). “I am really annoyed by people that are coming to thisneighbourhood to party and make noise at night, and also litterin the streets, and frequent thefts from cars and of bikes andchildren’s gear also irritates me” (#403). “I never buy clothesfor myself locally, the way it has developed the range of shopsin this area are far too hip and expensive – those shops are nowonly for younger people and women from the western part ofthe city, coming here for work or just to shop and have caffelatte” (#103).“The way it has developed, there are days when I feel thatthe diversity at Grünerløkka is on the point of tipping over”:The “designer-pram invasion” at Grünerløkka at lunch timeimplies that having lunch breaks at cafés in this area normallywill include very close contact with women eitherbreastfeeding or changing nappies, screaming babies and loud299


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2conversations on maternity and post-natal issues. I’m a liberalhomosexual, so I can deal with it, but I can only imagine howfor instance elderly Muslim men would feel about this. Thesame problem occurs at night, when Grünerløkka turns into aregional party-zone and our local streets get occupied byimpudent (“eplekjekke”), drunk and loud, mostly quite youngpeople from all over the city (#205).The young man above describes a situation of territorialization by mergingnew patterns in socio-spatial practices: From his point of view the designerpramowners territorialize the local cafés by their dominating socio-spatialpractices, homogenizing the range of social categories of users by squeezingout those who may feel offended by their indiscrete public breastfeeding,loud discussions on quite private physiological post natal experiences, etc.Seen from another point of view the emerging patterns of socio-spatialmaternity-leave-related practices may also be seen as processes of reterritorialization,as a revival of “the weak” heterogenizing the range of localsocio-spatial practices. The urban recreational practices of the manyconsumers on maternity leave can be seen as patterns generated by individualtactics, i.e. by individuals or groups making use of perceived possibilities inthe socio-spatial situation, as a victory of a feminist counter-action realizing adesire for bringing their maternity out of more secluded private spheres andinto public space. And by their insistent practices, and by gradually becomingnumerous enough to create a pattern, they are producing a social space –making places of “their own”.In both cases this can be seen as a battle over a territory in whichemerging and changing patterns in socio-spatial practices transform thefunction, role and image of public arenas, and thereby also affect theperceived use-value for different social categories of users. The power of thisrecently developed pattern in local space production is also reflected in newkinds of commercial strategies at Grünerløkka: Counter-attacks from caféowners can be seen, exemplified by signs saying “no prams indoors” or“pram parking prohibited” (other places handle the ‘problem’ by just turningup the music). But there are also examples of commercial strategiesendeavoring to support and turn the situation accounted for by establishingspecialized commercial spaces oriented towards this particular group:Examples that can be mentioned are a combined “maternity café” and babyequipment-shopand several designer toy- and children’s wear shops (withsidewalk-seating) and rich space for parking prams.Grønland – appreciation of otherness in public space contrasted by reluctant neighbouring300


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2Grønland is located close to the national node of public transport, and thearea is architecturally far more complex than the more homogenous andstable environment at Grünerløkka. Informants from Grønland describeliving downtown, using facilities and places in a larger geographically area,both in the city centre and throughout the urban landscape, in contrast to themore “village in the city”-oriented informants from Grünerløkka.Descriptions of living “downtown” (#328, #405), “in the city centre”(#433), and “at the node” (#434) may be related to a different territorialunderstanding of the neighbourhood: The open public spaces “downtown”,“in the city centre”, “at the node”, etc., are obviously conceived as belongingto the whole city and to users from all over the urban landscape as well as tooutside visitors. In the interviews from Grønland I have not found anycomplaints over regional users that are said to disturb the image of theneighbourhood conceived as a “village”.However, this is not to say that there are no descriptions of activities,people and environmental aspects that the informants from Grønland sayhave noticeable affects for the neighbourhood as such. But in contrast to theinterviews from Grünerløkka they do not make distinctions between local andregional users. A long and varied list of other kinds problems are underlinedthough:Pollution, especially in terms of air pollution and noisepollution related to heavy car traffic, people screaming andyelling, parties at night (mostly drunk Norwegians), andemergency vehicles (#328, #433, #434, #500, #110, #503,#602, #604). Other problems and nuisances mentioned are:Litter in the streets, disintegrating buildings, general materialdecay, tagging, theft and vandalism (#329, #320, #433, #434,#602), in addition to drug addicts, extensive khat-commerce,and heavy drinking (#316, #320, #434, #503). Illegal dogfightsand people in parks walking their fighting dogs withoutchains are also mentioned (#434). One of the informants claimsthat “[t]oo many young people, particularly young peopleliving here for a short period, don’t care for their localenvironment” (#405).The descriptions of neighbourhood-identity, local environmental qualities,etc. in the interviews from Grønland emphasize socio-spatial aspects of theneighbourhood that are strongly related to the regional role of this area. Anillustrating example is the many descriptions of a vivid street life related topeople walking the streets, shopping, spending time in parks, sitting onpavement cafés, or just hanging out in the streets. Grønland has an301


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2“international atmosphere” that distinguishes the area from otherneighbourhoods in Oslo. It’s not only the amount of people of color in thestreets and the many immigrant shops that adds to this picture, but also moreintrovert social spaces for immigrants such as mosques and “leisure clubs”for men. Some informants also address the dynamic character of Grønland incontrast to the “boring and overrated” Grünerløkka. All these aspects can beseen as an expression of informants having a more ‘external’ perspective onthe neighbourhood: they focus on the characteristics of Grønland comparedto other urban areas in Oslo and value socio-spatial experiences of a moreimpersonal and public space-related character. Such a perspective and focuscan be contrasted to the much more ‘internal’ perspective that are found inthe descriptions of socio-spatial neighbourhood qualities at Furuset, wherethe informants focus on social spaces of interaction that range from theprivate (the garden, the balcony) to the common spaces of the house groupand the neighbourhood.Also at Grünerløkka the testimonies of the immigrants’ positivecontribution to the neighbourhood has an emphasis on the colorful scenerythey add to street life and the friendly service of servants and shopkeepers(providing customers with pleasant experiences and a rich variety of highquality food at low prices). The presence of more ‘closed’ social spaces forimmigrants, such as mosques or leisure clubs for men, are by some of theNorwegian informants indirectly commented upon either as features of anexotic international atmosphere or as something they find a bit discomforting(this is particularly addressed by many of the female informants).Some of the informants from Grønland that express enthusiasm about theinternational atmosphere of the neighbourhood they live in express concernsabout dealing with immigrant neighbours as well as they describe strategiesfor avoiding that their children have to attend classes where ethnicNorwegians represent a minority:A couple in their thirties with a daughter in a local kindergartensay that they chose this area because they wanted to live in aneighbourhood with an international atmosphere as well ascentrality and proximity to parks and cafés. The diversity andthe eccentric quality of the area – comprising people andplaces, a rich mixture of both activities and shops, old and newbuildings – was important to them when they decided to settlehere. They stress that immigrants that participate in localactivities such as international market days, are really nicepeople. “But it is too bad that many of them stick tothemselves. After living in the area for a while, the immigrantshopkeepers in the area recognize you in the streets and know302


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2that you are a local like themselves. Then they become moreforthcoming.” They have plans for staying in the area, but willthen carefully have to consider what kind of school theirdaughter should go to, as she obviously will belong to aminority group if she starts at school in this area. For themoment they are checking out other alternatives, such as aprivate Rudolph Steiner-school (which is the preference of theartist mother) or the possibility of getting her into a nynorskclass411 at Sagene school (which is the preference of the fatherwhose family owns a cottage in Telemark). “However, thechoice of remaining here with children implies a choice ofengaging more in the upbringing of children, also politically.One really has to make an effort!” (#434).An artist and mother at 33 that has lived in the area sinceshe moved here as an 18-year old student, describes that sheenjoys that it is “not so Norwegian down here. There are a kindof other standards here than in other parts of the city.” But sheis tired of “grumpy Pakistanis” and “the Muslimmisunderstanding of the Norwegian female role” gets on hernerves: “They lack respect for women.” She finds it difficult towalk around dressed like she wants to, in miniskirt, low cutpants or with a low neckline or smaller tops, and this irritatesher: “This is an annoying aspect of this neighbourhood.” Ingeneral she finds it strange that there are few femaleimmigrants to see in the area. “They can’t speak the languageand they seem not to be allowed to go out.” The only place shemeets them is in the basement-laundry. At this point in theinterview, the informant points out of her window to theplayground at R. Nilsens plass: “Look for yourself, there isonly boys out playing ball. This city has no social arenas for411 Nynorsk (New Norwegian) is one of the two official written Norwegian languages: Bokmål (which is closerto the spoken dialects in eastern Norway) and nynorsk (which is closer to the spoken dialects in western andalso inner southern parts of Norway such as Telemark) are officially equal. All textbooks in primary,secondary and upper secondary school and all public forms and brochures are printed in both of the writtenlanguages. From secondary school all Norwegian pupils are taught and have a Norwegian written exam in theirsecondary written Norwegian language (“sidemål”) as well as all their other teaching and exams in their mainwritten Norwegian language (“hovedmål”). Pupils with other ethnic or language origin than Norwegian areusually excused from having to learn a secondary written Norwegian language.Today Approximately 10-12%of Norwegians use nynorsk as their main written language. The relatively recently established nynorsk-schoolclasses in Oslo are open to and sought by children from homes where dialects close to nynorsk are spoken aswell as by children from homes where dialects closer to bokmål are spoken. The nynorsk-classes in Oslo easthave been much debated: Some see the nynorsk-classes as a way of establishing ethnically “purely”Norwegian classes in a social diverse areas. Others see the nynorsk classes as a way of providing children froma language-minority in Oslo (nynorsk) with an equal opportunity for education, as well as a way of promotingthe minority language. Anyhow – according to the discussions in the local newspaper Aften, the level ofeducation among the parents of the so far exclusively ethnic Norwegian pupils of the nynorsk-classes atSagene school in Grünerløkka seem to be quite above the average in Oslo.303


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2immigrant girls.” She also maintains that immigrants are wellrepresented amongst certain groups of people who “don’t lookafter their children, don’t take notice of what happens outsidetheir home, don’t attend parent-teacher meetings or otherplaces where they may get an idea of how life works for theirchildren”. “To a certain degree I support forced education forimmigrant parents.” Her daughter is still too young for school,but when the time comes, she will look for alternatives to thelocal public school, “as I want my daughter to be able to findlikeminded girlfriends and also to be able to dress as she likeswhen she grows older” (#435).The tendency to shop for other alternatives than sending their children to thelocal school (as reflected in a number of interviews with Norwegian as wellas with a Latin American and a Pakistani family at Grønland) can indicatethat there’s less focus on local attachment and neighbourhood boundaries inthis area, in contrast to for instance at Furuset (where the pupils that haveNorwegian as their native language also are in minority).A 15-year old secondary school pupil lives with her mother atGrønland, sometimes the brother also stays with them. Thefather is dead. Her parents were born and raised in Pakistan,the mother arrived in Norway 17-years ago. They moved intothe building they live in a few years later (the building was newat the time), just after the father had died. They usually buyfood from Turkish shops in the area; her mother buys hereclothes in Pakistani textile-shops, while she herself buysregular “Norwegian” clothes at the shopping mall Oslo City.After school she often goes for a kebab or visits McDonaldswith friends, when they can afford it, they go to Peppes Pizza.Usually she meets her friends at school, and they also spendtime there after classes for organized homework assistance(“Leksehjelpen”). Her best friend lives in the same buildingand staircase, and both of them have lived here equally long.Once in a while the two of them, and some other girls fromschool, borrow a classroom at school and go dancing. Sheloves dancing. During the interview she shows the interviewersan album with wedding costumes. She has many relatives inNorway, but mostly they socialize with a family that lives twoblocks away. She and her mother often go to parties –especially to weddings. Such parties are mostly set to holidays.For vacations they usually travel to see family members in304


