Sense of the City: Proximity and Mobility

How does mobility become a state of being for people? How do people make mobile places and spaces? The mobile people and the places comprising a mobile milieu affirm each other. These inter-relationships can be studied as processes. Processes resist affirming to design, and the reciprocation between “mobile subjects” and the “mobile places” form dynamic patterns. How do we understand the dynamics of cities through mobile subjects and mobile places? Secondly, processes have a direction though not a pre-given destination. The mobile subject is not just a social subject but a “socio-technical” one as he/she interacts with the pervasive technologies of the plan and infrastructural design. I consider technologies of everyday use such as mobiles, cars, and mass transit systems as becoming milieu to etch out the mobile subject. I consider the interaction of people, places, and modes of transport as inter-relational units. Through this I attempt to understand how practices comprise the dynamics of mobilities and can orient the expansion of the city.

Appropriating the Past

Joseph Schumpeter’s notion of creative destruction permeates discussion of plant closures, capitalist landscapes, and urban crises. Yet what of destructive creation? Through ruins photography and luxury loft apartments, urban exploration and downtown revitalization are radically altering the landscape, memory, and market base of Detroit, colonizing the city’s industrial past and separating the emotion of history from its lived experiences. These markets strip buildings of their history and workers of their voices, focusing instead on sublime awe, aesthetic qualities, and middle-and upper-class residence and entertainment. This appropriation positions the city between a dual past of industrial might and abject decay, and an uncertain future promising profound changes how we conceive of an authentic Detroit.

Sustainable Retail Spaces: Establishing the Profile of a "Green Population"

This paper surfaces and describes the “green” population—those who, by their attitudes and/or personal behaviours, align with a sustainable social agenda. It reveals their expectations in relation to sustainable retail environments. The literature is used to identify dimensions that influence individual attitudes and consequent behaviours, in relation to environmental issues, particularly in relation to home and retail environments. These are then used to inform the conduct of eight focus groups of consumers in two tightly defined geographical areas, containing a mix of retail centre types, which are subsequently subjected to telephone surveys. Each investigation is analysed using appropriate qualitative or quantitative techniques and the results thereafter triangulated. It was found that the concept of the “green” shopper is an oversimplification, with various shades of green existing. These variations arise as a consequence of age, gender, household income, occupation, and level of education and are reflected in personal attitudes and beliefs, as well as behaviours at home and expectations of sustainable retail spaces. The designs for environmentally sustainable retail spaces are only economically sustainable if they are socially acceptable. Understanding the individual nature of the ‘green’ shopper, and the size of the ‘green’ shopper population, is central to decision-making in this regard. This research is believed to be the first critical analysis of what constitutes the ‘green’ population in terms of retail environments.