Last Friday, THIS IS MY CITY 09-event was launched with a full day field trip along a selection of scenic Macau’s skyline spots. The Urban Panorama Workshop, a collaboration between MovingCities and Nuno Soares, made possible by Cultural Association +853, explored Macau’s urban image by taking the rooftops as locales for observation and interpretation.
Conceptually, the workshop explored lines of research and urban investigation set out in Kevin Lynch’s crucial “The Image of the City“-publication (MIT Press, 1960). Almost half a century after him postulated a series of insights and propositions into the empirical reading of the city, it is more than relevant to reconsider these in the context of rapid developing cities. In search for the spatial characteristics of Macau we have been looking into its image, much alike the three components Lynch identified:
An environmental image may be analyzed into three components: identity, structure, and meaning. It is useful to abstract these for analysis, if it is remembered that in reality they always appear together. A workable image requires first the identification of an object, which implies its distinction from other things, its recognition as a separable entity. This is called identity, not in the sense of equality with something else, but with the meaning of individuality or oneness. Second, the image must include the spatial or pattern relation of the object to the observer and to other objects. Finally, this object must have some meaning for the observer, whether practical or emotional. Meaning is also a relation, but quite a different one from spatial or pattern relation.
The movement through Macau led to a first mental map which was both Kevin Lynch -isch and David Lynch -isch in nature; structures twisted and turned being at once dominant, at other times distant and as we toured we tried to deal with the perceptual and perpetual collision of different skylines in one single image. Needless to tell we tried to do the impossible, but along the way we collected evidence, the base material onto which to work further upon the next day.
Part I – the morning tour – started at Albergue SCM from where we walked to Tap Seac Square to catch our fandango-colored bus. First stop was the Macau Tower Convention and Entertainment Center, the world’s 10th tallest free-standing tower featuring an 360º observation level, 223m above ground. Followed by a visit to the rooftop of a housing block in Penha, at Rua do Padre António, and ending at Monte Fortress, which was build in the early seventeenth century. Part II of the city tour will follow suit.
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THIS IS MY CITY, this is my skyline!
Pictures by movingcities.org