Contested Urbanism: Struggles About Representation

John Pløger

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


    Iconic architecture plays a crucial role in cities' interurban competition. This is also the case with Copenhagen which has used iconic architecture as part of its boosterism to gain investment, to increase tourism and to attract the creative class. This battle over the symbolic representation of city dynamism, architectural identity and market competitiveness is expressed in discourses and visual signs in space—be it cyberspace, on location, in newspapers or debates. The articulation of representations and meaning can produce conflicts which show the voids, ruptures, and rational generatives at play. This article will exemplify how actors' use of a specific spatial dispositif of visibility and legibility may be intertwined with particular discourses on community, architectural heritage and identity of place. Two cases are chosen, the first concerns resistance towards high-rise buildings and the second concerns a current debate about the development of a 'metropol-zone'. Both cases concern Copenhagen. The signifying dispositifs (content, argument, rationality) in each case will be identified and the paper will emphasise how certain dispositifs of the visible and the arguable become strategically intertwined through symbolic, visual and virtual representations of the wrongs of current urban planning
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalSpace and Polity
    Issue number2
    Pages (from-to)143-165
    Publication statusPublished - 2010

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