Narrative Urban Environments: A First Theoretical and Methodological Approach

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Abstract

In this paper, a theoretical approach defining the concept of narrative characteristics of the urban environment and the development of a methodology and framework to identify and systematize them will be presented. Within this research the expression "narrative urban environment" means an urban environment that, like a novel in a book, tells a story through its tangible and intangible features such as: morphology, materials, spaces, colors, functions, lights, shadows, buildings decorations, historical traces, cultural meanings, signs and architectural vocabulary. The urban environment is the result of the work of multiple architects and stakeholders working in different social, economic and cultural influences and periods. Every single street can be the product of years or even centuries of continuous changes. Hence, every street is open to many interpretations and can tell a story that was not planned at the beginning. Therefore, in this regards, it is also possible to talk about multiple narrative layers. The research focuses on aspects that can be perceived through direct experience. In the first part of the paper, a brief review of other studies that present narrative approaches in architecture and urban design is included. Then, the main concepts underlying the expression narrative urban environment will be developed and described. The theoretical framework also takes inspiration from concepts of the theory of narrative in literature, called Narratology. Subsequently, the development of a conceptual framework will allow to identify and systematise the relevant narrative features of a street. In the last part of the paper, the theoretical framework will be applied to read the narrative characteristics of a case study, Grainger Street, a historical street in Newcastle upon Tyne, UK. This research proposes an alternative way to read and analyse the urban environment and can trigger essential reflections in architecture, urban design and education.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 12th International Symposium on Architectural Interchanges in Asia
Subtitle of host publicationIn the Age of Super Connectivity Confluence of Architecture
Place of PublicationSeoul, South Korea
PublisherArchitectural Institute of Korea
Pages1118-1122
Number of pages5
ISBN (Print)9788989071051
Publication statusPublished - 23 Oct 2018
EventThe 12th International Symposium on Architectural Interchanges in Asia: In the Age of Super Connectivity Confluence of Architecture - Alpensia Convention Center, Pyeongchang, Korea, Republic of
Duration: 23 Oct 201826 Oct 2018
Conference number: 12
http://isaia2018.aik.or.kr/

Conference

ConferenceThe 12th International Symposium on Architectural Interchanges in Asia
Abbreviated titleISAIA
CountryKorea, Republic of
CityPyeongchang
Period23/10/1826/10/18
Internet address

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  • Cite this

    Di Mascio, D. (2018). Narrative Urban Environments: A First Theoretical and Methodological Approach . In Proceedings of the 12th International Symposium on Architectural Interchanges in Asia: In the Age of Super Connectivity Confluence of Architecture (pp. 1118-1122). Seoul, South Korea: Architectural Institute of Korea.