Cities are more important as cultural entities than their mere function as dormitories and industrial sites. Yet, the understanding of what makes a city ‘alive’ and appealing in cultural terms is still hotly contested - why are some cities so much more interesting, popular and successful than others? In this engaging discussion in the text City Life, Adrian Franklin takes the reader on a tour of contemporary western cities exploring their historical development and arguing that it is the transformative, ritual and performative qualities of successful cities that makes a difference. Emphasizing the importance of experience, the book represents the fluid complexity of the city as a living space, an environment and a posthumanist space of transformation. It will be of interest to all those engaging with the difficulties of urban life in sociology, human geography, tourism and cultural studies departments.
Chapter 9: City Natures
In Soft City Raban made the case for the magical, mysterious and unfathomable natural qualities of cities as opposed to their typical sociological characterisation as the rational, antithesis of nature, as pure culture, machines for living, the result of ‘urban policy’. Humans may always try to order their world (they are destined by nature to do so perhaps), and their actions are often intended to achieve an order (for this can be conceived in the abstract realm of thought and fantasy and imagination and occasionally realised, for a while outside of these realms) but these are only ever imaginings and (often failed) ordering attempts, and they become absorbed, twisted, confounded and entwined as they collide with the great many other non-human orderings. ...