The Mechanism Of Capital Cities Cultural Studies Essay

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Every city, nation and region deals with its own remarkable challenges; even if they share ordinary problems such as quick urban growth or impractical city planning. There are many different ways in which urban planning, governance, politics and architecture relate to the challenges and opportunities associated with urbanization and planning in total. Doubtable, building and designing better city destinies requests a proactive urban scheme that establishes a framework for urban and social development. It is all about the question of how politics imply normative processes and systems for effecting change in the game of powers that exist in every community.

The notion that forms the city is the prospective of centrality; the allowance of staying to a location, accepting that it marks the core of a specific territory, or any urban, political, cultural and geographic scheme. Nowadays, this centrality has become an issue of power in terms of constituting and has being connected with a specific place. Political institution holds and controls power in any state, symbolizing a culture, an era and basically an idea.

At a time when the term �city� is spread around everywhere, the need of dividing the meanings between �civitas� (the origin of the term city) and �urbs� (urbanization) has become urgent. The political foundation represents the collective will of a population to inhabit and coexist in one place; this governmental institution is what we call �civitas�, while �urbs� characterizes the basic physical and organizational structures and facilities needed for the operation of a society where eventually materially supports this choice. Today, a void metropolis of social and cultural identification controls all the political powers that affect the city�s functions, making it even more difficult for urban networks and economic frameworks to reconstruct the concept of the metropolis.

In this point, politics have to let the powers act in the urban environment, in the site of cultural and social needs. An urban paradigm that clearly appeared with the arrival of the modern state, where throughout time has been rediscovered as a strongly disguisable place of urban awareness, is �The Capital City�. In a context of political autonomous, scatter power was required in order to stage the city�s depiction in one unique place. As a result many cities became outstanding sites of power: Capital Cities. Modern metropolis, expressing the Capital Cities, is a result of political power concentration, as units like the nation formed the basis of this contemporary city. It is obvious that in these municipalities, political and economical forces lead the whole situation and the movement of a state, deciding all the needs of its community, without leaving any chance of personal investigation and development.

The mechanism of Capital Cities is quite similar to Machiavelli�s proposed system about communities, where the powers that affect the citizens and the city itself belong only to the �rulers� (people that have completely political control). Today, the potential for proximity to a focusing political and national system still represents the main attraction of Capital Cities as a strategy of economic networks. The extra-urban regional powers that exist, turned Capital Cities to be places fully representative of political and cultural strategies in sites. �Constituent Powers against Constituted Powers� were visible in Capital Cities as a theatrical stage managed by these powers in order to link the political events taking place in new areas, and its instant consequences for a more complicated geopolitical scale. This loop establishes the clear affect and effect that forces had to humans by using the urban environments.

Doubtless, representation, which plays a major role in Capital Cities, has an immediate relationship with urban forms and its existing display. At that level of depiction, imaginings, theories and ideologies are fabricated by architecture � the urban manifesto. Architectural forms can only reflect what a city is made of, anticipating their contemporary urban facts. The many different imaginings of a city�s reproduction, throughout architecture, establish what is consciously or unconsciously adjusted in the political, cultural and aesthetic features of a metropolis in a matter of powers.

Since now, architecture in the urban environment represents a tool of setting up ideological directions, aiming to change the political authorities in communities. According to the urban planner and politician Laazar M.Kaganovich, architecture is the field that will bring the balance between the powers in a city. Issues like transforming the citizen�s way of lives, reconstructing and expanding the existing cities, must urgent come in action and help metropolises to control and specify an equal diffusion of services and forces. All this game of forces between designing, planning and the affairs of states, has also been declared by Machiavelli, who strongly supported the motive that the structure of a city is totally combined with the politics� power of a society.

