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Inspiring Texts  

Psychogeography is: [our definition]:
analysis of neighbourhood behaviours related to the geographic location.
a chronological process based on the order of appearance of the observed topics with a time delayed inclusion of relevant instances.

Two articles: [Psychogeography and the Backpedaler] and [The Cycling Psychogeographer: Getting Started] written for Pedal magazine by Bill Humber.

Psychogeography, as understood here, is the active search for, and celebration of, chance and coincidence, concurrently with the divination of patterns and repetitions thrown up by the [meeting/collision] of the chaos and structures of cities, personal histories and interpretations. It is based on the technique of the "dérive", an informed and aware wandering, with continuous observation, through varied environments. It can be sought and can lead anywhere.

Since the late 1970s psychogeographic analysis has become one of the cornerstones of postmodern geography and one of the hallmarks of postmodern writing on the city. The technique of the dérive is paralleled by the readers's drift through cyberspace using hypertext. The internet is thus an ideal medium for both the documenting of a psychogeographical project, whilst also opening up fresh multivalent navigable spaces to perpetuate the continuous drift called for by Chtcheglov in 1953.

On 26th of August 2001 performed the first experiment in algorithmic pedestrian culture as a new methodology in psychogeographical action research into all aspects of the urban condition. The initial results were powerful & suggested such a large field of possible research that could not do it on our own & therefore declared our algorithm 'open source'.

1)Creativity and innovation always built on the past .
2) The past always tries to control the creativity that builds upon it.
3) Free societies enable the future by limiting the power of the past.
4) Ours is less and less a free society.

Wherever you are & whoever you are: have a look at all the different sites, join in on the further development of generative psychogeography, take these ideas as the jumping board for your own activities. Be creative.
Cheers, Social Fiction, October 2002 =>

A mode of experimental behavior linked to the conditions of urban society: a technique of transient passage through various ambiances. Also used to designate a specific period of continuous dériving.
-Internationale Situationniste. #1. June, 1958. 13-14

Attempting to orchestrate the dérives into a more programmatic and statistically valid exploration of the urban texture and ambiance.
Dérive = French for drift. The city currents. Roots in Dada and Surrealism. Bring Benjamin and Virilio in.
A. Issue of connectivity and identity - how does the downtown drift into the neighborhoods? Is it an abrupt or a smooth transition? Is an ecotone created? [what use are metaphors, really?]
B. Where does downtown actually begin?
a. Physically vs. perceptually - "Downtown begins over the lilac bush at the end of my street." "Downtown exists anywhere that I can see the Firstar building"
» Neighborhood after neighborhood becoming designated as historical districts and thus accepting even more restrictions on future construction. This is an artificial freezing of time, a halting of natural urban ecology that consequently has the effect of transforming Milwaukee into an open-air museum of past architectural achievements. While the desire for preservation and memory is commendable, this tendency points toward stultification of the novel and contemporary; it is a false attempt to hold onto a lost past through external structure alone. This process sets up a disjunction between the internal individual environment, technological change and the various forms that it assumes, as well as constructed space. We ask: How can one become modern while living in a 19th century space?

I totally disagree with this statement!!! We have to be modern living not only in the 19th or 11th century space but in the space that respects past as a base for any future development. Evaluation and exploration in the beginning of any planning process should be directed toward connectivity with the predecessors.
Aleksandar J.

Whether called agora, forum, piazza, plaza, Platz, platea, piata, námesti, rynek, trg or market place the main square has been a distinguishing characteristic of European cities in one form or another for over two thousand years. During the eleventh, twelfth and thirteenth centuries hundreds of market squares were created as the center of new European cities from Spain to Sweden and from Belgium to Hungary. The medieval market place fostered the development of community, culture and democracy…
Sociability is the basis of many of the activities and events that make social life on the square joyful and meaningful. In these sociable interactions people do not encounter each other in terms of specific roles, as for instance employer-employee, or cashier-customer, but as complete human beings. The status of each, their social or economic position, knowledge or fame is not as important as personal qualities, graciousness, cordiality and charm (Simmel). In this sense sociability makes for more democratic relations…
If these important social functions of the European square are not understood, and if mechanisms are not found to protect the traditional multi-functional character of the European square, a powerful context for socialization, acculturation, and democratization of society will be lost.
© Suzanne H. Crowhurst Lennard. December 2004.