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2Europe. She and her mother say hello to the neighbours, andoccasionally they talk with some of them. There is oneNorwegian woman in the building – the informant has visitedher home several times, and this woman has also been toparties at their home. She uses the backyards a lot, for pingpong,barbequing, for walking around and meeting people for achat. Grønland is a central and nice place to live. Her motherwas raised in a village and believes that it is not so good forchildren to grow up in the city. “It is calmer outside the city”.Therefore her mother thought about moving out of theGrønland/Tøyen-area when her father died. But she decided tostay – “it is nice, safe and convenient to have everythingnearby”. Both she and her mother are very content with therecent changes in the area – the upgrading, new nice buildings,general refurbishment – “it looks much better”. She enjoyswalking in Tøyenparken in the summer with all the flowers andthe running water. She has been to Frognerparken a few timeswith her family. She avoids passing by a Tamil shop, “the menhanging out at the outside always stare at her. And besides, thefood there is no good” (#609).It may seem as if the proximity to both likeminded friends and places to meetlikeminded acquaintances such as colleagues (as described by Norwegianinformants) and relatives or people of the same ethnic origin (as described byimmigrant informants) produce patterns of parallel local worlds at Grønland,in contrast to at Furuset where the informants describe patterns of bothparallel lives related to using larger parts of the urban landscape and theexistence of many more interfaces for social contact and interaction in thelocal neighbourhood.Furuset: interaction and confrontations, organized voluntary work, sports and play, urbanrecreation in other parts of the cityAlso informants from Furuset describe a situation where their neighbourhoodis “at the point of tipping over” because of emerging practice patterns thatdisintegrate appreciated neighbourhood values. At Furuset these tendenciesare in particular related to socio-demographic developments in the denserhigh-rise building part of Furuset. In contrast to Grünerløkka, where thedisliked homogenization is related to socio-spatial practices that territorializepublic space by squeezing out other groups and practices, the problems atFuruset are described to be fragmentation and disintegration of localcommunal engagement: While the problematic situation at Grünerløkka isdescribed as a battle over a territory, the problematic situation at Furuset is305


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2described as an accumulation of inhabitants that lack both incentives ormotivation and resources or culture for taking care of the neighbourhood: 412A 17-year old upper secondary school pupil with Moroccanparents lives in a 5-room apartment close to Furuset senter withher parents, three brothers and for the moment also an uncle(the apartment had originally four rooms, but they had to putup an extra wall when the uncle moved in). They usually shopat Turkish and Moroccan shops near Gunerius shopping centreat Grønland, but once or twice a month they go to Sweden bycar to buy large quantities of cheap halal-meat. Until threeyears ago they lived at Tøyen, but the neighbourhood wasgetting worse. There were mostly Pakistanis there, but thenSomali refugees came into the neighbourhood. They wereaccommodated in municipal apartments and made a lot ofnoise and trouble. Some of them even had cockroaches in thebuilding. She says that another troublesome feature was thattheir neighbours didn’t care about outdoor areas or about thehall and backyard of the buildings they lived in. When movinghere they had wanted to get out of the city centre. She hadheard people saying that Tøyen was a dangerous area and thatthere have been several killings there, though she herselfexplains that she back then didn’t see as much as a drunkard.The size of the apartment and the prize were the mostimportant factors when they moved here; the apartment atTøyen (3-rooms) was sold for 1,5 million and the newapartment at Furuset was bought for only 900,000. Now thatthey have refurbished it for 200,000 they believe they wouldhave gotten 1,3 million for it was sold today, and they haveonly 20,000 left to pay on the loan. They have a vacation homein Morocco and they are planning to buy a second house there.She really hopes they will be able to buy a larger place atFuruset soon, preferably a house, and move away from thisbuilding but still remain in the area. Her youngest brothershave got lots of friends through school and they spend much412 I have not checked out whether or not this is either a statistic tendency and/or if it can be related publicpolicies. The main issue here though is that the informants believe the situation to be as it is. If the informantsare right in their descriptions of a municipality that systematic acquire apartments for social housing in thisarea (at the same time as they sell out municipal housing in central areas like at Grønland and Grünerløkka),the result will not only be an accumulation of deprived people and their problems, but also of inhabitantsbelonging to, as we have seen, “layer 3” (imposed permanent) and “layer 4” (imposed transit). Theneighboring practices of such inhabitants are not based on a conscious choice to live or stay in the area,therefore many of them lack motivation for investing time and resources for integrating into theneighbourhood.306


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2time playing outside. They’ve got more new friends in a fewmonths here at Furuset than they did in many years at Tøyen.Her elder brother plays soccer with some neighbours. Herfather knows a few of the neighbours as well, and some ofthem come to visit them at home. She doesn’t know anyneighbours herself, as she is works in a flower shop every dayafter school. She is not used to spending time outside thebuildings, and she doesn’t play soccer as her brothers do (“I’ma girl, you know”), but she likes to go for walks in the area,often with her mother. On Saturdays she goes to a regionalshopping center with friends – either at Metro, Triaden orSandvika. “It is nice to live here,” she says; “the surroundingsare green and beautiful, and we have everything we need in theimmediate surroundings: We have a doctor and a socialsecurity office, shops, and the swimming pool is open even onSundays. There is a health center, a gym, and we havePostbanken and the pharmacy. (…) But it would have beenbetter if there were some kind of restrictions placed on howmany of us, that is immigrants, that could live in the samebuilding. It would have been nicer to live here if it was a betterbalance between Norwegians and immigrants. 50/50 would beperfect.” At the moment there are only two Norwegianhouseholds in their apartment building: one couple that is veryold and the others are drug addicts. “We would really like tolive with more Norwegians. (…) It may sound silly, but manyimmigrants don’t care about the housing cooperative and“dugnader”, and here there are not enough Norwegians toorganize us. (…) We do greet each other in the building, butwe don’t like the strong smell when the Pakistanis preparefood. Rumors say that a large Somali family is going to movein next door, and we don’t like to live that close to them. I havealways kept away from Somalis. It seems as if the differencesare to large to even have some kind of a starting pointtogether.” Almost everyone they know has moved out fromTøyen. “The development there was not good. There werechildren peeing in the backyards and the stairways, stealingeach others food. It is really difficult to live in a housingcooperative with shared responsibility when people are sodifferent” (#207).In contrast to at Grønland and Grünerløkka, where the repertoires of localneighbourhood encounter situations are described as more related to hasty307


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2encounters in public open space or related to shopping or entertainment, thedescribed neighbourhood activities at Furuset are oriented towards sports andplay, organized leisure activities (for children), and participation in voluntaryorganizational work or organized neighbourhood arrangements (for adults).In addition to described social distinctions between likeminded friends andacquaintances versus other strangers, many informants from Furuset alsodescribe social distinctions between those with shared interests – i.e. thosewho participate in organized neighbourhood activities – and those who don’t.In the interviews from Furuset the informants to a larger extent than in theother study areas differentiate between what kind of people they socializewith in different ways and in different places: there are likemindedacquaintances (for instance colleagues), acquaintances with shared interests(such as neighbours and co-parents related to children’s school or leisureactivities) and family and friends (which one discusses private and personalmatters with):A school teacher at 48 living with her husband and a grown updaughter says that she likes it here, they have friends and asocial network, the house is nice and well-situated close toMarka. Her family has owned this house since 1925, theirannual Christmas party is a neighbourhood tradition, and thewhole family is engaged in the residents’ association (“FurusetVel”), in organizing “dugnader”, social activities for themembers, meetings related to neighbourhood issues, etc. “Mostof the members of Furuset Vel come from this part of the areathat has row houses and single family houses. There are notthat many immigrants in Furuset Vel, and only a few membersfrom the high-rise buildings down at Furuset senter.” Theinformant describes that many immigrant women in the arealack a Norwegian social network; “they don’t speak Norwegianand they don’t participate in parent-teacher meetings ororganized neighbourhood activities – and they are the onesresponsible for the children’s upbringing!” She has beenworried about ghetto-tendencies lately. She feels that Furusetneeds a greater balance between Norwegians and immigrants.At Gran school the percentage of Norwegian children is muchtoo low – less than 10%. “Immigrants in the area are even moreconcerned about this than what we are”. Gransdalen (the denserhousing area at Furuset senter) is a “too dense housingmachine”, after her opinion, and “neither is it such a good ideato cluster that many social housing units as it implies clusteringsocial problems – particularly lately when so many traumatized308


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2refugees have been accommodated in the area.” The fewimmigrants in her own neighbourhood are described asdifferent though: most of them are characterized as “rather wellintegrated people that participate in “dugnader”, the partiesorganized by Furuset Vel and other neighbourhood activities,such as the “Sentergata” resistance-action recently” (#425).A secondary school teacher at 46 has lived at Furuset since1982. She doesn’t socialize much with neighbours, she says,and no more than once a year does she invite the neighbournext door for coffee. Those she knows at Furuset are familiesthat she has been acquainted with through her involvementwith the children’s marching band, but they don’t talk muchabout private matters. The youngest 14-year old daughter usesthe close surroundings a lot, as also their sons did when theywere younger. The family uses the garden and goes for walksin the neighbourhood and in Lillomarka. They meet with quitemany old friends and relatives in each others’ homes, she ismember of a sewing circle, and occasionally they go out to eatdowntown. She really appreciates the diversity of people atFuruset, although she knows that her two sons had problemswith immigrant juveniles when they grew up. They also hadlots of immigrant friends – much more than what her youngestdaughter currently has. “This is due to gender differences inimmigrant families,” she says. Her sons used to take theirimmigrant friends home, while they hardly ever were invited toimmigrant homes. One of her sons was at one point the onlyone in his class of Norwegian origin. As of today a lot of hersons’ immigrant friends have drifted away, and the friends theystill have at Furuset are of Norwegian origin. “But today I thinkthey both appreciate the social ballast they got from thepositive experiences as well as from having had to deal withsuch differences and conflicts throughout their upbringing.”She has not got any immigrant friends herself. She perceives ofher own family as “a bit isolated from our own culture group”;they have got their own family and friends and stick to them,“just like immigrant families in general are accused of”, sheadds with a smile. She strongly feels that it is a publicresponsibility to arrange for more activities to integrateimmigrant children and to prevent problems – especially thereis a need for more organized activities for those who do nottake part in traditional activities like sports, marching bands,etc. In the last five years more immigrant families have moved309


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2into the part of the area that has single-family houses. Extendedimmigrant families move with the whole extended family intoone house. The house is then often expanded in ways that canbe described as “unusual in a Norwegian setting”. They alsooften rent out parts of the house. In general these houses thenconsist of more inhabitants than similar houses withNorwegians. There is also a lot of traffic to some of theimmigrant houses, as they tend to become gathering places.Both the traffic and the music at times challenge her tolerance.“At a recent public viewing in a nearby single family house,there were only immigrants that showed up” (#424).A philologist in his fifties has lived at Furuset with hisfamily since early 1980s. He goes for walks at Furuset, bikingor skiing in Lillomarka, is an enthusiastic runner, and both heand his youngest daughter play handball at Furuset. He alsoenjoys going for walks in the urban streets of Oslo.Occasionally they go downtown to eat out, for movies ortheater. He is a member of the residents association (FurusetVel), the local sports club (handball) and a “garden club”, buthe says that he rarely participates in local meetings orarrangements, except those related to handball, and the partiesarranged by Furuset Vel. In the summertime they often inviteneighbours to barbecue in the garden. He also meets lots ofpeople he knows when he goes for walks or works in thegarden. He appreciates to live in a place with social diversity:“The social diversity increases the tolerance in the area, andthis is a benefit to all of us. It becomes much easier to do asone desires without worrying about standing out.” Most of thehouses for sale in this area are now sold to immigrants. “Theseare immigrant families that are settled in Norway looking forlarge houses for their extended families.” He himself does nothave much personal contact with immigrants, though he knowssome immigrant neighbours and parents (both by name andnationality). They have a nodding acquaintance, but also oftenexchange a few words when they meet. It also happens thatthey discuss each other’s garden projects or neighbourhoodissues such as the “Sentergata action”, but they rarely go intolong conversations about private or personal matters. Howeverhis children have many immigrant friends, and they often bringtheir friends home. He knows that a lot of problems at Furusetare said to be related to immigrants, but he has never had any310


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2negative experiences himself, and neither have any of hischildren (#427).At Furuset the informants also describe minor everyday confrontationsrelated to otherness as an integrated part of their everyday life in theneighbourhood:A Pakistani housewife at 30 came to Norway in 1997. Herhusband was also born in Pakistan, but raised in Norway. Theymoved here three years ago; “the moment we saw this nicesemi-attached house for sale, we wanted it”. She didn’t likeFuruset at first, only this neighbourhood which is nice andcalm. Also the neighbours appear to be agreeable, so living atFuruset turned out to be much better than she had expected.She regularly sees a group of Pakistani neighbours. They meetin each other’s homes, but she has also got acquainted to manyof the Norwegian neighbours. Some of them does complainthough that she plays too loud music when she’s alone at homeat daytime. Those who complain are Norwegians, and since shebelieves they do so only because they dislike Pakistani music(and not because it’s too loud), she ignores the complaints: “Idon’t exactly approve of their music taste either, but they arenice and friendly neighbours – even when they grumble aboutmy music.” She shops basic groceries at Furuset senter, buttheir main shopping is done at Pakistani shops at Grønland.She attends a Norwegian language-class at Furuset church. Inthe summertime she goes for daily walks in the neighbourhood,but stays more indoors in the wintertime as she is afraid offalling on the icy walking trails. Sometimes they visit parksdowntown, but mostly they spend time in their own garden. “Ireally miss places to go and have fun with friends and myhusband around here” (#429).The repertoire of neighbourhood encounter situations at Furuset take place inopen outdoor spaces that are functionally specialized and also spatiallysegregated in terms of social categories of users. In contrast to the system ofoutdoor spaces at Grønland and Grünerløkka, the satellite towns do in generallack functionally integrated spaces for dense, non-obligating co-presence ofdifferent social categories of users: By functionally integrated spaces Ispecifically think of spaces that serve different categories of users havingdifferent reasons for taking them into use; and by social categories of users Ihave in mind both local and regional users, different age groups, etc. An311


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2illustrating Example is the use of benches in common or public areas. AtFuruset quite many benches can be found in the common green areas, in thesame way as in the public parks at Grünerløkka. While any stranger passingthrough a public park at Grünerløakka could if he or she feels for it sit downon a bench or lie down at the grass without feeling any unease about thesituation . At Furuset, however, the situation is a bit different: here thebenches and lawns, overlooked as they are by the numerous apartmentbuildings, are spatially segregated from strangers passing by. Therefore theonly people that use the benches one can find for instance in the commonplaygrounds are most likely neighbours. Furthermore they all probably havesome kind of familiarity both with each others children and most of the otherchildren that are out playing. (To sit at a bench without having a child towatch may even be seen as suspicious.) Such a setting produces a quite densesocio-spatial situation. To ease the sense of confrontation many may feelforced to interact, or at least to say something on a harmless topic. Suchdense socio-spatial situations may of course also, as intended by thearchitects that have planned situation, be perceived as a an opportunity tointeract: As described in the previous chapter, the functional specialization ofthe different outdoor spaces in the architectural system of the satellite townsis a result of conscious strategies for optimizing the socio-spatialfunctionality for different kinds of clearly defined socio-spatial situations ona singular basis. The loss of spatial and functional integration then can beseen both as a side effect or a result of a deliberate choice. The functional andspatial segregation implies, no matter whether they are perceived as dense ina “nice and close” or a “too sticky” manner, a lack of socio-spatial situationsfor dense non-confronting co-presence between different kinds of users of theneighbourhood, such as can be found in the architectural system at Grønlandand Grünerløkka.312


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2SUMMARY REMARKS TO CHAPTER 6The analyses of the interview material show patterns in socio-spatialpractices related to sets of dispositions and to differences between the threestudy areas. Both in the three layers of dispositions and in the three studyareas clear variations were found in the informants’ descriptions of everydaypractices. Furthermore, close examination of each of the layers (though theywere set up and defined as quite broad categories) made it possible todiscover quite detailed and nuanced socio-spatial practices and dynamics inall three areas. In many ways the specificities and differences in and betweenthe three layers were confirmed by way of close readings and analysis at thelevel of study areas: though many variations were found within each practicelayer, the practice patterns of each layer, when compared to each other, stoodout as clear and distinct. Some of the practice patterns actually stood out asmore distinct than expected.The descriptions of layer two are the ones that are most distinct when itcomes to describing priorities, qualities and experiences related toinvolvement and engagement in the neighbourhood. This has as its obviouscause that the informants of this layer deliberately have chosen to live in aspecific neighbourhood due to the opportunities the area is perceived to havein regards of life conduct preferences. The informants see themselves livingin the area for quite some time and have, through involvement in theneighbourhood, gained experiences of pros and cons regarding howenvironmental specific qualities match their preferences for certain ways oflife. In contrast, the informants from layer one lack both the time spanperspectiveof wanting to stay in an area and related life conduct preferences.More time-specific life style preferences stand out as the overall priority oflayer one. When it comes to the informants from layer three, their choices ofliving area are less deliberate and in a much lesser extent related to specificlife conduct preferences. They live where they do, however ‘forced’ oraccidental this may be, and try to make the best out of the situation. When itcomes to architectural qualities and characteristics the informants’descriptions (and this especially goes for layer two) are related to thefollowing interrelated main features: Architectural and environmental characteristics play animportant role in people’s decision of where to live and why.Architectural features are important in different ways. Oneaspect is related to ‘pure’ aesthetical judgments and preferences.A second aspect is related to in what way architectural qualitiesin broad are seen as providing possibilities (and constraints) for313


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2certain ways of life (in terms of general life conduct or morespecific life style preferences). Thus we have seen thatarchitecture also plays an important role in processes of identityformation and social distinction. Specific architecturalenvironments are often associated with specific social groups,features or problems. Aesthetical and functional environmentalqualities are prescribed importance not only in terms ofdeciding where to live, but also in perceptions and evaluationsof a range of likes and dislikes, possibilities and constraints,within the different neighbourhoods – all in relation to lifeconduct and life style preferences. Patterns of priorities, reflecting individual preferences /dispositions as they do, bring about practice patterns that (tosome extent) are related to differences in architecture.Differences in architecture influence or affect people’sconsiderations of what possibilities the environments providefor specific purposes and conducts of life. This again isreflected in socio-spatial practices and rhythms in the threestudy areas: Groups of informants with related preferences andpriorities settle in urban neighborhoods that provide them withurban life qualities they value, such as street life, park life and arich mixture of shops and cafés. Some of these qualities, if notfound in the area where one lives, can be sough out elsewhere inthe city (for instance public street life), others are more relatedto the vicinity of where one lives (for instance morecommunity-based social functions, direct access to publicspaces or recreational facilities such as ‘Marka’). As reflected in the interview material, area- or neighbourhoodspecificdifferences in practice patterns are, in manifold andvarious ways, related to architectural characteristics. Inaddition to the role and impact that architectural characteristicshave when people make choices of where to live and for whatpurpose, differences and characteristics related to more recentand ongoing processes of transformation can be of importance.An illustrating example in that respect is the way that newsocio-spatial practice patterns play up against historical featuresand characteristics, as seen in the iconographical analysis inchapter five. Of equal importance is the way that architecturalcharacteristics of a neighbourhood, designed as they are for aset of public, semi-public and private meeting situations (cf. the314


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y P A R T 2analysis of architectural systems in chapter four), impact uponwhat kind of experiences (in terms of a broad range of socialpractices and interactions) people are exposed to in the differentneighborhoods.Socio-spatial practice patterns are closely related to the sets of experiencesand social meeting situations – for instance the degree of interaction with andco-presence of neighbors and strangers – that find place in the differentneighborhoods. As such many of people’s perceptions and expectations haveclose affinity to practices and experiences at the level of the localneighbourhood. Much of this again relates to and depends upon individualmotivation for and willingness to invest time and resources in integrating intothe neighbourhood. As such the empirical analysis gives strong indicationsthat the patterns of differences in both practices, perceptions and expectationsand architectural environments are dynamic and closely interrelated.Differences in perceptions and experiences are to a large extent founded onarea-specific characteristics in architecture (cf. Lefebvre’s concept ‘spaces ofrepresentation’ and its reference to lived experiences of space throughassociated images and symbols).315


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R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y – C O N C L U D I N G R E F L E C T I O N SZooming outWhat follows is concluding reflections on my endeavours to describe andanalyze socio-architectural interplay, by way of two different part studies:- Theoretical investigations of analytic approaches to various aspectsof socio-architectural interplay, and discussions of how they can becombined (in part 1), and- Empirical investigations of socio-architectural patterns and theirinterrelatedness in three study areas (in part 2).In the following I will discuss my findings related to both of the two partstudies with a focus on the following issues:a) Explanatory shortcomings for understanding socio-architecturalinterplay by way of a structural-morphological approach forinvestigating the city as systems and structures of architecturalforms, and a discussion of methodological modifications that weremade and its most immediate analytical outcomes.b) Analytic contributions from challenging structural-morphologicalapproaches by the use of post-structural perspectives on differencesand complex interplay, and a discussion of shortcomings related toefforts of applying analytical theories directly on empirical material.c) How the inspiration from Lefebvre’s rhythm-analytic mode ofanalysis helped me to organize analyses of complex and dynamicinterrelations, and a discussion of limitations related to seeingrhythmanalysis as a method for empirical investigation.d) Architectural affect and the concept of social “space” as discussedby Lefebvre and Bourdieu, and reflections on explanatoryshortcomings in Bourdieu’s method for analyzing social spaceproduction in settings of urban socio-spatial practices.e) Explanatory contributions and limitations of Bourdieu’s concepthabitus and Lefebvre’s concept spaces of representation when itcomes to analyzing patterns in neighbourhood practices.f) End remarks317


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y – C O N C L U D I N G R E F L E C T I O N Sa) On seeing the city as systems and structures of architectural formsAs described in the introductory “zooming in”-chapter, my point of departureto urban analyses and investigations of processes of socio-architecturalinterplay is the tradition of architectural analyses of urban dynamics. I comefrom an academic tradition of urban analyses in which the city, urbanlandscapes and its transformations are investigated through structural andmorphological analyses of urban architecture. 413 In general, the structuralfocus on logics and orderliness implies that issues related to individualchoices, variations and dynamics of differences and distinctions are left out.In my search for ways to expand or combine such perspectives with otherapproaches for analyzing aspects of socio-architectural interplay, I’vedeliberately tried to challenge my structural starting point by way ofscrutinizing post-structural theoretical perspectives on issues of complexinterplay, as well as through examining related theories on social spaceproduction (cf. part 1). I will therefore start these concluding reflections withthe methodological modifications I found it necessary to outline in order tomake a Rossi-related approach work in an investigation of processes ofsocio-architectural interplay, and, related to this, sketch out the mostimmediate outcomes of such an effort.Both the explanatory potential and the most central shortcomings of a Rossibasedperspective on investigating socio-architectural interrelations relate,as I see it, to the structural-morphological focus on systems, logics andorders:As discussed earlier, issues related to individual choices are in general notincluded in structural or morphological investigations or urban architecture.In order to investigate current processes of socio-architectural interplay, acentral issue in this thesis has been how aspects of architecture in differentways can be empirically analyzed as variables in such an interplay: as aproduct of, a precondition for, and/or an agent in socio-spatial partcises ofeveryday life. In such a perspective variations in individual choices – bothunderstood as variations affecting individual choices as well as variations inmanifestations of such choices – has become a central topic. My perspectivehas therefore been that investigations of socio-architectural interplay incomplex and dynamic urban environments must necessarily take into accountthat:A. Individual choices are based on judgements of differences that affectdispositions in concrete situations. The concrete socio-spatialsituations in which individual choices take place also modulate therange of choices and actions that can be made.413 Developed from discussions summarized in Aldo Rossi’s The Architecture of the City (1984).318


