A "Grid" of Spatial Practices

David Henry on Lefebvre. From http://www.eng.fju.edu.tw/Literary_Criticism/postmodernism/postmo_urban/harvey_on_lefebvre.htm

1. Accessibiliy and distanciation . . . distance is both a barrier to, and a defense against, human interaction. It imposes transaction costs upon any system of production and reproduction (particularly those based on any elaborate social division of labour, trade, and social differentiation of reproductive functions).

The appropriation of space examines the way in which space is occupied by objects (house, factories, streets, etc.), activities (land uses), individuals, classes, or other social groupings. . . .

The domination of space [by individuals or powerful groups] Systematized and institutionalized appropriation may entail the production of territorially bounded forms of social solidarity.

The production of space examines how new systems of land use, transport and communications, territorial organization, etc. are produced, and how new modes of representation (e.g. information technology, computerized mapping, or design) arise. --[a narrow definition]
[From Harvey's definitions, individual agents' spatial practices belong more to the second and the third kind.]

"My purpose [in setting up such a grid] is to find some point of entry that will allow a deeper discussion of the shifting experience of space in the history of modernism and postmodernism.
The grid of spatial practices can tell us nothing important by itself. To suppose so would be to accept the idea that there is some universal spatial language independent of spatial practices. Spatial practices derive their efficacy in social life only through the structure of social relations within which they come into play. Under the social relations of capitalism, for example, the spatial practices portrayed in the grid become imbued with class meanings." (boldface added; 222-23)


Accessibility and Distanciation

Appropriation and Use of Space

Domination and Control of Space

Production of Space

Material Spatial Practices (experience)

  • flows of goods, money, people, labour power, information, etc.
  • transport and communications systems
  • market and urban hierarchies
  • agglomeration
  • land uses and built environments
  • social spaces and other 'turf' designations
  • social networks of communication and mutual aid
  • private property in land
  • state and administrative divisions of space
  • exclusive communities and neighbourhoods
  • exclusionary zoning and other forms of social control (policing and surveillance)
  • production of physical infrastructures (transport and communications; built environments; land clearance, etc.)
  • territorial organization of social infrastructures (formal and informal)

Representations of Space (perception)

  • social, psychological and physical measures of distance
  • map-making
  • theories of the 'friction of distance' (principles of least effort, social physics, range of a good, central place and other forms of location theory)
  • personal space
  • mental maps of occupied space
  • spatial hierarchies
  • symbolic representation of spaces
  • spatial 'discourses'
  • forbidden spaces
  • 'territorial imperatives'
  • community
  • regional culture
  • nationalism
  • geopolitics
  • hierarchies
  • new systems of mapping, visual representation, communication, etc.
  • new artistic and architectural 'discourses'
  • semiotics

Spaces of Representation (imagination)

  • attraction/repulsion
  • distance/desire
  • access/denial
  • transcendence
  • 'medium is the message'
  • familiarity
  • hearth and home
  • open places
  • places of popular spectacle (streets, squares, markets)
  • iconography and graffiti, advertising
  • unfamiliarity
  • spaces of fear
  • property and possession
  • monumentality and constructed spaces of ritual
  • symbolic barriers and symbolic capital
  • construction of 'tradition'
  • spaces of repression
  • utopian plans
  • imaginary landscapes
  • science fiction ontologies and space
  • artists' sketches
  • mythologies of space and place
  • poetics of space
  • spaces of desire