An example is the raising of Brasilia, which was an acknowledgment to a political and conceptual motivation. Brasilia�s construction came up with redesigning the geography of the nation, changing the location of the center from its economic position along a simple geographic center of the public area. The new capital would be able to demonstrate the imaginary of the new state to its citizens as a new cultural centrality designed for all. It had been produced a new modern architecture, serving the public and finding solutions for inhabitants in order to achieve a point where forces will be equally used by the �rulers� and humans to develop and secure their desires. Basically, by focusing on Brasilia�s geography of cities in the form of public spaces and archetypical building, humans are in the process of cultural identification their own state.

After all, by balancing the powers, the city remains an interactive place, a ground of action within political activity that takes place in a positive way for people. Nowadays, humans ought to experience, in recently developed political terms, the city as a concept, as an area of produce and only as a piece of land.

Spectacle � Power of image

A characteristic and very influential power in the producing of today�s cities is their modification into urban areas of visual consumption. The power of spectacle within different places and landscapes, not only changes the concept of the history of structures through the process of expanding the built environment, but also consists a reason for people to be on the move. Humans for various reasons discover new elements about other places than the ones they inhabit and they start moving in order to find the spectacular city of their expectations.

All over the world, the construction of buildings adds power and value to the urban surrounding that they are located. Thus, the profit of individual structures reflected their location, while spectacular designers are used to place buildings in a field of rivals, rising up their power and merit. It is a well-known fact that the signature of any architect counts as a powerful brand in marketing and in the economy of any state. Cities collect these brands together and transform them in livable scenery: spectacular landscapes. According to David Harvey, and his reference to Barcelona�s reconstruction for the city�s Olympics, all this modification reflects into megalopolis in a bad way, as they tend to loose some of its marks of distinction as well as its characteristics.

First of all, spectacular landscapes were fundamentally developed in Western Europe, where humans visualized them as a new resource of appearance; automatically this kind of places become more fashionable, attracting more and more visitors. The Alps, that had been a point characterized by fear and horror, was unconditionally marked as a place of spectacle, replacing the given land by landscape. By giving this example we can assume that this transformation indicated the starting point of �modernity�, where people begun to travel all around other sceneries exchanging cultures and behaviors. As a result of all this transportation was the alteration of the meaning of the spectacular towns and become places of meetings.

Moreover, in the 20th century the power of spectacle became visible mainly in large capital cities. With no doubt, the first crucial modern city of spectacle was the reconstructed Paris during the Second Empire. Haussmann�s �Grand Boulevards� construction gave to humans the possibility to �see well into the distance, their eyes being seduced by the sights located at the end of each boulevard, and they could envisage where they were going to and where they had come from�. The position and the unique and modern features of the Eiffel Tower was also a result of the state�s powers that exist, making Paris a tempting spectacle: a definite new kind of tourist spectacle, which gave power to city as it attracted people to gather together. Thus, it is quite obvious that the position of a building, or in other words the creation of a spectacle landscape in specific areas, contributes political, economical and social power to its system.

Touring and exploring the world, establishes a new way of performing the city. People radical become expert judges and collectors of places. Thus places are economically, politically and culturally manufactured through the various mobility of humans, as well as the movement of information across borders. This entire situation is necessary in order for places to perform on this global stage that is being created. As a result of all this, is the global competition among localities, which requires a set of disciplines that make cities in the world able to develop its future spectacle within the contemporary designs of global travel.

Places are not fastened and given. Apart from human�s transportations, sites also can be �on the move�, going closer or further away from cores of power that make world �fashionable�. The spectacle is not always what is looks like; performances cannot with ease be achieved and this makes the spectacle �fall down�. This is caused because people�s imaginations of sites refrain from what performances can afford, always in a touristic rhythm. Travelers move on searching for new locations, leaving behind the old spectacular ones. Similar to Machiavelli�s theory of one hegemony leading the masses and having the total control of them, humans inside a spectacle society are guided by the variable forces that exist, keeping them �on the move�; people�s movement, leaded by the forces, bring authority to new places.

