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Cristina López Uribe



The dream of reason creates monsters

Undoubtedly, the city we know today is chaotic, complex

and unwelcoming, yet at the same time, it is loved and hated

for those of us who live it. Despite all its disadvantages, humans

prefer to live in the urban scene.

A metropolis causes mixed emotions. Some deal with

our daily routes, with space we live in and we think belong

to; some others, with collective memory, with the events

sometimes traumatic and sometimes triumphant that have

been engraved in certain places of our cities and in the minds

of its inhabitants.

We present a series of researches that seek to know

the passions that are loosed in a city, that understand human

gatherings as emotional communities, with dynamics of

complex identity and social cohesion, based on the effects

and emotions as narrative and cultural constructs subject to

time and space. These works are the result of a network or

researchers from the gee-mx Lab: City and Emotions (Laboratory

for the Study of Emotions) under the direction of Johanna

Lozoya of the School of Architecture of the Universidad

Nacional Autónoma de México.

The role of emotion in architecture has been greatly

studied. Let's remember the conceptualization of the sublime

in art during the eighteenth century; the supremacy of sensations

that interior design in the nineteenth century meant

to achieve; or the manifesto of emotional architecture by

Mathias Goeritz in the 1950s, which promoted the creation

of an architecture (and art) that worked, primarily, as emotion.

According to these ideas, a design could be developed over

an emotional base, over the poetic essence of architecture.

From the certainty that no other artistic discipline was capable

of evoking such emotion.

However, nowadays, architecture struggles between functionality

and extreme aesthetics through pure representation.

A dynamic that has missing its emotive component within the

logic of consumerism. As interesting as the debate can be, to

go into detail about it is not the purpose of this issue. Instead, it

proposes an abandonment of the analysis of the isolated architectonical

object to promote a complete study of the emotive

environments of our cities. This implies a work from different

disciplines besides city planning, landscape, architecture or

cultural studies, such as anthropology, psychology, sociology,

philosophy, economy and even health sciences.

To be urban is an emotional singular condition. Being in

a city feels different from being in any other place. This has

been observed in the same definition of the modern metropolis.

Such is the case of Georg Simmel, who reflected on

the impact of the modern city on mental life. To him, the

difference between living in the city and living in a rural environment

laid precisely in the nature of emotions. If these

are deep in the countryside, in the urban scene dominated

the so-called blasé attitude, provoked by the intensification

of nervous, quick, changing and discontinuing stimulus to

which an individual reacts with a certain indifference that

protects them from excessive stimulation.

Nonetheless its remote evidence and transcendence, in

the study of the cities is no frequent to discuss the importance

or the characteristics of the sensations involved. The

rational and scientific thought has diminished the role of

body and emotion. They were seen as damaging to the effort

of explaining things objectively. They were the enemy to

vanquish. Now they are considered a positive force, there is

work done in favor of a rationality of feelings, and now their

knowledge has been considered necessary to be able to see

the world and judge it. However, given its subjective and intangible

nature as the complexity of discourses that define it,

studying emotions and sensations is not an easy task.

We have been able to establish that urban planning design

plays an only partial role on the development of cities.

These have a different logic to the ideologies imposed beforehand,

an unforeseeable development product of a culture

and of the desires and aspirations of its inhabitants. It is

not the city that is imperfect in relation with the way it was

planned, but that the city as an expression of reality, enriched

in its come about, results more valuable than the dream of

who planned it.

From its starting point, architectural and urban proposes

could be sensitive to those emotional qualities that define the

city as hope, melancholy, expectation, anger, memory and

oblivion. Invisible lines that produce meaning support the

complexity and interconnection of the different places and

relationships that constitute the city. We cannot ignore the

emotional charge of certain places of our cities. The physical

expressions of historical events are present in the scars that

we can study to understand the social processes that underlie

still. The use of historical processes is more understandable if

we study them through the emotional processes triggered at

the moment in its population. At the same time, the physical

form of cities cause its inhabitants a series of emotions that

are possible, at least, to foresee.

Cities have the memory of confined emotions that are

complex, contradictory and, in most cases, ambiguous. We

could try to ignore all these emotions, but they will helplessly

define the physical and cultural structure of our cities beyond

the whim of its designers and governors.

Cristina López Uribe

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BÍTACORA ARQUITECTURA Número 37, julio-noviembre 2017 es una publicación cuatrimestral, editada por la Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Ciudad Universitaria, Delegación Coyoacán, C.P. 04510, Ciudad de México, a través de la Coordinación editorial de la Facultad de Arquitectura, Circuito Escolar s/n, Ciudad Universitaria, Delegación Coyoacán, Ciudad de México, C.P. 04510, teléfono: 56 22 03 18. URL: Correo: Editora responsable de la revista digital: Cristina López Uribe. Certificado de Reserva de Derechos al uso Exclusivo del Título No. en trámite. ISSN-e: 2594-0856, ambos otorgados por el Instituto Nacional del Derecho de Autor. Responsable de la última actualización de este número, Coordinación Editorial de la Facultad de Arquitectura, Circuito Escolar s/n, Ciudad Universitaria, Delegación Coyoacán, Ciudad de México, C.P. 04510, tel: 56220318, Fecha de la última modificación: 08 de marzo de 2018.

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