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y – C O N C L U D I N G R E F L E C T I O N SB. Variations in individual choices and actions produce multiplepatterns in architecture as well as in social practices – withoutnecessarily producing a new morphological system. Diachronicmorphological analyses of architectural transformation has a focuson relational orders in how the production of new architecturalpatterns relate to systems and patterns in the existing architecturalstructure, as well focusing on relational systematic orders within thenew morphological patterns that are produced. An investigation ofmanifestations of variations in individual choices must necessarilyfocus on architectural incremental changes on a level of detail thatactually can be affected and challenged by individuals.As discussed in part 1, these two insights led me to think throughmethodological modifications 414 related to how to pursue the architecturalanalyses in chapter 4 and 5. This also affected the outcomes of myarchitectural analyses in combination with the inquiries I carried out inchapter 6. In the following I will distinguish between “A” as related topatterns in architecture seen as a precondition for, and an agent in, variationsin socio-spatial practices of everyday life, and “B” as related to patterns inarchitectural transformation seen as products of dynamics in socio-spatialpractices of everyday life. Both A and B are just different aspects ofconceptualizing the interplay, any variation in A is necessarily initiallyproduced as variations in B.A: Inspired by my discussions of Lefebvre and Bourdieu (chapter 2), thediachronic architectural analyses of morphological and structuralcharacteristics of the three study areas in the urban landscape of Oslo(chapter 4), was designed to focus on relational orders in aspects ofarchitecture that could be said to modulate socio-spatial practices in differentways:1) The spatial organisation of morphological systems as well asstructural elements affecting issues of “centrality” representarchitecture-related differences that modulate the potentialrepertoires of encounter situations, rhythms of socio-spatialpractices and experiences that users and inhabitants in the threestudy areas are exposed to – either they are consciously choosen ornot.2) Architectural elements and systems can be seen as carriers of acollective memory and be ascribed symbolic value by theirrelatedness to historical patterns in socio-spatial practices that can be414 Methodological modifications in relation to both Rossi and the Rossi-based methodological developments Iwas (academically) brought up with.319


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y – C O N C L U D I N G R E F L E C T I O N Sassociated with certain ways or life or certain life styles. Asdiscussed in chapter 3, issues of meaning related to transformingarchitectural landscapes are thus not be seen as fixed or determined.By seeing the urban architectural structure as a cultural structure(like language), meanings are produced by association and contrastin complex relational patterns. Architectural systems as well aspatterns in uses of architectural means for expressing meaning areboth variables in such relational patterns.B: In studies of typological, morphological and structural transformation ofurban architecture, architectural patterns of permanence and transformationare investigated in relation to societal change and developments in ways oflife.Sometimes one investigates how more or less gradual replacements ofarchitectural elements within a delimited area transforms the localmorphological system over time. 415At other times one investigates how the successive development of newareas in the urban landscape represents an evolution of morphologicalsystems that can be related to transformation of theoretical architecturalmodels (i.e. systems of ideals of how to accommodate for specific kinds ofurban social life). 416In both cases can the transition from one morphological system to anotherbe related to major changes in societal development as well as to changes inregimes in urban development. In order to grasp transformations inarchitectural patterns that develop within or in between such more majorshifts, it was necessary to find a way of including analyses of changes inarchitectural patterns on a micro level:On one side a level that is detailed enough to capture how various patternsin architectural modifications related to different individual initiatives candevelop within the limitations set by the environmental structure and buildingregulations.On the other side a level of detail that can capture elements of noteworthyqualitative developments in architectural systems such as morphological and415 The urban structure of Oslo is from early 19 th century and onwards mainly developed by patterns ofconcentric growth. The ongoing, more dramatic reconfiguration of central urban areas is a relatively newphenomenon, and, as in many other European cities, it is related to structural changes in the aftermath of deindustrialization.Most buildings within the urban landscape of Oslo are 1 st or 2 nd generation buildings at theactual plot. It is only in a few areas – i.e. inside the urban walls of the renaissance city, along the old trafficarteries from the periphery to the old urban wall, and in relation to a few old nodes – that has had more than 3or 4 generations of buildings. This implies that to investigate gradual morphological transformation withindelimited geographical areas only can done in quite limited parts of Oslo.416 Cf. Panerai et al.’s analysis of the evolution of architectural models in the European architectural discourseexemplified in their examination of 5 major projects of urban expansion in the period from 1850 to 1950(Panerai 1974). The concentric growth pattern of the urban landscape of Oslo, produced by distinct periods ofdevelopment and stagnation between 1850 and 1980, makes Oslo a very suitable case for such investigations.320


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y – C O N C L U D I N G R E F L E C T I O N Siconographical aspects of public streetscapes and its related commercialspaces (home decoration and refurbishment of private apartments are thus notincluded my analysis here).By maintaining a structural-morphological focus on relational orders andsystems, the implication is that one must investigate how observable newmicro-architectural patterns relate to previously existing architecturalpatterns, systems and structural elements, as well as investigate how theyrelate to variations in emerging socio-spatial practices.The analyses of recently developed micro-morphological andiconographical patterns (chapter 5) shows a greater multiplicity in patternsthan what’s usual to find in analyses on the level of morphological systems.These analyses of multiple patterns also reveal interplay between the variousnewly produced patterns, at the same time as we can see how the newpatterns play up against possibilities and constraints given by the localarchitectural system as well as relational dynamics between patterns ofdifferences in the existing architectural structure (chapter 4).b) Spatial dialectics empirically observed and in theoryCentral issues in the post-structural critique of structuralism and of greatmodern theories in general, are their explanatory limitations related tounderstanding interplay, complex dynamics of differences, multiplicity andotherness, as well as interrelations between individual spaces of action andstructural boundaries. In my search for an approach to understand socioarchitecturalinterplay I found the analytic perspectives of Deleuze &Guattari, De Certeau and Lefebvre clarifying. Their discussions of how allsocieties or processes of societal development must be seen as related todynamic interplay between different kinds and aspects of human territorialagency, were particular useful for developing an understanding of thelimitations of a structural-morphological approach.By the use of synthesising theoretical discussions these theorists elucidatehow such dialectical patterns develop and also how different aspects anddimensions of social and spatial production are interrelated. In thesetheoretical discussions the term “spatial” refers to a power- and practicerelatedfeature that is not directly related to, nor in no way limited to,concrete aspects of architectural space. All the mentioned theorists make useof pairs of metaphorical concepts in order to elucidate interrelations betweendifferent elements of the dialectics they have set out to describe. Their pairsof metaphorical concepts – Nomad vs State, Tactics vs Strategies, Spaces ofrepresentation vs Representations of space, etc. – are all used to describeuneven power-relations, as elements of a political critique of capitalism, statepolitics or the reductionist practice of professional actors in urban and spatialdevelopment.321


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y – C O N C L U D I N G R E F L E C T I O N SIn general architectural production can be related to a superior position ina power relation: politically, economically and professionally (for instanceconceptually, in terms of hegemonic ideas or ideals). When new patterns inarchitectural production emerge, they can therefore be seen as physicalmanifestations of dynamics in societal power relations. As we have seen inchapter 5, the morphological characteristics of each of the successivelyproduced architectural systems in Oslo can be interpreted as strategic meansfor societal and economical development in specific urban contexts. Bothdynamics in societal power-relations and their architectural manifestationsaffect local conditions of everyday life. Therefore pairs of metaphoricalconcepts as the ones mentioned above may easily be associated with tensionsbetween social space production and architectural production of space. Thisalso goes for the theoreticians themselves, especially when they touch uponissues of architectural production: most explicitly by De Certeau (architectureseen as spatial strategies vs the tactics of the individual walker in the city)and Lefebvre (in his critique of urban planning and architecture 417 ), and moreimplicitly by Deleuze and Guattari (the State engineers its space while theNomad operates tactically, creating more dynamic networks). 418 Thusarchitecture can be seen as an obvious manifestation of power that has severeaffect on the everyday life of urban inhabitants. However, this is only one outof many aspects of socio-architectural interplay at stake: To see patterns inarchitectural production as pure representations of power easily blurs insightsinto other aspects of dynamics and complexities in socio-architecturalinterrelations.All the abovementioned theoretical texts are clearly political, and theexamples addressing issues of urban development reflect the political debateat the time and place when the different texts were produced (i.e. Paris in the1960s and 1970s). Furtheremore thses are texts of a philosophical kind and,at the same time as they contain unambiguous criticism of prevailing powerstructures, they have an overall focus on complex social dynamics. Sincenone of these theorists were architects, though, it comes as no surprise thattheir discussions of in what way architectural characteristics and qualitiesplays a part in societal development, were fairly rudimentary andunderdeveloped. Furthermore, none of them can be said to operate on anempirical level of investigation, not even when dealing with social issues. Assuch their theories are not empirically based, but more abstract, analytictheories on how society is constituted and should be understood in itsentirety. To the extent issues of architecture and urban planning are dealt417 Most explicit in Urban Revolution and Right to the city.418 Within urban sociology and geography there are numerous examples to be found of similar kinds of socialcritique of urban development, a critique that is based on related pairs of metaphorical concepts in whicharchitecture most often is conceptualized as territorial strategies that strangle the richness of everyday sociallife.322


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y – C O N C L U D I N G R E F L E C T I O N Swith, the overall focus is on architectural production construed as bothrepresentation of and misuse of power.All of the mentioned theorists are excellent rhetoricians that make use ofconvincing and inspiring new metaphors. The metaphors are often of anabstract kind, and as such they contain a rich register of association, withoutobstructing the capacity of conveying a clear political message. Urbanresearchers today often reference central texts of these authors – or moreoften the metaphors they used – in order to legitimatize critical urbananalysis: One example of this is much of the criticism of architecturalproduction in the third phase of gentrification wherein forces of capital bringabout both a de-territorialization of urban inhabitants and homogenization ofcentral city areas. Another example is descriptions of nomadism andrhizomatic growth related to analyses of globalized patterns in socio-culturalurban practices.A main point of view in my own work is however that the theoreticalperspectives of Lefebvre and others represent an analytical potential forexamining socio-architectural urban dynamics in a way that transcends theendeavors of creating simple analogies to their metaphors or torepresentations of architectural power today and at the time of the Frenchtheorists. Their overall focus was forces of power and counter-power. Just asseverely critical they were of the power situation at the time, they expressedgreat optimism on behalf of the forces of change and revolutionary potentialthat the forces of counter-power represented. Though in abstract andmetaphorical manners, all of the theorists also demonstrate in what wayspatterns of dispositions produce patterns of practices that are related toproducts of practices in former times. As such they emphasize the importanceof conceptualizing that patterns of dynamic change are interrelated, eventhough thinking in categories makes it difficult to conceptualizeinterrelatedness.In the analysis of the empirical material numerous examples show that newkinds of socio-spatial patterns have developed within Oslo’s urban landscape,bringing about considerable change in the function, role and image of urbanneighbourhoods and areas. All such changes involve spatial adaptation andspecialization towards the desires of specific groups of users and inhabitants,often at the expense of the desires of other groups, and sometimes even at theexpense of other desires of the same groups. The new observable patterns ofarchitectural production – and the power to territorialize and specializeconstituents of the urban landscape that are embedded into them – can beassociated with what de Certeau calls ‘strategies’ and Deleuze and Guattari‘space striation’. Based on the empirical examinations in chapter 4 and 5 itseems obvious to conclude however, that all such distinct patterns of323


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y – C O N C L U D I N G R E F L E C T I O N Sarchitectural production, although in different ways, have developedgradually and piecemeal. To be more precise they have developed frominterplay of more uncoordinated and incidental individual tactical counterreactionsagainst, or at least as kinds of maneuvering within, more hegemonicpatterns of architectural practices and strategies. The consistency of each newpattern can thus be seen as formed by clarity in patterns of lacks produced bythe power of a previously produced pattern. In other words: the power toproduce a clear environmental pattern over time produces a system ofdiscrepancies which form the basis of a development of relatively clearpatterns in counter-reactions. To take some examples:1. In aftermath the different architectural systems that were developed withinthe concentric growth belts of Oslo’s urban landscape (chapter 4) can be saidto represent specific strategies of urban development and architecturalproduction. Each of these strategies developed gradually from both political,ideological and architectural criticism and reaction against an establishedregime of environmental production. The seeds to the next regime weredeveloped from criticism and counter-reactions against former regimes. Ideasand ideals were formed through international networks and academicdiscourses, and had for decades lurked under the material surface of realizedarchitectural manifestations before they slowly but surely were put in aposition of power to form the next regime.2. In recent years several new large and monumental mosques have been builtin the inner eastern areas of Grønland and Tøyen. This can be seen as amanifestation and consolidation of the increasing important position ofIslamic communities in the urban landscape of Oslo. A mosque can beregarded as an institutionalized pattern of practice. For the many guestworkers coming to Norway from Pakistan and other countries in the 1970sthere were no mosques in a traditional sense that could support their religiouspractice. The urban landscape of Oslo was laid out and programmed for quiteother kinds of socio-cultural practices. As such their religious practice wasde-territorialized, as was probably also many other kinds of social-culturalpractices that many of the guest workers were accustomed to in their countryof origin. The piecemeal development from religious congregation in privatehomes, to the establishment of assembly rooms in abandoned bomb sheltersand the like, and, in recent times, the strategy of constructing distinctivereligious buildings in terms of monumental mosques, with all therecognizable iconographical characteristics of a symbolically loaded Islamicbuilding, can be regarded as a gradual process of re-territorialization. Theprocess is brought to an end in the form of an architectural manifestation of a“space of one’s own” (espace propre produced by a strategy, cf. de Certeau).324


