Perspective vision and prospective vision constitute the twofold projection of an
opaque past and an uncertain future onto a surface that can be dealt with.

This article is a reflection of Michel De Certeau, The Practice of Everyday Life, 1984 – “Concept of the City to Urban Practices,” and “Spaces and Places”. This above quote from the author helps us understand the current spaces and design for the future or to speculate or predict probable scenarios which we can design better for. I would like to reiterate the author’s threefold operation to found a city:

  1. The production of its own space
  2. The substitution of a synchronic system
  3. The creation of a universal and anonymous subject which is the city itself

I believe the author uses prospective vision for the first two, where the city needs to develop its attributes and nature so that it can stand the test of time and tradition, protests and other negative factors from within. He addresses the third point with a perspective vision that these attributes define the city and is the city itself.

The author slightly rocks the boat of contradiction here with his own definition by saying, that some elements may turn to waste if they fall within these attributes or pockets of a city, but then, they are a part of the city and the city is better, if it indeed can maintain a dynamic nature to accumulate all of its offspring concepts, than abandon it. He continues to say that a city indeed ‘progresses’ if it can contain these abandonments. So as I read, summarize and reflect on this article with its difficult text, I get a sense of a to-and-fro motion – like a wave. As in, the city is built by the citizen,  but this relationship generates an attribute to the city, that drives the city and thereby affects each citizen, and this sets the steady wave motion that preserves the very concept of the city.

It would surely have been hard for me to give a word to my reflection here, but with the discussion in class, I can now see how the author is drawing the concept of the ‘subconscious’ of the city.

Perhaps cities are deteriorating along with the procedures that organized them.

I have to state this example here. Take a country, well, a city-country like Singapore – a city I visited in 2016-17 – while everything is clean, organized and well set, this comes at a price where even though people aren’t subject to unfair laws, the stringent daily behavior, guidelines, queues, ‘established methods’ among others build an imaginary prison of sorts. When humans are exposed and conditioned to work or behave in a certain ‘norm’, it is more likely to develop into a self-unconscious prison.

Connecting the Concept of the City to Urban Practices to Spaces and Places, there is no better image or concept that comes to my mind to illustrate this, than of the ‘settler‘ in the strategy game series of ‘Civilization‘. This is a game where one builds his civilization right from ancient to space age and competes with other civilizations for conquest, the space race, invention race, etc. The game starts with a settler, few workers, and few soldiers to guard them all… especially the settler – the only one who can lay the foundation for a city. To build your first city, and to stay on strong with a long-standing civilization you need to found your cities wisely – hence settler needs to explore the ‘spaces‘ around him and then build the city in a particular ‘place‘ establishing the best possible future course of progress for the civilization.