Dynamics of relations in the urban space


  • Anna Agata Kantarek




Questions about sense usually accompany the times of breakthrough, when we recognise a crisis of certain values and we helplessly face realistic threats and changes. If experiences incessantly call for answers to the questions concerning the truth, the question concerning the sense provides a broader reference and reaches for an answer about the source of the truth, as well as the source of the crisis. The deliberations below constitute a continuation of the reflections contained in papers [Kantarek, 2012] and [Kantarek, 2014] Skomponowana sieæ sieci (Composed Net of Nets) and Czas i przestrzeñ miasta (The Time and the Space of the City). The former presents the city in the dimension of its composed three-dimensional form, which is hierarchic and stabilised by some parts and areas of the city. One such element is in particular diversified housing environments, valuable in terms of their functions and space, as well as in terms of culture they stand for. A three-dimensional form of the city constitutes an arrangement of a broader reality referred to as the net of nets – which is to illustrate the existence of numerous levels of relations, also the extrasensory ones. The term ‘net’ (Latin: Reticulum) is used as a definition of a set of elements which on one hand is irregular, disorderly and heterogeneous, and on the other bears the features of stability and cohesion. Compared to the system characteristic for order and a rational holistic approach, the net stands for indeterminableness and factualness. The structure of a net is based on nodes, their links, and the space between them. A net offers a chance to bring balance by means of flexibility towards the dynamics of changes. Therefore, a net of nets stands for – without limitations – the generic differentiation of its elements, the multitude of nodes and links, the maintenance of dynamics and flexibility (stability), and it defines the state of synthesis within a three-dimensional space in time. In the dynamic reality of events, composing, that is arranging, shall be subjected to the confrontation with competitive and isolated elements. Competition (as a denial of arrangement) and isolation (as a denial of combination) intrinsically destroy composition. The latter paper (Czas i przestrzeń miasta. The Time and the Space of the City) depicts the sense of the city in the lives of its community – both in the individual and social dimension. The questions referred to the quality of this life in light of the danger of non-substantiality. The paradox consists in the fact that – if we adopt Aristotle’s mode of thinking - substantiality connected with the independent being exists in view of accidents, properties which are not essential, but which are determining. Quantity, quality, location, relations, time, possession, activities – these are accidents. At the same time space and time shape our lives and it often seems that they are the only chance for our self-awareness and responsibility. And despite Aristotle’s warnings, architects and urban planners are usually deeply convinced about the importance of three-dimensional space for the shape of the history of our lives, in the scale of our individual fates, as well as in a broad social dimension. The notion of net of nets, where we constantly search for our substantiality, was completed with the picture of configurations of places and the stories they tell. Such a vision of the city gets closer to K. Wejchert’s notion of spatial city - buildings and open space create a rich space continuum.