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y – C O N C L U D I N G R E F L E C T I O N S3. The changing architectonic and programmatic patterns in the streetscapesof Grünerløkka (analyzed in chapter 5) can be seen as concretemanifestations of the neighbourhood’s fast moving development into aspecialized regional cluster for urban recreation and shopping. Many of theinformants (cf. chapter 6) describe the development in ways that giveassociations to processes that are ‘homogenizing’ and ‘territorializing’, orprocesses of ‘space striation’, at the expense of urban qualities that, beforethe re-programming set in, were experienced as representative of afunctionally and socially mixed and compound neighbourhood. Thedevelopment towards today’s situation can however be understood as theoutcomes of a whole range of more or less (un)coordinated counter-reactionsagainst developments in the area in the period that stretches from the adventof large scale urban clearance programs in the 1930s to the introduction andimplementation of an urban renewal program in the 1970s and 1980s. Theurban renewal program had come out as a response to great criticism of theurban clearance programs and the many devastating effects it had on the area(for instance in terms of lack of maintenance of buildings and infrastructure).The counter-reaction to the clearance programs was increasingly based on anargumentation related to appreciation and recognition of the many sociospatialqualities that could be found in the characteristic architectural systemof the area. This was a system of public streets and spaces that enabled spatialintegration of both a varied set of businesses and small industries, anddifferent local and regional users: What was emphasized were the qualities ofuse and experience related to an environmental typology that the newarchitectural strategies that were developed throughout 19 th century –stressing the importance of segregating functions of production andreproduction and hierarchal separation between common-private spaces forlocal inhabitants and specialized spaces for regional users – gradually hadmoved away from. Consequently, after many years of criticism andresistance, public policies and strategies gradually changed from urbanclearance to upgrading of the quality of housing and living areas in generaland to preservation of the historical qualities of architectural areasspecifically. Parallel to this a range of urban use patterns and relatedcommercial activities and infrastructures that could not find place withinmore recently developed architectural systems, gradually accumulated in thearea – in relation to use-value limitations in spatial organization of the otherarchitectural systems.4. The new housing projects that in recent years have been built in the fringeareas of Grünerløkka and Grønland are projects that many view asproblematic examples of speculative housing (built as most of them are by325


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y – C O N C L U D I N G R E F L E C T I O N Sprivate real estate developers) that sponge upon and vulgarize the urbanqualities in the area, can be seen as arisen out of a situation that over timehave been generated by individual tactics. When the opposition against theclearance programs came into existence 40 years ago and created a counterpressurethat resulted in a radical change in public strategies, the urbanneighbourhood of Grünerløkka was experiencing dramatic populationdecrease (cf. chapter 5). Since then several thousand million Norwegiankroner of public capital have been invested in upgrading housing andphysical infrastructures in the area, precisely in order to reverse the city’shousing market development from a situation of urban sprawl into a situationin which the more central and compact urban areas (once again) couldbecome attractive living areas. Both massive public investments in the areaand gradual changes in individual patterns of urban use (described above)have over time created a large market for new housing developments underthe auspices of commercial actors. Based on my typological andmorphological analyses (chapter 4 and 5) the problems addressed in thecritique of these projects seems though more related to impetuouscombination of architectural elements from different morphological systems:The series of new urban housing projects in the fringe areas of Grünerløkkaand Grønland consist in general of building types 419 that were invented aselements of an architectural system of freestanding buildings in an openurban landscape. When introduced in areas dominated by a totally differentarchitectural system (traditional urban blocks defining a system of publicaccessible, but spatially more or less closed outdoor spaces), the systematiccontrary use qualities of the new buildings and the surrounding system can besaid to reduce rather than strengthen each other. 420The abovementioned examples can be seen as an argument in a discussion of‘what comes first, the hen or the egg’, i.e. as a discussion of from whichperspective history should be written (or of whether historical developmentbest can be understood in terms of gradual evolution or series of revolutions).More interesting here, though, is what such a kind of altered perspectiveallow us to discover: By seeing manifestations of architectural strategies as419 Point blocks and slab blocks, although the latter more often are described as lamellae buildings inmarketing presentations.420 Especially bad are many of the housing estates’ common-private or semi-public outdoor areas. Theyprovide fairly mediocre and limited possibilities for outdoor activites, and children’s games and play. Thisunfortunate tendency is, as I see it, strengthened by the public economic support to lock off backyards andcourtyards in the adjacent old structure of urban blocks. One cannot actually blame private developers forwanting to exploit their plots to a maximum (that is, more or less, their quite predictable role), but one canreally question the knowledge base and ability to foresee and to deal with these problems among the planningauthorities. A central focus in the discourse on urban development and renewal for more than century has beenthe necessity to create better environments for upbringing of children. The poor quality of the outdoor areas ofinner city housing developments in recent years, can as such hardly be explained by lack of attentiveness orknowledge, but maybe rather as a counter-reaction that again will create a new counter-reaction.326


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y – C O N C L U D I N G R E F L E C T I O N Sproducts of processes in which patterns in counter-forces gradually aredeveloped in relation to existing environmental structures, quite other kindsof dynamics in socio-spatial interplay, as seen in the examples above, cometo the fore.In this thesis Lefebvre’s theoretical discussions has a special status comparedto the other dialectical theories I’ve made use of. By his conceptual triad, hiscriticism of limitations related to dialectical analyses (which tend to “boildown to an opposition between two”), his focus on productive differences,and his later attempts to work out an analytic framework for“rhythmanalysis” of dynamic socio-spatial patterns, he opens up analyticalperspectives, rather than narrowing them down (as many of the otherdialectical perspectives can be accused of).For the task of investigating the dynamics and complexity of socioarchitecturalinterplay the dialectical perspectives of the abovementionedtheorists, as discussed in chapter 1, has provided me with an indispensablepoint of departure for stretching the structural-morphological starting point.This has made it possible to carry out analysis of relations between structureand individual practices (seen as a range of socio-spatial patterns) at differentlevels. All human activities are socio-spatial: they are developed in relationto, take place within, and produce socio-spatial environments of differentkinds. All actors that are involved in urban processes of transformation –politicians, investors, architects and urban planners, as well individualinhabitants and users of the city – operate in relation to an urban landscapeof socio-spatial patterns produced by others. The existing socio-spatialpatterns represent a structure of multiple opportunities and constraints towhich all kinds of socio-spatial actors and actions necessarily relate. Theirways of relating to the socio-spatial landscape will however vary, as do thesocio-spatial practices and the patterns that are the productive outcomes ofthem. The abstract distinctions between ‘strategies’ and ‘tactics’ as well asbetween ‘space striation’ and ‘making smooth space’ represent conceptualmeta-distinctions with no obvious empirical correlate. They are relationaland relative distinctions. As such they are not intended to work as analyticdistinctions between the production of ‘purely architectural’ and ‘purelysocial’ patterns.c) Rhythms – or the interrelated dynamics of socio-spatial patternsThe patterns that have been the focus of my analysis comprise both concretearchitectural morphologies (i.e. physical environments, from overallarchitectural systems of spatial organization to the micro-iconography ofhousing and businesses) and social practices of different kinds. All suchpatterns are socio-spatial in the sense that they have to do with327


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y – C O N C L U D I N G R E F L E C T I O N Sterritorialities, and in the sense that they are established and formed bypatterns in concrete social actions: conducts, encounters, gestures, routinesand spatial appropriation of various kinds that take place in concrete sociospatialenvironments. The spatial and the social are closely intertwined andcannot be fully understood independent of each other. When new kinds ofsocio-spatial patterns appear, they have been developed within or in closerelationship to an environmental structure consisting of already existingsocio-spatial patterns. More or less continuously new kinds of socio-spatialpatterns spring up and are formed in interaction with other and different kindsof existing patterns. In such processes – depending on situation and context –both the new and already established socio-spatial patterns may consolidateor transform (for instance in terms of being strengthened or weakened). Andthrough such processes the function, role and image of places and areas willbecome more or less dramatically changed. Such changes should not only beunderstood as new kinds of local situations in relation to previous ones, butalso by their relations and interconnections with other places and areas inthe urban landscape.As discussed in chapter 1, Lefebvre’s rhythmanalysis can be understoodas an attempt to think together such different dynamic patterns: patternsshifting over time, environmental structures as products of heavy historical orcurrent practice patterns, and the perceptible flow of individual socio-spatialpractices in a here and now situation. In his exemplified rhythmanalyticanalyses of urban situations, 421 Lefebvre describes the rhythmicdifferentiation of encounters as related to morphological, contextualdifferences at different levels – form the most global to the more local, fromdeeper structural patterns to more superficial and momentary variations. Allthese differences are presented as parts of a synchronic study of differencesin rhythms which can be observed in the current situation. But, as in his ownanalysis of differences, Lefebvre underlines the importance of making use ofhistorical knowledge of how differences have been produced.As accounted for before (chapter 4 and 5) can an environmental structurebe said to consist of patterns and systems of architecture that have beendeveloped in relation to changes in patterns of practices. Furthermore, anenvironmental structure can be examined in terms of dynamical patterns inindividual choices and actions that have developed within and closely relatedto a physical urban landscape that contains various architecturalcharacteristics (chapter 6). In the process of folding out miscellaneous aspectanalysis of how a selection of socio-spatial practices have developed (chapter4, 5 and 6), it gradually became clear to me that there were even more forms421 I.e. Lefebvre’s two essays “Seen from the window” (1996: pp 219-227) and “Rhythmanalysis ofMediterranean Cities” (1996: pp 228-240).328


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y – C O N C L U D I N G R E F L E C T I O N Sof interrelationship between patterns of architecture and social practices inoperation to study than I had envisaged:Differences in how the architectural systems of the three study areas atGrünerløkka, Grønland and Furuset are designed when it comes tointegrating and segregating various types of activities and local versusregional users can, in accordance with the abovementioned discovery, beclaimed to reinforce, so to speak, the visual differences (and the experienceof such) in the patterns of use and users that can be identified in the threeneighbourhoods:In all of the three neighbourhood areas one can find regional shoppingclusters. The regional department store at Furuset (among othersAlnasenteret, Smart Club, IKEA, etc.) is localized alongside the main roadsystem and as such spatially segregated from the system of outdoor spaces inthe areas’ larger housing estates. This situation is in clear contrast to theregional clustering of respectively ethnic specialized businesses at Grønlandand specialized lifestyle oriented businesses at Grünerløkka, jointly localizedas they are with other kinds of local and regional establishments in thespatially integrated system of public urban streets in those areas. Theinhabitants that were interviewed in all of the three study areas report thatthey on a regular basis use other parts of the city than in which they live fordifferent kinds of recreational and shopping purposes. 422 Many locals spendmuch of their everyday time in other parts of the city (for work, recreation,socializing, shopping). At the same time are there lots of regional users fromother parts of the city that come in and visit many of the sameneighbourhoods for shopping, recreation or going out (this goes especiallyfor Grünerløkka and Grønland).The in and out flux of inhabitants and visitors gives the public life in allthree neighbourhoods a shifting character that very seldom reflects theactual demographic composition of inhabitants that live in each of theneighbourhood areas. The patterns of movement in and out of theneighbourhood vary throughout day and night, weekdays and time of the422Such a practice is most characteristic at Furuset where many of the informants say that they use theirneighbourhood for walking, cycling or jogging, but go to central Oslo, Grünerløkka or Grønland to shop orsocialize with friends. But also informants living at Grønland and Grünerløkka report that they frequentlytravel out of the neighbourhood area for recreational purposes, as for instance to Oslo’s many forest areas, toprivate cottages, or out to one of the many nearby islands or public beaches.If one on a weekday morning was to seek out for example the local shopping centre at Furuset and the openoutdoor spaces between the housing blocks, one would probably get the fairly distorted impression that theneighbourhood is occupied by pensioners, social clients, one or another housewife of foreign ethnic origin, andsmall children playing or roaming by themselves. If one was to visit the streets of Grünerløkka at a similar dayand time, one would probably get a just as distorted impression that the neighbourhood’s inhabitants areyounger people of 25-30 years old that spend their daytime shopping, frequenting coffee bars, or strollingaround with prams (which to many probably would come as a surprise, since there would hardly be any otherchildren to see). And if one lastly was to pay visit to the streets of Grønland one would get an equally distortedimpression that the majority of the people living in the neighbourhood are of ethnic origin and that ethnicNorwegians constitute a clear minority.329


