Roadscapes revisited : a lens on 20th-century car infrastructure for (re)designing urban landscapes - with extended roles for photography
“To think is to speculate with images” (Aristotle, 350 BC, Giordano Bruno, 16th century, Luigi Ghirri, 1979) The 20th-century car era transformed and rescaled many cities into car infrastructure landscapes, characterised by an ambiguous heritage of infrastructure and a redrawn city map of large-meshed network grids and districts. In this dissertation, I approach contemporary Western European urban landscapes specifically through their car infrastructure – thereby applying a landscape-triad lens (i.e. area, interaction perception) – and accordingly designate such contemporary urban landscapes as roadscapes. I interpret roadscapes as the 21st-century equivalent of the 18th-century vedute, city views made famous by Italian landscape painters such as Canaletto. The photo camera and specific lenses, anticipating perception on a human scale, occur to be adequate instruments to revisit roadscapes. Which features of contemporary urban landscapes, valuable for urban landscape design in general, can be uncovered by re-reading, re-questioning and re-imagining them as roadscapes and to which extend can photography contribute to this goal? For this road trip, an interdisciplinary literature study is combined with in situ research by photography on Western European roadscapes and research by design on two specific cases in the studios of MSc students in Architecture. The main contribution of the dissertation is connecting and crossing aspects from various disciplines into three concrete interdisciplinary auxiliaries: a novel photographic method for researching the urban landscape, coined as photographic dialectic, a scenographic revisitation framework for roadscapes, applicable in multiple research and design contexts, and an extensive self-produced roadscapes photo collection, as a mnemonic visual notebook, documenting the heritage of 20th-century car infrastructure.
Antwerp : University of Antwerp, Faculty of Design Sciences , 2023
292 p.
Supervisor: Van Acker, Maarten [Supervisor]
Supervisor: De Block, Greet [Supervisor]
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Creation 05.12.2023
Last edited 12.12.2023
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