I’ve come realize that I have a fascination with the built environment. In truth, in the purest form, I am always thinking of the same thing: the built environment and social change. This is why I have so many interests ranging from banlieues to infrastructure. The intersections of the physical and the social interest me because they can seem so separate from each other. One materially fixed and the other ethereal and fluid but
their convergence and the impression of one on the other, of material reality on human perception, beginning with the elemental of the senses seems like a fruitful undertaking. From the senior paper I wrote as an undergrad on the manipulation of the built environment in university campuses to stifle social movements to this dissertation on the railroad infrastructures and their use before and during the Mexican Revolution, all along I have been writing about the same thing but with different elements. Let’s see where it goes…
Elements in the built environment have spatial position or location as a fundamental rather than an incidental attribute. They therefore have to be built or assembled in situ on the land so that land and the appropriation of land rent become significant. Furthermore, the usefulness of particular elements depends upon their location relative to others–shops, housing, schools and factories must all be reasonably proximate to each other. The whole question of the spatial ordering of the built environment has then to be considered; the decision where to put one element cannot be divorced from the ‘where’ of others.
The built environment has to be regarded, then, as a geographically ordered, complex, composite commodity.
- Harvey reminds us… (transportgeo.wordpress.com)