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y – C O N C L U D I N G R E F L E C T I O N Syear. They contribute in this way to reinforcing specialized patterns ofregional clustering. The accumulation of specialized forms of urban use andusers does at the same time strengthen the expression, and the experienceordinary users get, of functional characteristics, role and image of an area.The rhythm analysis, as presented by Lefebvre and Régulier, is not a methodin the sense that it provides a recipe for how to investigate what in relation towhat. Rather, it is a vision of a mode of synchronic analysis to be applied oncomplex and dynamic situations that cannot be grasped by one singularanalytic model. (A precondition is however that one has broad enoughknowledge of the situation to be able to identify the quite many mechanismsinvolved.) In this project I have mainly used my knowledge of the rhythmanalyticproject as an inspiring vision, 423 or as a motivation to discover andanalyze more interrelated dimensions and patterns in the material I had athand. I also used the rhythm-analytic influence as a way of not getting tooseduced by what could appear as striking observable order, and as astimulation to look for patterns of disorder or “empirical noise”. In relation tothe latter I made use of different analytical approaches:In general static categories have weak explanatory power in studies ofcomplex dynamics (as thoroughly discussed by the analytic theories I madeuse of in chapter 1). Therefore, in my investigations of dynamic interrelationsbetween architecture, ways of life and societal development, I found itnecessary to think socio-spatial dispositions and practices as well asarchitectural characteristics as dynamic interrelated patterns rather than asdefined by more fixed categories:I found it difficult and also quite ineffective to categorize my informantsby socio-economic or socio-cultural criteria. Because of this I was, partlyinformed by the theoretical deliberations in part 1, forced to think about typesof socio-spatial landscape practitioners in a way that focused on differencesin individual projects, rather than on differences in background or resources.In much the same way I found it required to think about functional andsymbolic issues of architecture, not as something defined by architecturalcharacteristics per se or as limited to characteristics of a given set of objectsplaced in a “container” in terms of a geographically limited study area, but asrelational patterns in a larger landscape: This implied that I had to investigatehow observable architectural characteristics were related to architecturalstrategies developed in relation to products of other kinds of tactics andstrategies within the urban landscape. Furthermore it implied to look at howthe function and role of different urban areas are transformed over time in423 Cf. discussions in the last part of chapter 1 and in the last part of chapter 2.330


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y – C O N C L U D I N G R E F L E C T I O N Srelation to the city’s larger socio-spatial landscape and its repertoires ofpractices and architecture.The theoretical approach to dynamic interrelations between architecture,ways of life and societal development – understood as socio-spatialdialectics, as play between differences, and as multidimensional dynamicpatterns – has made it possible to identify various kinds of dynamic patterns.Thus the theoretical deliberations in part 1 can be said to constitute aanalytical framework for understanding and seeing relational patterns – inthe social as well as in the architectural. This means that it is not simply amatter of observing existing conditions, it is very much the theoreticalgrounding that makes it possible to see the dynamics in the patterns as wellas patterns in the dynamics. Thus neither patterns nor dynamics can be“mapped” directly.The perspective of “practice layers” (chapter 6) is meant to represent adynamic approach for analyzing patterns in socio-spatial dispositions andpractices, as an alternative to more static ways of categorizing informants bysocio-economic (cf. “class”) or socio-cultural (cf. ethnic groups)characteristics. By linking patterns in dispositions and practices to how theproject of living in a certain place is related to more overall life plans, bothdynamics in shifting phases of life dispositions can be incorporated into theanalysis as well as variations in the individuals socio-spatial strategies for“creating a life” when operating in the urban landscape. The analysis of“layers of practices” reveals that there are distinct variations between thethree study areas when it comes to how environmental qualities areappreciated and used. As analyzed in chapter 4 and 5, various patterns ofsocio-spatial dispositions play up against patterns of architectural differences,in different ways and at different levels:First, and most obvious, the analysis show systematic differences in howcharacteristic aspects of the socio-spatial environments in each of the threeareas by the informants are described to represent various kinds ofpossibilities and constraints for desired conducts of life – related to bothneighbourhood activities as well as to repertoires of encounter situations.I also discovered distinct variations in how informants from the different“layers of practices” describe being constrained by, making use of, benefitingfrom, and also to challenge and exceed the potentials and constraintsembedded in different neighbourhoods and urban areas.Another finding was that whole sets of informants within same the ‘layer’are seen to operate with quite similar sets of socio-spatial references ofarchitecture and areas, both in descriptions of experiences and life-plansrelated to dispositions and distinctions.And I also discovered how a perceived ‘excess’ of specific use- andexperience-related spatial qualities in specific areas have created relatively331


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y – C O N C L U D I N G R E F L E C T I O N Sforceful dynamics when it comes to judgments of corresponding ‘lacks’ inother areas.As we have seen, series of different co-operating minor patterns inarchitecture and social practices create synergies between socio-spatialpatterns at different levels, creating accelerating forces of transformation.Altogether this has resulted in quite dramatic changes of the image, functionand role of urban areas. When I carried out the analysis what surprised andimpressed me the most was the force and clarity of the interplay betweenvarious kinds of socio-spatial patterns that not really seemed to beorchestrated in other ways than that they all could be seen as reactions againstpossibilities and constraints in the existing socio-spatial patterns.In the last decades the academic discourse on architectural analyses of urbandevelopment has focused more on transformation in already built urban areas(and how to understand and deal with it), and less on how to develop newurban areas outside the built landscape, as the case was in the precedingdecades. Post-industrial urban transformation has entailed an understandingof dynamics and complexity which to a certain degree has represented abreak with the traditions of more laborious studies of architectural systemsand structures and their transformation. The dominantly presented alternativeis to meet the complex and dynamic situations with various methods for“mapping” observable characteristic aspects of an existing urban situation (interms of aggregated architectural, social, cultural, economic, demographicetc. characteristics of different urban areas) – often in combination withextrapolation of different kinds of knowledge of tendencies. Such anapproach includes both more intuitive, subjective analysis in which a broaderrange of parameters are combined, and analytic techniques for mappingdynamic spatio-functional patterns (cf. “urban structural analysis”) that arestrongly dependent on analytic models of the processes involved (informedfor instance by economics and/or urban geography). Also changes in patternsof individual practices – related to for instance immigration and gentrification– are often explained by structural mechanisms in which architecturalfeatures exclusively are seen as products, and not as a preconditions or agentsin the development of new patterns of everyday urban practices.Urbanism is a multidisciplinary academic tradition in which crossdisciplinaryexchange of analytic models and theories always has beencentral and important. The recent development within architectural urbananalyses can though be seen as a turn towards analytic models that seek tofind the causes of urban transformation in exogenous factors. This implies amove away from analytic models seeking causes or possibilities for urbandevelopment within the urban architectural landscape.332


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y – C O N C L U D I N G R E F L E C T I O N SAn important contribution of my project to the academic discourse onurban analyses is, as I see it, related to understanding complexity anddynamics of socio-architectural interplay in current processes of urbantransformation. My empirical findings of interrelated socio-architecturalpatterns demonstrate in a range of various how architecture is involved inand modulates the development of social patterns, and vice versa. My projectalso demonstrates that the discovery of such patterns and theirinterrelatedness are preconditioned by a combined analytic approach,grounded on and enabled by theoretical perspective on interplay: In order tomake a combined empirical analysis of social variables in architecture andarchitectural variables in social life, both the architectural analysis as wellas the analysis of socio-spatial dispositions must come out of a theoreticallyinformed understanding of important dimensions in socio-architecturalinterrelations.Patterns in socio-spatial practices can be mapped, i.e. empirically registeredand analyzed, in various ways. But interrelations are difficult to map, in thesame way as it is hard to map something you didn’t know you were lookingfor or never even expected to see. Studies of social forms as well as studies ofarchitectural forms imply studies of patterns in manifestations which aregenerated or aggregated by complex processes:Patterns and systems in architecture: aesthetical, functional and culturalaspects of how elements of environmental tools are accommodated for sociallife, as well as patterns in architectural transformation, can be observed,mapped and analyzed.Patterns and systems in individual ways of thinking and acting: aspects ofdispositions and judgments of socio-spatial situations as well as patterns insocio-spatial practices are also empirical accessible for observation,registration and analysis.But when it comes to ‘features’ such as interplay, interrelations anddynamics, they can not that easily be observed and mapped: an understandingof such issues, i.e. of how interaction, development and change comes about,depends upon theoretical models of the processes involved. To conceptualizewhat we observe and to register what is actually going on, the mapper at leastneeds to be theoretically sensitivized: To map how social spaces is producedand understand how architecture is involved in such processes, and to mappatterns in architectural transformation and to understand how patterns inindividual ways of thinking and acting are involved, call for theoreticalanalytic models for understanding the interrelatedness between thephenomena we can observe.333


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y – C O N C L U D I N G R E F L E C T I O N SAs seductively easy as it may seem, the idea of the sensitivized rhythmanalystand his/her skilled technique of instantaneously mapping observed aspects ofan urban situation have, as I see it, critical shortcomings when it comes tothe data-basis for understanding interrelatedness in dynamic and relationalpatterns (or in other words: the complexity of the rhythms). To discoverunexpected forms of interplay between multiple socio-spatial patternsrequires quite broad and detailed knowledge of how such patterns havedeveloped. This again depends upon a rather systematic investigation ofrelational patterns and systems within the urban structure. For this purpose,the structural-morphological approach (with necessary modifications, asdiscussed in the beginning of this end section) represents, as I see it, anindispensable point of entry in order to investigate observable socio-spatialphenomena and analyze dynamics of relational patterns in the urbanstructure.Compared with mapping techniques that are based on more intuitive andsubjective judgments of immediately observable architectural as well associal characteristics of an area, the relational focus on socio-spatialpatterns and systems within an urban landscape provides importantknowledge of contextual environmental characteristics that observablefluctuations can be discussed up against.The focus on socio-architectural relatedness in structural-morphologicalanalyses provides an essential basis for understanding qualitative variationsin architecture, both as preconditions for, agents in, and as products ofsocio-spatial everyday life.d) Architectural affect and social “space”Bourdieu’s concept of social “space” describes a pure social construct: It is a“space” consisting of patterns of notions about social values and meanings inrelation to one’s own and other peoples’ choice of life course and everydayaction. Bourdieu’s “space” is not physical in the sense that it has specificlocation, size or extent. It’s only a space in a figurative or metaphorical sense.The “space” contains patterns (of notions?) that can be said to be formed intwo-three directions (or dimensions): individuals and groups of peoplemanoeuvre and position themselves within and in relation to suchexperienced patterns by making choices and acting in ways that are believedto set them in an assessed direction. Through such processes the actors situatethemselves in closeness to someone or something (homologies) or inremoteness to others or other things (distinctions). In a large empirical studyof consumption practices and acts of aesthetic choice in 1970s FranceBourdieu himself gives detailed explanations of the mechanisms thatconstitute and regulate such spaces, and just as detailed representations ofhow the practice patterns come about. As accounted for earlier, one of the334