As said: to understand the city it is enough to study it's distinctions. The reason for distinction & that what it is distinctive with, might differ for every psychogeographers but what matters is that they all identify the same place as being distinct. In certain occasions however the psychogeogram might well beget more depth by taking in account the nature of the distinction.
Urban Policies and the Right to the City, Public Debate, 18 March 2005
... 2. The Right to the City is defined as the equable enjoyment of the cities while respecting the principles of sustainability, democracy and social justice, and is a collective right of all city inhabitants especially the vulnerable and disfavoured on whom is further conferred legality for such actions and organisation as their culture and custom suggests as a means of achieving the complete enjoyment of the right to an adequate standard of living. The Right to the City is interdependent to all recognised international human rights; and its conception is based on an integral view, which includes civil, political, economic, social, cultural and environmental rights enshrined in the international Human Rights Treaties. It includes also the right to liberty of association and organisation; the respect for minorities and racial, ethnic, sexual and cultural plurality; respect for immigrants; and the guarantee of preservation of historical and cultural heritages...

UN-HABITAT’s Global Campaign on Urban Governance - complete text
The ability to attract creative people in arts and culture fields and to be open to diverse groups of people of different ethnic, racial and lifestyle groups provides distinct advantages to regions in generating innovations, growing and attracting high-technology industries, and spurring economic growth.”
Competing on Creativity: Placing Ontario’s Cities in a North American Context
Meric Gertler and Richard Florida, November 2002

There is a spectre haunting Europe, nay, the world. The spectre of psychogeography. For 30 years the fingers of the stranglehold of tradition have, one by one, been peeled back by the eruption of exciting new non-Euclidean psycho-social spaces. Rock and Roll, the permissive society, a new liberalism existing in the social sphere have all provided a decompression chamber where the pent-up frustrations engendered by class society can be productively put to use in the engine rooms of new design, new fashion and faddish revolt. Centred upon youth as a source of naivety, the vital forces of the collective imagination are channelled into an economic subsistence, which provides a pool of talent amongst which established organisations and businesses can fish for new faces and new ideas. However, as the Gay Liberation Front has given way to the ‘Pink Pound’, as the Black Panthers have been replaced by the Fruits of Islam, as the delusions of Mao-tse-tung have been superseded by the Shanghai Stock Exchange, so the integration of non-Euclidean psychosocial space into a post-Newtonian mechanics is faced by the emergence of an anti-Euclidean opposition which will rekindle the fires of revolt with the matchsticks of metaphor. By drawing upon ancient songlines which reassert themselves within the modern urban environment, psychogeography as the practical application of antiEuclidean psycho-geometry offers the third pole in the triolectic between the false universalism of modernism and the universal virtuality of post-modernism.
Psychogeography is universalism with attitude. It is universalism which does not seek to express itself in words, which remains nothing more than signposts in the wilderness. Psychogeography investigates the intersection of time and space, and hence attacks science at its point of weakness - the replicability of results. Psychogeography is the universalism of the specific, of the particular, i.e. at its point of dissolution.
Psychogeography places itself beyond democracy. There is no process of sifting through everyone’s experience of daily life to reproduce it as a soap opera, a political programme or a college doctorate. There is not so much an immersion of private life in the social sphere, but an invasion of the public sphere by the passions which have hitherto been confined to the privatised world of the atomised individual. Whereas democracy synthesises the desires of the citizens, psychogeography is one antithetical pole among many which realises the conflict between our idealised role as citizens and our subjectivity arising from the material conditions of our life. By suspending the ‘common sense’ as we move from location to location in our daily life, we can rediscover the wilderness within the city. By exploring those areas we have no good reason to be in, we can discover the reasons we are constrained to certain areas.

