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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

Introduction

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

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Jambo Africa!

7 Apr

Jambo Africa!

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Welcome to Africa! It is mesmerizing, but it is not real! This is a mere copy of Africa situated in the forest near the Dutch city Nijmegen. The Afrika Museum in Berg en Dal simulates an exotic experience and celebrates the commodification of culture. Visitors seem to enjoy walking inside the recreated settlements of several African countries. I wonder whether the kinds, who were happily running around, will learn that the neoliberal logic impacted the indigenous culture in Africa. It is a pity that one day some cultures might only be found in museums such as those.

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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