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y – C O N C L U D I N G R E F L E C T I O N Sassumptions I got from studying the work of Bourdieu in relation to my ownproject was that it should be possible to examine people’s everyday practicesrelated to inhabiting and using an urban landscape in much the same way asBourdieu does in the analysis just mentioned.Also Henri Lefebvre’s concept of social space describes a socialconstruction, in much the same way as Bourdieu’s. However, Lefebvre’sconcept to a greater extent relates to concrete practice patterns that take placein specific surroundings. Furthermore he is much clearer in describing howcollective patterns of expectations and experiences, and how individualchoices and ways of acting, are formed in and through various sets of sociospatialencounter situations in everyday life. As I have discussed in chapter 2,my point of entry for analyzing urban socio-spatial practices was based onfirm belief in that the two different theoretical approaches of Bourdieu andLefebvre could complement and overlap each other for the analytical purposeI had identified: to investigate the dynamics and interrelations betweendifferent kinds of socio-spatial practices and patterns. The main challengewas however to operationalize the two theoretical models in ways that couldbe translated into concrete empirical investigations. And, furthermore, to dothat in a way that could be combined with an analysis of environmentalstructures seen as concrete and dynamic socio-spatial patterns operatingwithin a composite urban and architectural landscape.To a certain extent Bourdieu’s analytic model seemed to work oninvestigations of mechanisms related to patterns in individual urbanpractices: The analysis of the interview material (chapter 6) clearly illustratesin what way individual choices and ways of action related to inhabiting andusing an urban landscape can be related to similar kinds of mechanisms thatBourdieu points out. The informants report about different degrees ofawareness about how they both themselves and others ascribe symbolic valueto everyday practices. Through their narrations about issues such as choicesof housing (both in a shorter and longer time perspective), in what way andwhy they use the city, what kinds of socio-spatial and socio-cultural qualitiesthey value in the neighbourhood of living or in situations frequently calledon, in addition to the mentioning of various features and incidents that theykeep distance from, a manifold picture is drawn of how lifestyles and identityproduction (individual or by groups) takes place in close interrelation with anenvironmental structure of differentiated socio-spatial patterns.I have earlier on (chapter 6) called attention to different forms ofhomologies and distinctions that can be interpreted from the individualnarratives of choices, actions, experiences, and expectations related toeveryday urban living. Furthermore, I have also pointed out various examplesof how architectural characteristics is related to in people’s various335


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y – C O N C L U D I N G R E F L E C T I O N Saesthetical judgments of style, and of how distinctions that are made of inwhat way environmental typologies can be related to ways of life andlifestyles. The examples show that the informants’ description of what kindof image, character and identity an urban neighbourhood is experienced tohave, is closely related to knowledge of local differences in socio-spatialpatterns. Differences that they themselves ascribe symbolic value are ofcourse particularly important.But my empirical investigation reveals that there also are other kinds ofdistinct dynamics at play between individual ways of thinking or doing andsocio-spatial patterns. Bourdieu’s theory about the development of individualpatterns in attribution of symbolic meaning to everyday life’s aestheticalpractices does not fully capture such dynamics.In contrast to a focus on individual dispositions and choices that form thebasis of Bourdieu’s Distinction, I have in my own analysis of practicepatterns on the whole endeavored to examine such patterns in relation to howthey are developed within a concrete urban landscape, i.e. not only within anarea that has geographical extent but also overlapping distribution ofdifferentiated housing districts and urban functions.In contrast to what one can discover through examining dispositions andchoices within a “landscape” of for instance various types of music, or forthat sake a “landscape” of furniture and pieces of bric-a-brac for every kindof taste and wallet, can my study of practice patterns within concrete urbanlandscapes be considered as an attempt to include socio-spatial dynamicsrelated to aspects of territoriality, simultaneity and multitude in encountersbetween various practice patterns.Before recapitulating some of my findings regarding the repertoire-likevariations in expectations and experiences of specific practice patterns in thethree study areas, I shall give some examples of what I understand to beterritorial tensions in public space, revealed in the empirical investigations:The development of different practice patterns and the interplay betweenthem more than often take the form of territorial tensions between thepractices involved, as kinds of battles over the power to define the image ofthe urban areas at stake. I have in the interview material found greatvariation in how such tensions are played out and at the many different levelsthey operate. In their descriptions of what and whom that give a positiverespectively a negative contribution to the development of theneighbourhood, a majority of the informants point out tensions related to, onthe one hand, real conflicts over space consuming activities or the ways inwhich different groups appropriate a specific territory (i.e. conflicts thatreflect that one kind of spatial activity takes place at the expense of other336


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y – C O N C L U D I N G R E F L E C T I O N Skinds), and, on the other hand, more symbolic conflicts over the appropriatemeaning and image of a specific location (i.e. conflicts that reflect that thereare different sets of value preferences at play and that the proponents of theone or the other set of values often feel unease over divergent preferences).The two types of tensions that here are sketched out are in practice oftenintertwined, with the one reinforcing the effects of the other.Many examples from the interview material illustrate that the informants’description of what and whom that contribute negatively to the developmentof the neighbourhood are clearly related to aspects of image and individualidentity production: Some informants (ethnic Norwegians, especially layer 3)bring up issues of ghetto-likeness as a negative feature of the neighbourhoodin which they live. At Grønland it is especially the new mosques that areassociated with a ghetto, at Furuset it’s the high rise buildings close to theFuruset senter. But also informants of foreign ethnic origin bring up thepresence of image-problems, especially related to accumulation of peoplewith social aberrations or other kinds of ethnic background than Norwegian.Such elements are often seen to reinforce more negative characteristics ofneighbourhood development, thus obstructing issues of interaction andintegration. Many feel that the stamp of ghetto-likeness makes it lesstempting for more resourceful ethnic Norwegians to move into the area.At Grünerløkka some informants (ethnic Norwegians, especially layer 2)point out as a negative thing that many immigrants have moved out of theneighbourhood. None of these could however mention the name ornationality of a single acquaintance of ethnic origin in the neighbourhood,though all of them describe themselves as content regular customers in one ofthe local immigrant grocery stores. Grounded on the fact that less immigrantscan be seen in the streets than before, the loss they describe can be read as aweakening feeling of living in an exotic and international neighbourhood.(Such an experience stand in contrast to what other informants describe as aloss of daily contact with friends, acquaintances and likeminded people thathave moved out of the area – i.e. as a loss of un-demanding co-presencebased social mixing in contrast to a more demanding interaction-based socialmixing.)At Grünerløkka quite many informants (young, ethnic Norwegians, layer1) report and complain about the many and still increasing number of babyprams in the streets as the most negative feature in the neighbourhood. Theinformants complaining about the ‘pram invasion’ otherwise describe theneighbourhood as nice and diverse. They are young, ethnic Norwegians thatplead to have chosen (most of them for a shorter period) to live in what theyclaim to be an exiting, rough and exotic neighbourhood with all sorts ofinteresting people and a vibrant outdoor life. These informants do howeveralso underline that they plan to move out of the neighbourhood or the city337


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y – C O N C L U D I N G R E F L E C T I O N Swhen they establish themselves with a partner and children. In the light ofthis it is difficult to read their complaints about the many prams in the streetsas something more than what they feel to be an image related problem andnuisance.In other instances though are the given descriptions of encountering otherkinds of practices and activities laid out as more unpleasant and confronting,i.e. as experiences that are believed to restrain ones own exercise of abilitiesor threaten the maintenance of arenas that are appreciated: In an example thatI’ve discussed at length in an earlier passage, a young male informant (layer2, living at Grünerløkka) points out that he reacts strongly to what hedescribes as the exhibitionism of young women breastfeeding, changingnappies and exchanging experiences of childbirth at Grünerløkka’s manycafés. In contrast to the more image-related complaints over the ‘praminvasion’, the latter informants complaints is stronger related to an unpleasantexperience of close encounter with what he feels is a disrespectful andinvading practice. This again is related to the fact that it’s a spreadingpractice and that the aggressiveness of the practice pattern is experienced as athreat against a form of practice pattern he himself appreciates: He says thathe himself will not be driven away, but expresses worry that for instanceelderly Muslim men will flee cafés running over by breastfeeding women.This example is illustrative of an experience in relation to a changingterritorial situation in which the emerging new practice patterns hardly in adirect way can be said to threaten the informant’s freedom of action, but thathowever that may be threatens a pattern of situations that the informantappreciated.In other cases in the interview material, however, emerging new practicepatterns are described as confronting in a way that affects individual freedomof choice and action: Many young women informants (of different ethnicbackgrounds) living at Grønland point out that they avoid passing by ethnicmale leisure clubs because they have a hunch that the clientele stare at andoccasionally call to them. Several ethnic Norwegian women (layer 2) reportthat they feel forced to dress up more decently than they really like to in orderto elude unpleasant staring from Muslim men in the streets, while othersclaim that they have grown accustomed to it, and yet others point out that thatthey keep dressing as provocative as they like on principle or out of spite.In all three study areas a great majority of the informants mention socialmixing, multiplicity, juxtaposition of inhabitants of various kinds, and thepossibility to do different things or take part in different activities, asimportant qualities in their neighbourhood. It is in this connection that I readissues of territorial tensions in a wider sense than to situations in whichdifferent social groups explicitly seek to conquer an area for themselves and338


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y – C O N C L U D I N G R E F L E C T I O N Sassociates: Just as often as an issue of strangers taking over an area thequestion at stake is, as many informants describe it, that more and morepeople that are more or less like oneself and share many of one’s owndispositions, move into the neighbourhood. Thus increasing accumulation ofpeople of the same sort as oneself is by many informants felt to threaten theideal mixture of different people and cultural aspirations that was theoccasion for moving into the neighbourhood. Nobody says they want to livein a ghetto: neither an ethnic one nor, as in the example above, a ghettoconsisting of multiplicity seeking urban adventurers of ethnic Norwegianswith higher education.The just mentioned examples illustrate various kinds and degrees ofterritorial tensions between patterns of social space development set inconcrete socio-spatial environments. It is also worth to notice that thepatterns of strategies that the individual tactics relate to, have developed andare experienced in many different ways and at different levels.All the abovementioned examples illustrate that one by living in andidentifying with a neighbourhood, and by over time relating issues of identityproduction and lifestyle to a neighbourhood, to a certain extent gets exposedto the other inhabitants living in the same territory. The dispositions of thelatter play as just an important part in forming the image of a neighbourhoodas one’s own dispositions and the dispositions of those one would like toassociate with. Social qualities and ways of interacting and associating in aneighbourhood are related to a broad range of issues of territoriality, inwhich widespread ideas about an ideal mix of people and activities,predictability and surprises, likeminded people and strangers, often seemdifficult to bring into a state of equilibrium in the real world of everydayneighbourhood practices. The exposure to such territorial issues, to othersand others’ dispositions, makes relating to a notion of neighbourhoodidentity by various place-consuming and place-producing neighbourhoodpractices more open to elements of other social mechanisms than the kinds ofcultural consumption Bourdieu studied. This represents an essentialexplanatory limitation related to applying Bourdieu’s model of social spaceproduction on analyses on urban socio-spatial practices in general andneighbourhood practices in particular.e) Analyzed patterns vs Habitus vs. Spaces of representation 424A central issue both for Bourdieu and Lefebvre, though in slightly differentways, is that socio-spatial patterns of practices – or, to be more precise,people’s experiences of such practices – form people’s mental horizons of424 In the English translation of Production of Space Donald Nicholson-Smith translates Lefebvre’s conceptEspaces de representation into Representational spaces. As accounted for in chapter 1, I’ve in this PhD-thesisfound it more appropriate to use my own translation of the concept: Spaces of representation.339


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y – C O N C L U D I N G R E F L E C T I O N Sexpectations and aspirations. Both Bourdieu’s concept of ‘habitus’ andLefebvre’s ‘spaces of representation’ are meant to encompass people’smental horizons of expectations, symbolism, experiences, and dispositions,dialectically related as they are to the real world of patterns in social practicesformed by various others. In the same way as ‘habitus’, ‘spaces ofrepresentation’ produce symbolic works related to notions of aesthetic value:“These are often unique; sometimes they set in train ‘aesthetic’ trends and,after a time, having provoked a series of manifestations and incursions intothe imaginary, run out of steam.” 425 My interpretation of these two relatedconcepts of Bourdieu and Lefebvre (cf. chapter 2) is that they cast light overdifferent aspects of interrelations between practices and mental quantities.And, as documented in chapter 6, I have found that such interrelations invarious ways are reflected in the empirical interview material. However, it isalso a fact that the empirical material contains considerable factors of ‘noise’that challenge the application of such ‘pure’ analytical concepts.Bourdieu’s overall project is to examine the dialectics between social spaceand individual dispositions at micro-level: He investigates in what ways thedispositions (habitus) of individual subjects form choices and actions invarious situations, and reciprocally, in what ways habitus is developedthrough such experiences – as a cultivation of the ability to make aestheticassessments and subtle distinctions. Bourdieu explicitly relates suchprocesses of development to production of social space: The habitus ofindividuals is developed through sensitivity of the symbolic meaning (orrange of such meanings) that various choice situations have in a sociallandscape in which some people are more alike than others. Social groupidentification is formed and expressed through patterns of choice situations,both ones own and others’, that are ascribed symbolic value.Also when it comes to analyses of habitus-related aspects of describedneighbourhood practices, Bourdieu’s analytic concepts and models seems towork until a certain point: In relation to the analysis of the informants’descriptions of dispositions and neighbourhood experiences, I have pointedout a series of regularities that, in various ways within each of the practicelayers, can be associated with facets of a neighbourhood habitus:• The informants that claim to have made a conscious choice of residencealso tell that the choice of living area was based on a belief that theneighbourhood they moved into had both use qualities that suited theirpreferences for living, and symbolic qualities associated with a wantedlifestyle and aesthetic preferences of aspiration (for instance concerningarchitectural style).425 Lefebvre 1991: 42.340