But this layer of psychogeographical activity soon reveals other layers. Questions of gender, of race, of access for people with disabilities soon arise. Any specific locality does not have a unique character. It is not just that a woman may relate differently to a place than a man, but that a woman’s presence (or even the presence of a horde of women) can transform that place. Normality no longer functions as a global variable, it can only exist as the production of the functioning of a particular power at a particular place. The restructuring of capital has displaced the linear organisation of power with a cybernetic web of centres of excellence which survive a idyllic islands in a sea of chaos. Access to such locations is the product of wealth, and poverty is the exclusion from even the simplest forms of shelter, food and sociability.

Psychogeography is not a substitute for class struggle, but a tool of class struggle. When kids from council estates wander into posh housing areas they are immediately harassed by the police. They get accused of being burglars even before they had a chance to break into the first house. The police impose a rationality: they force us to explain why we are at a particular place. They only accept conventional explanations in terms of economic activity (even visiting relatives boils down to economics, as the family is precisely the conjunction of private life with the economic sphere). Psychogeography is always an uneconomic, even anti-economic, activity.

The publications of the London Psychogeographical Association forthrightly present a reconstruction of urban life using the principles of anti-Euclidean psychogeometry. We shall always present our material in the rhetoric of the most rigid dogmatism, as the greatest care in its development always ensures the rigour necessary for the presentation of correct ideas. Some critics have derived from this that we seek to assert our unique viewpoint as determinant over social reality, or that we wish to compete with rival social determinations. Such critics clearly have failed to understand what we are doing. Our publications are always secondary in relation to the more pressing concern of psychogeographic activity itself.

Box 15, 138 Kingsland High St
London, E8 2N5, England
two documents created by fysian province, nederland, regarding shared spaces, naked streets and woonerfs.

They are changing it from a concrete process of infrastructure and buildings to an imagined one of narrative and identity; they are exchanging the idea of a place for a place itself. In an urban realm already treathened by privatization–not just by developers but by a broader trend toward place-making as marketing–IDEO's approach could be seen to further erode the idea of city-building as a democratic process (if it ever was) because of the way it applies the shiny language of marketing to the gritty mixed-up world of the city.
IDEO's urban pre-planning; metropilis magazine, page 115, october 2006
by V.S. Ramachandran
It's a fair assumption that the identity of your conscious experience (including your "I") depends on the information content of your brain, "software" representing millions of years of accumulated evolutionary wisdom, your cultural milieu, and your personal memories; not on the particular atoms that currently constitute your brain. You can't actually prove this logically, no more than you can prove that you are not dreaming right now, but it seems "beyond reasonable doubt" given everything else we know. After all your actual brain atoms and molecules get replaced every few months yet you wouldn't want to insist you are existentially reborn each time and stop planning for what (in such a view) would essentially be an identical twin in the future.

Mirror neurons and the simulation theory of mind-reading
Vittorio Gallese, a and Alvin Goldman
What might be the functional role of this matching system? One possible function is to enable an organism to detect certain mental states of observed conspecifics. This function might be part of, or a precursor to, a more general mind-reading ability. Two different accounts of mind-reading have been suggested. According to ‘theory theory', mental states are represented as inferred posits of a naive theory. According to ‘simulation theory', other people's mental states are represented by adopting their perspective: by tracking or matching their states with resonant states of one's own. The activity of mirror neurons, and the fact that observers undergo motor facilitation in the same muscular groups as those utilized by target agents, are findings that accord well with simulation theory but would not be predicted by theory theory.
International Making City Livable goals for the next 20 years:
* Rebuild community by replacing sprawl with compact, human scale urban fabric
* Recognize and combat the negative impact of our built environment on physical, social and mental health
* Adopt planning and urban design decisions that will make our cities more livable for children and the elderly
* Emphasize ethical land use patterns to reduce extreme economic disparities
* Strengthen compact urban neighborhoods to maintain diversity of ethnic and cultural identity
* Build multifunctional town squares that, like the ancient Greek agora or medieval marketplace, are capable of regenerating civic engagement and democratic participation.

