Speculative Anthropology:collective movement as sense-making for urban design

Dunn, Nicholas Simon and Dubowitz, Dan (2018) Speculative Anthropology:collective movement as sense-making for urban design. In: ASA18: Sociality, matter, and the imagination, 2018-09-182018-09-21, Examination Schools, University of Oxford. (Unpublished)

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How might we understand and make the city differently? What role do people and their collective geometries play in shaping our recording and representation of urban landscapes? This paper presents creative-critical methods that question how we directly engage with the built environment via different spatial practices. Collective movement here is positioned as a method of activating geometry, to develop material knowledge and sense-making of our environment. Spatial readings of urban environments are essential to our ability to navigate, demarcate and appropriate them for new uses. Importantly, their geometry is understood tacitly. We use the term speculative anthropology to define spatial provocations which are made temporally by human collectives in the lived world to redefine and change the nature of places. Our action-research practice of ‘collaborative urbanism’ is a means of defining and re-examining our sense of place in the world and how it can be transformed. Key to this is the plurality of different experiences and knowledges constructed through imaginative and creative engagement with urban places by participants to project and inscribe them in meaningful ways. Our paper consists of three elements: to frame our action-research practice of ‘collaborative urbanism’ in the context of Glasgow; to illustrate the findings of our practice via a short film; and to open up a dialogue concerning the insights into human aspects of geometry that collective movement in urban environments provides. To conclude we will discuss the implications for urban design that the choreography and knowledge of this practice of speculative anthropology offers.

Item Type:
Contribution to Conference (Paper)
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ASA18: Sociality, matter, and the imagination
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Deposited On:
27 Sep 2018 10:38
Last Modified:
14 Jul 2023 23:51