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y – C O N C L U D I N G R E F L E C T I O N S• The informants (from all layers and areas) report that they in generalsocialize with like-minded people. Furthermore many of them claim toassociate with people they share more specific interests with (related tofor instance organized leisure activities or, as at Furuset, voluntary workin the neighbourhood). Such more ‘thick’ kinds of socializing for themost part take place in meeting places that are more loosely defined andlocated, either in or around the actual residential buildings or housingblocks, or in the neighbourhood in which they live. Related to this,almost all informants claim that they appreciate social multiplicity –however not of any kind: Quite many informants are explicit about whatthey consider to be the ideal mix of social qualities and features. Andamong quite many much the same preferences are reflected moreimplicitly, as when they point out more negative features and issues inthe neighbourhood (such as too many transit residents, or asylumseekers, or baby prams, or grumpy old people, or that too many ethnicminorities move out of the area). The interview material reflects thatthere are larger contrast in what the informants describe as an ideal socialmix at Grønland and Grünerløkka than at Furuset. In the inner cityneighbourhoods there are various issues of social mix that areappreciated: descriptions of the neighbourhood as a colourfulbackground scenery for displaying one’s lifestyle, descriptions of the joyof observing at close hand different social activities of others,descriptions of a non-binding sense of community related to the presenceof various parallel urban leisure activities (park life, people in restaurantsand cafés, street life, children playing around, etc.)• The informants describe actions of choice that in various ways areascribed symbolic meaning in relation to individual identity productionand social group identification. Such descriptions contain many andvarious examples of social distinction.• Within layer 1 and layer 2 (especially at Grønland and Grünerløkka)many examples can be seen of informants that demonstrate theiracquired talents of making subtle distinctions related to everyday lifesocio-spatial situations.• For many informants the project of living (for a limited time period) inan urban area that has a reputation as trendy, exiting and exotic can inmany ways be compared to a cultural journey (that is ascribed symbolicvalue in terms of increasing cultural capital). This goes especially foryounger people coming from rural areas and smaller towns.• As reflected in the descriptions of the informants, many choices of actionrelated to different forms of urban activities and use stand as types ofconsumption activities: To be a resident of and use the city is to a large341


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y – C O N C L U D I N G R E F L E C T I O N Sextent described as practices of space consumption, in much the sameway as consumption of culture and different kinds of services.The interview material that my analyses are based on is not exhaustiveenough (due to a limited scope of informants and the limited depth of theactual interviews) to form the basis neither for a comprehensive analysis ofthe habitus of single informants – or, for that sake, of particular social groupsin today’s Oslo – nor for examining the connection between cultural capital,material capital and patterns of dispositions. 426 Nor was this the aim behindpicking out exactly these three study areas.I have however, after having examined the complexity and multiplicity ofdispositions among the informants, become rather skeptical to if it under anycircumstances would have been possible to discover just as simple and clearcapital-based patterns of urban practices as those Bourdieu managed toidentify in relation to purer forms of consumption practices.In that regard I have discovered too many factors of ‘noise’ in myempirical material – factors that complicate the picture and that make itsomewhat impossible to sketch out unambiguous relations between quantitiesof capital and habitus in connection with patterns of urban practices:• One such factor is the fact that both specific neighbourhood practicesand other kinds of urban practices to a large extent are played out insettings in which also a range of practices of others find place at thesame time. This complexity and dependency of others’ actions andclaims to define the contents and constituents of place and situations,stands in contrast to many of the, one could say, purer forms of symbolicpractices of consumption that Bourdieu’s analysis is based on (cf. alsothe discussion above).• Another factor that I have discovered is the general and great importanceof time- and place-perspectives on where and how people choose to live;especially in regards of the more overall life plans of urban actors (cf. thecharacteristics of the three practice layers).• A third factor is related to the rapid changes that come about whenvarious practice patters play up against each other, generally speaking,and, more specifically, to the fact that such dynamics take place in426 As accounted for earlier (in the beginning of chapter 6), I have not managed to find patterns in dispositionsthat could be related to the informants’ responses to questions on education, occupation, income, etc. This canof course be explained by the fact that the interview guide to a little extent aimed at mapping the informants’class background according to traditional indicators (such as parents’ and grand parents’ education, whetherthe informant comes from a home of books or not, what kind of leisure time activities and types of vacationone has grown up with). Neither does the fact that the informants are taken from three study areas constitute abroad enough selection of informants (when it comes to background factors such as cultural and materialcapital) to say something qualified about how the cultural practices of Oslo’s inhabitants are distributed atlarge.342


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y – C O N C L U D I N G R E F L E C T I O N Scomplex urban settings in which different social groups encounter. Whenit comes to uses of commercial arenas for social life (eating and drinkingplaces, places for entertainment, etc.), to take an example, the dynamicsof internal tourism is of great importance, so are elements of ironic playbetween different kinds of symbolic practices. Both these two issuesmake it difficult to interpret singular actions and incidents: If for instanceto frequent brown pubs was to be regarded as one important feature inthe urban use practices of a specific social group, one probably, in orderto interpret this very aspect of their urban habits, probably would have totake into consideration with what kind of ‘temper’ such a visit was made,in addition to seeing it in relation to their other ways of going out.• A fourth factor of ‘noise’ is related to the local socialization processes ofliving in and using physical environments that have social diversity as acharacteristic. A common feature in all of the three study areas is thatdifferent social groups live in and make use of the neighbourhoods.Almost all informants also report that this is a quality that theyappreciate. The various forms of community and community feeling thatare created in and through such a neighbourhood situation is reflected invarious forms of distinction making in which a ‘neighbourhood-we’ iscontrasted to an outer world of ‘others’. Examples of such becomeespecially marked in situations of counter-reaction against externalpressures that threaten dimensions of multiplicity that are appreciatedinternally.Seen together the here mentioned factors of ‘empirical noise’ make it easy tounderstand why Bourdieu excluded urban practices proper from his ‘allencompassing’analysis of the relation between consumption practices andthe distribution of material and cultural capital. If Bourdieu was to haveincluded urban practices, his orthogonal analytic diagrams in Distinctionprobably would have developed into a much messier picture.Bourdieu’s theoretical discussions and his analytic concepts are though(as discussed in chapter 1 and 2) far more nuanced than the impression onemay get from his almost suspiciously clear empirical examples. As I havedescribed, I have in my own analysis come upon several similar kinds ofmechanisms, or at least facets of such, as the ones Bourdieu describe in hisown examination of practice patterns. This can be seen as an argument forhow Bourdieu’s theory on social space production also seems to work onsome aspects of urban social practices, at least to a certain extent. Still, theexplanatory limitations for investigations of complex interplay illustrate ageneral problem related to the analytic models of the “great” theories fromthe 1970s and earlier: Complex dynamics cannot be reduced to, and shouldnot be investigated by, one singular analytic model.343


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y – C O N C L U D I N G R E F L E C T I O N SWhen it comes to dialectical interconnections between practice patterns andsymbolic representations of such (i.e. both ones own and others practices), Ican see a clear kinship between Lefebvre’s macro-concept spaces ofrepresentation and Bourdieu’s more micro-oriented concept of habitus.In Lefebvre’s triad ‘spaces of representation’ is the dimension thatencompasses individual mental conceptions of all different kinds, includingthe ones that are related to various socio-spatial practices: spaces ofrepresentation embody “complex symbolisms, sometimes coded, sometimesnot, linked to the clandestine or underground side of social life”. 427 Such acomprehensive mental framework of reference, or such horizons ofexpectations and experience, can, as I see it, much clearer than Bourdieu’sconcept of habitus be associated with forms of common mentalities, or toaspects of individual mentalities that are developed through different types ofcollective experiences and encounters with social practices. An importantdimension in Lefebvre’s thinking is his discussions of how social space isproduced and how human beings are socialized by encounter, assembly,simultaneity – of differences. This is the reason that Lefebvre underlines theimportance of the city and its characteristics as a place for complexencounters, and this is the reason for his strong criticism of both capitalism’ssocial division of space and the spatial segregation of functions withinfunctionalist urban planning (cf. his criticism of mono-functional housingestates that are segregated from both areas of production and other activities):Because of a radical lack of encounters with difference in everyday life,people that live in such enclaves become alienated and marginalized citizens,argues Lefebvre. The loss of educating, liberating, challenging, and inspiringencounters with other people than from ones own social class, is thus notonly described as a bereavement of adventures and experiences, but as acollective loss; the whole of society’s social production of space becomesdeprived of important dimensions of multiplicity.Both Lefebvre and Bourdieu describe social space as produced bydynamics between differences. However, while Bourdieu’s focus is patternsof similarities that appear from a background of differences, Lefebvre paintsa picture of a dynamics of multiplicity in which encounters of differenceconstitute the whole of society’s production of space. As such the conceptspaces of representation is a general, collective and mental quantity, and it’snot empirical measurable in any direct way. Lefebvre underlines that the triadof the perceived, the conceived and the lived is not meant to be understood asan analytical model. As accounted for in chapter 1, Lefebvre sees all these427 Lefebvre 1991:33344


R E A D I N G S O C I O - S P A T I A L I N T E R P L A Y – C O N C L U D I N G R E F L E C T I O N Sthree dimensions of space production as interwoven. As such none of thedimensions could be fully understood or examined in isolation.My point of view is however that the Lefebvre’s concept spaces ofrepresentation can be used to identify mechanisms, or at least facets of such,that are not covered by the Bourdieu’s concept habitus:The empirical investigations in chapter 4-6 show how patterns of sociospatialpractices have developed in close interrelation with patterns bothwithin and between the study areas. Especially in chapter 4, but also inchapter 5, I have carried out an analysis of the architectural characteristics ofthe three study areas (understood as observable patterns in architecturalspatial practice) related to typical ideas and ideals, and ways of asking andexamining questions, within the practical disciplines of architecture andurban planning (i.e. representations of space). The analysis uncovers thatarchitectural environments are embedded with intentions of use value.Furthermore the analysis reveals various ways in which architectural featuresand social practices in the three study areas play up against each other andinterrelate (spatial practices). In the interview material the informants reportabout dispositions that can be related to various expectations and experienceswhen it comes to repertoires of everyday practices. Furthermore it is evidentthat the experience of living and using specific parts of the city over time hasaltered many of the informants’ perception of neighbourhood or other areaspecific qualities. The concept spaces of representation does howeverencompass much more than the sum of the informants’ neighbourhoodexperiences. 428 Thus the interview material does not constitute a broadenough basis to carry out a satisfactory analysis of spaces of representation(which probably no interview material, however penetrating a setup, wouldhave made possible). What I have found useful with the concept though, isthat it has been of help to identify patterns of mentalities and experiences, asreflected in the informants’ descriptions, which can be related to practicepatterns in the study areas.The informants’ apprehension of the socio-spatial surroundings in which theylive is informed by a various set of factors. Let me briefly recapulate howexperiences and perceptions of ‘the neighbourhood’ are described:All three study areas have a different localization in the urban structure.The inhabitants in the three different neighbourhoods thus have access to428 Cf. Lefebvre: “Redolent with imaginary and symbolic elements, they have their source in history – in thehistory of a people as well as in the history of each individual belonging to that people. Ethnologists,anthropologists,