We agree with Lewis Mumford that contact among diverse inhabitants, and the dialogue that ensues in the city's public places (its streets and squares) is the "ultimate expression of life in the city".
Public places are not owned by special groups, nor dedicated to special purposes; they do not impose restrictions on their use, so long as one person's use does not limit anyone else's. (Feldtkeller)
Frequent meetings, encounters and exchanges of ideas among citizens – these qualities of the public realm are a fundamental requirement for citizens' well-being. (Aristotle)
A well-functioning public realm serves multiple important functions:
It builds social capital by cementing social relations through repeated contact among inhabitants in multiple overlapping role relationships.
The public realm at its best is an incomparable teacher of social skills and attitudes; children and youth learn through observation, imitation and participation how to relate and behave with a diversity of others (young and old, poor and well-to-do, healthy or disabled).
In bringing inhabitants together the public realm contributes to a more democratic way of life and encourages all to linger, share observations and perspectives, and thereby humanizes all who participate.
We can learn from traditional cities that still have strong communities how the specific design of streets and squares can encourage a rich public life, and how the form of buildings and their relationship to the street can support this.

If the city is the second most important invention of mankind, as Lewis Mumford maintained, then the multifunctional square is the most important invention of traditional town planning.
The medieval marketplace is still the heart of most European cities and towns, the center of economic, civic, social and cultural life, providing multiple reasons for people to talk to each other, to work together, to coordinate activities, to prepare for community festivals, and to celebrate together.
The square is a public space, an inclusive space – no one can be kept out - so unlike shopping malls, the square is fundamentally a democratic space.
As the natural setting for civic engagement it is important that City Hall is located on the square. Its visibility reminds citizens of the value of civic engagement and keeps representatives in close contact with their constituents.
The square that functions as a market place in the morning, a place for outdoor cafes and restaurants through the afternoon and evening, quiet and peaceful on some days, and on other days the setting for festivals, street musicians and theatrical performances, a ceremonial civic stage, and a playground for children --- this is a square that brings all the diverse members of the community together in one place.
The art of creating a genuine mixed use square that fosters community and civic engagement has been lost since the Middle Ages: it involves not only the design of the space, but also the design of the built fabric around it, organization of building uses, and pattern of events and celebrations on the square. But, if we value social life, community and democratic decision making then we must rediscover this art. Given the present circumstances this may be the most important challenge facing North American cities today.

Great site. [] Very interesting. I work at NYC DOT and we're soon to launch a new Plaza Program, to build more plazas in NYC, so I've very into this topic. Your work is superb. Keep it up. I plan on perusing your site very thoroughly.
All best, Vaidila Kungys

Jun 16, 2008, at 7:29 AM, [conversation on the WWP group chat] Bostjan Burger wrote:
Journalists of that radio went to USA and did a research how are citisens of US familiar with that "tiny country- but at the moment (still) the head of the EU [Slovenia]" are resoults:
:) Bostjan Burger [Slovenia]

> But... citisens of US don't panic... it was similar research in Vienna (capital of Austria...that is Europe...70% of the asked people had not a clue where is Ljubljana (capital of Slovenia) and 25% with no idea where is Slovenia...
> Conclusion: more popularity of WWP - more geography knowledge...
Very amusing, as well as disturbing. Geographic knowledge is at an all time low in the US.
Of course, Las Vegas may not be the best place to look for well-educated people. :-)
Education is one of the valuable contributions of the WWP. I would love to see more contributors from some under-represented areas, especially Africa.
Landis Bennet [US]
This may be a blessing in disguise - the less well-known your place is, the less interference you may expect :-(
Ury Cogan [BC, Canada]
This is an ultimate IRONY! World is in a pinnacle of the need for cooperation and understanding and US, the most powerful country in the world is shifting apart. I am communicating with a lot of people around the globe regarding public squares and other urban issues and sharing experiences is spreading like a virus. That's the only way for the world to survive. Lets hope that US will be infected too with the little help of WWP.
Aleksandar Janicijevic [Canada - Serbia -]
Thanks Aleksandar - what great words!
Maybe 'some people' start thinking about these sentences....
Josh von Staudach [Germany] .

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