Urban performance between the imagined, the measured, and the experienced

Salama, Ashraf M. and Grierson, David (2019) Urban performance between the imagined, the measured, and the experienced. Open House International, 44 (1). pp. 4-7. ISSN 0168-2601

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A multitude of diverse attributes is required for effective urban performance at various scales ranging from the immediate context of public buildings to central urban spaces, and from urban corridors to residential neighbourhoods. Following their earlier works (GRIERSON, 2014; MUNRO and GRIERSON, 2016; SALAMA, 2011; SALAMA and WIEDMANN, 2013; and SALAMA et al., 2016) the guest editors frame these qualities under a cycle of three main symbiotic pillars: the imagined, the measured, and the experienced, which contribute to the development of insights that elucidate various parameters for exploring urban performance. These three pillars stem from the Lefebvrian arguments and his theory on the production of space, which postulates a triadic relationship of three different but related types of spaces: the conceived (Imagined), the perceived (measured) and the lived (experienced). Primarily, Lefebvre defined ‘conceived space’ as the space which is theorised by scientists and planners, known as ‘representations of space’, representations that are intangible and are entrenched in the principles, imperatives, beliefs and visions of experts, decision makers, and those who are in a position to impose their personal notion of ‘order’ onto concrete reality. The second is ‘perceived space’, the space of ‘spatial practice’ defined as the space where movement and interaction takes place, where networks develop and materialise. Consequently, it includes both daily routines at an individual level and urban realities such as the networks that link places designated for work, leisure and ‘private’ life (LEFEBVRE, 1991, p. 38). The third is ‘lived space’, which is explained as the unconscious, non-verbal direct relation between people and space. This is the space that is occupied through associated images and symbols (LEFEBVRE, 1991, p. 39). The current body of knowledge on Lefebvre’s work suggests that the ‘conceived space’ is abstract and tactical and where authority functions, the ‘perceived space’ is a pragmatic, physical space encompassing flows of investment, workforce, and information and that this where the conceived and lived spaces are construed. Salama and Wiedmann (2013) suggest that the ‘lived space’ is the most subjective space, involving the actual experience of individuals that is performed in the ‘perceived space’ and as a result of the ‘conceived space’. In our call for papers, the premise was that contributions to this issue of Open House International (OHI) would address the way in which decision-making processes, led by policy makers and discipline experts, contribute to successful urban environments; how the social and spatial practices of key actors (investors, developers, and users) manifest diverse urban activities; and how users attach to places and identify with their surroundings as a basis for social and spatial justice. Contributions were expected to address one of the three pillars while offering implications on the other two. In response we have received more than 40 abstracts, and subsequently identified 19 for further development into full papers towards submission for review. The outcome of a rigorous review process concluded with the identification of 11 papers published in this issue. Addressing various contexts in Europe and the Middle East, the papers represent diverse efforts undertaken by committed scholars in universities and academic institutions in Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Libya, Qatar, Spain, Turkey, and the United Kingdom. ___________________________________________________ Please see more in the attached editorial document


Salama, Ashraf M. and Grierson, David ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4070-9909;