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The Psychology of Urbanity in Berlin: Urban Fieldwork and Photographic Essay

10 Feb
Top view of Berlin from Postdamer Platz Kollhoff-Tower

Picture 1. Top view of Berlin from Postdamer Platz Kollhoff-Tower


One way to comprehend a city like Berlin is to look at it “from afar and above” as I did from the Panoramapunkt at Postdamer Platz Kollhoff-Tower (Hubbard, 2006, p. 97). From the Kollhoff-Tower Berlin looked like an ideally planned and rational metropolis because buildings and roads evoked a sense of a geometric perfection (see Picture 1). From this altitude I transferred into a voyeur who might be merely aware of the physical mechanisms of the city. To conceive Berlin as thoroughly as possible without a pretense of total generalization, I spend four days promenading the city. From below I engaged with city cultures, confronted issues of inclusion and exclusion, and perceived the psychology of the city. How does urbanity – both city life and (development of) urban areas – influence and is influenced by the dwellers in Berlin – one’s identity, attitudes, cognition, behavior, relationships, and imagination? What are the mechanism of inclusion and exclusion of people? How are some cultures (re)presented in the city landscape? I attempt to answer the above questions by means of photographs and interviews that documented some sides of urbanity in Berlin. Continue reading


Logic of expulsion

5 Nov
Saskia Sassen at Radboud University

Saskia Sassen at Radboud University

There is a major flow of the very foundations of the neoliberal democracy. Saskia Sassen, who I knew from my course readings about global cities, discussed tonight at Radboud University the flows of dynamic systems like the neoliberal democracy and finance. I was delighted to hear her critique and more about the genealogy of producing two distinct kinds of subjects by those systems. On the one hand is the privileged one and on the other hand is the neglected one.

Sassen brought together particularities such as displaced, unemployed, migrants, citizenship and so on by using the term logic of expulsion. She argued — positioning herself at the periphery, the borders of the systems — that there were mechanism on a global level through which those systems realized their hegemonic projects. Sassen used the less violent word expulsion to stress that some process are obscure and not taken seriously as a threat. According to her particularities may not fully uncover the whole story.

She talked about the global housing market, the economic crisis, mathematical algorithms, the government state and a many more interesting issues. I liked her  critique of the citizenship. She argued that the neoliberal democracy and the accompanying it dynamic systems turned people into consumers of their citizenship. She said that citizenship should be exercised, claimed and constitute one’s virtue.

Although her power point slides were not brilliant,  her speech was well delivered and she had a warm-hearted attitude toward her audience. In the end the audience was engaged in a discussion through which Sasses elaborated on more issues such as some failed projects (i.e. ghost cities) and some promising projects (i.e. Occupy movement, the Right to the City etc).

Light, sound and innovative expo in Nijmegen

28 Oct

I was thrilled with joy while visiting the Oddstream Multimedia Festival in Valkhofpark, Nijmegen. A lot of artists, innovators, musicians and citizens interacted at this event full of creativity. The festival housed peculiar artistic forms such as the light flowers and “The Value of a Fragment” which the public could contemplate free of charge.  I was fascinated from the light and sound show which was displayed on the old church in the park. Undoubtedly I was also nicely surprised to see a 3D printer and how it printed a solid three dimensional object from a digital model.

Light Flowers

Light Flowers

The Value of a Fragment - the art creates a visual illusion

The Value of a Fragment – the art creates a visual illusion

light and sound show

light and sound show

3D printer

3D printer

From Nijmegen to Portland and Back

25 Aug

If you have ever witnessed a man in a kilt and a Dart Vader mask playing the bagpipes on a unicycle, you’ve most probably been to Portland, OR.

The city I’d never thought I would visit, I did not want to leave.

My story begins in Nijmegen, the Netherlands. On a sunny day in August 2011 I met my interdisciplinary think-thank for the first time to work on the project Urban Regions in the Deltas.  Together with folks from the Netherlands,  the USA, Germany, Sweden and Indonesia, I examined wicket problem and frameworks for sustainable development in urban delta regions. To finalize the project,  I was sent for one week to Portland in April 2012 by Radboud Honours Academy.

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Cities would remain an enduring legacy

28 Mar

Within a human lifetime, the face of Earth has been transformed. Cities now dominate the landscape, and even if people disappeared tomorrow, cities would remain one of the Anthropocene’s most visible and enduring legacies.

Delta cities – adaptation to rapid change

28 Mar

Not until recently I became discovering the myriad problems which delta cities experience. Being part of international think thank dealing with wicked problems* in urban delta areas, I encountered many challenges for water management, urban planning, economy, heath, culture and politics.

Delta cities are centers for growing population and they are especially vulnerable to rising of water sea levels due to climate change. Consequently, millions of people are exposed to the risk of extreme floods and storms.

Despite the numerous attempts of humankind to tame nature, it is now time to think differently, share knowledge and embrace adaptation approach to deal with the rapid changes in urban delta areas. The two videos present the problems of delta cities and the importance of adaptation.


*wicked problems –  problems so complex that any solution leads to new issues because of complex feedback effects, where even the best option cannot ultimately resolve the problem, but will expose further issues requiring attention.

The Geography of Metrosexualism

15 Jan
New York - a global city

New York – a global city

New York is a global city which has been conceptualized as a site for complex global networks of governmental and non-governmental organizations, markets, business, and migrants (Kim, 2008). Global cities, or also known as world cities, are characterized by the FIRE sector – finance, insurance and real estates that generate large profit margins.  Not only global cities have become special kinds of spaces for generation of capital, but also have they become a crucial site for the construction of a socio-cultural identity and lifestyle of metrosexualism (Knox, 2002).

The aim of my post is to give insights on why the culture of the metrosexual occurred in the global city. I will hypothesize on how the epidemic of metrosexualism started by discussing the importance of David Beckham for promoting the lifestyle. The agents of various urban forms in the global city are important part of the discussion alongside with Castells’ (1984) theory of urban social change.

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