Brief insight into historical urban transformations: Design of public spaces vs. myth, ritual and ideology
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Since ancient times the city and its public spaces have been used in different ways: as a stage for all social processes, as an expression of culture and urban needs, and, above all, as a manifestation of power - divine, human or economic. According to this role, urban patterns, urban elements and buildings, used as urban scenery, were influenced by their historical, mythological and ideological background necessary for their sustainability and social acceptance. Today, the city is loosing its traditional values and the lack of urban identity brings new problems to the city life and to its physical structure. Inhabitants usually reject urban spaces that do not respond to their rational and irrational demands and do not fit into inherited archetypes. Thus, the main purpose of this paper is to explain the relation between urban environment (especially public places - squares, main streets and buildings around them) and its mythological and ideological base incorporated in ritual behavior.... Different examples (especially from central Europe) could help us to examine urban design and transformations through various historical periods, identify urban patterns, position and shape of public spaces and surrounding buildings, and to determine morphological elements - their identity, rhythm, directions and materialization. At the same time, the historical connection of urban space, its activities and ritual values for the community will be established and used as a standpoint for a new cognitive process. Gathered in unique synthesis, this 'sustainable circle' could be used as a method for planning and architectural practice. Its application could enable us to review and re-evaluate the inherited urban space and its built environment, improve its activation according to society's objective needs and ensure its integration into psychological codes of mankind. Consequently, urban space will keep its continuity and determine its future - the future within a sustainable frame that does not exclude people, their memories and individualities.
Keywords:city / public space / ritual / myth / continuity / society / sustainability
Source:Spatium, 2001, 7, 19-23
- Institut za arhitekturu i urbanizam Srbije, Beograd