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Sensory and imaginary city mapping: methods of engaging with public urban spaces for cultural, physical, social and solitary leisure 
Louise Todd (Edinburgh Napier University)
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Urban Space
Monday 14 September, 14:30-16:00, 16:30-18:00

Short Abstract:

As complex and dynamic phenomena, cities are understood through inhabitants' and visitors' embodied experiences and mental images. With growth in the density of cities, and impacts upon public urban space, this panel explores sensory and imaginary methods for mapping cities' public leisure spaces.

Long Abstract

More than half of the world's population lives in urban areas and by 2050 this proportion is expected to rise to 68% (United Nations, 2018). Cities and their inhabitants are central to anthropological and geographic practices and tend to be understood in terms of spatial, material and social characteristics. Urban planning, design, and infrastructure are at the core of contemporary cities' development and growth, with emphasis upon economic activity, diversity and ecology. As cities become more densely populated, this panel considers inhabitants' and visitors' engagement with public urban space for cultural, physical, social and solitary leisure purposes. It will explore the use of sensory and imaginary methods in mapping such spaces. These may include psychogeographic approaches, peripatetic walking, interpretive tours, or visually recording spaces through drawing, photography; oral and aural approaches; alongside other forms of sensory and imaginary mapping. Taking an interdisciplinary perspective themes may include, but are not limited to:

-Engagement with public spaces in cities for leisure: parks, tourism, heritage, visitor attractions, festivals, events, sports, entertainment

-Methods of mapping cities' leisure spaces: ethnographies, interpreted tours, mythologies, psychogeography, activism, sensory walking, visual art, photography, sound, music, self-tracking data, etc.

-The senses in consuming or engaging with cities' public leisure spaces: sight, hearing, smell, taste, touch.

-Sensory and imaginary public leisure spaces in cities: travelling/travelled, cityscapes, maps, panoramas, histories, presents, futures.

Reference: United Nations (2018) The 2018 Revision of World Urbanization Prospects produced by the Population Division of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs.

Accepted papers: