Spaces, Atmospheres and Practices in Changing Urban Territories
Edited by Stefano Catucci and Federico De Matteis
Cities are not made only of stone: they harbor ways of life, practices, movements, moods, atmospheres, feelings. Yet the ineffable nature of affects has long deprived human passions of a meaningful role when it comes to observing urban space and envisioning its future transformation. With this book, we explore the contemporary city and its transitional conditions from a different perspective: a quest to understand how the space of collective life and the feelings this engenders are connected, how they mutually give form to each other. In an interdisciplinary collection of essays, The Affective City means to open a discussion on the “soft” presences animating the world of urban objects: beyond the city built out of mere things, this book’s focus is on the forces that make urban life emerge, thrive, flourish, but also wither, and sometimes die. A task crucial for the survival of cities as human habitats, in an urban world that – with every passing day – seems to draw closer a crisis.
Seoul, the sprawling capital of the Republic of Korea, is a vibrant megacity with a metropolitan area exceeding a population of 25 million inhabitants, among the largest of the world. It is not only South Korea’s prime urban center: it has also evolved to become a global hub, with thriving culture and economy, multinational companies and top-ranked universities. As the city has expanded well beyond the historic center, its ancient core still represents a crucial space of identity for its citizens and for the Nation as a whole. Over the past three decades, after the landmark 1988 Olympic Games that heralded the arrival of democracy and the country’s rise on the international scenario, Seoul has engaged with many major renovation plans that have radically transformed its urban landscape. Architectural design has played a central role in promoting a new dimension of urban quality, necessary requirement to place the city on the global map. This book documents a decade of research and design work carried out on several important sites in Seoul’s central core. Through architectural competitions, master theses, design workshops and investigations of some of the city’s most relevant projects, the authors provide insight into the practices of designing for a megacity.