The global order frequently is essential for places to enter it, basically because of its geopolitical processes. The city of Havana in Cuba, during the 1950s, was filled with the vision of capitalism for the American tourists; the spectacle of consumption. That time, �spectacle-ization� in architecture set up the re-imagination of the history of buildings and landscapes, by linking places that hope for fame and a global world of political and economical interest. This phenomenon fulfilled city with power till the 1959, when revolution took over Havana. The spectacular capital lost its importance, becoming equal to the countryside, and tourists couldn�t empower the city anymore. After the breakdown the only force that could reduce the economic crisis and turn the city into �re-spectacle-ization�: the reintroduction of spectacle. In 1982, the redevelopment of the central texture of landscapes, as well as architecture, became the main elements for attracting again tourists: a producer of culture. It is true that in cases like Cuba, the power of the spectacle, throughout architecture and by the use of tourism, liberate the history of each city, making it visible as a united system of forces.

The �imaginary� is not simply the �image of� a city, but it is combined with the social-historical production of specific forms, which create an idea of the world. It is not surprising that architecture as image consists of power, related with the spectacle of mass consumption that serves industries. Spectacle power is completely related with global recognition inside cities. Many places can be seen as places of desire, of unexpected spectacles. The dare for architects is to re-produce urban environments where society will be amplified by positive power performances.

Social � Powers � City

The social framework of powers related with politics and economies all around the world have also influenced the basic aim of architecture, making it very often to work against human nature. First of all, while some cities suffer from wars, like Africa and the Middle East, other ones that are not in this harmful situation, fighting daily for achieving any kind of economic growth. Designers focus on observation and social control at the time when powerful estate developers tend to find and use architectural components, which will produce economic benefits to the states.

At a time of poverty, crime and fear we deal more and more with the phenomenon of building large-scale projects and destroying poor neighborhoods and the communal liveliness of urban streets. City planners, in association with individuals that hold the powers (Machiavelli�s �rulers�), are placing impressive and precious structures in the build environment, rising up the capitalism. It is obvious that inside cities there is no balance among economical investment and democratic development. This effect concludes with powerless citizens who fell abandoned and alone in their own city, making the gap between social classes even bigger; cultural models are lost. Powers achieved to adapt human�s needs, in a way that through the public�s desires they will gain even more authority. The biggest cities that built, the largest public projects achieved to construct a less democratic society being at the head of dictatorial leaders. By providing an alternative contemporary landscape to skyscrapers and luxury structures, powers turned urban life to private, creating in that way the city�s plan to look like a frame of the politics. Thus, taking as an example New York where highways and public houses are developed according to the perspective of modernizing the metropolis, architecture frequently is connected with the state�s empowerment.

A shift in all this tactical thinking came at the end of 1970�s, with governments being unable to modernize their states. Public came up with an urban redevelopment, trying to change the ways that the cities are organized. The �Entrepreneurial City� appeared as a proof of the harmful use of architecture; it used by powers as the capital of a representative economy. Structures generated a skeleton for economic growth. The status: �the bigger buildings, the more powerful the economy is�, is still in the first row, if we only think about British politic powers that by rising up Docklands they tried to go against New York�s economy. �Entrepreneurial Cities� created entrepreneurial people because forces left them no other choice but taking risks while they are anticipating for future development; living under this condition, our world increase all the average of homeless.

Architects by placing buildings against its competitors rise up their power as they become quite popular from all this competition that they belong. The field of architecture can be characterized as a method of marketing inside cities, as they connect the image of pseudo-urban scenery with the city itself. The built and the social environment goes against the economic and the ethic restrictions of societies, making cities available only for humans that can afford them, living apart all the other classes. This strategy is standing against human rights as it decreases human�s standard of living, leading to an even more private life.

Living under the pressure of hegemonies, similar to Machiavelli�s principles, and powers, inhabitants become unable to take decisions and to contribute actively to a bigger imagination. The urban theories must examine the city as a place for equal opportunities in the well-being of the citizens. Powers should work within communities, modifying the existing physical structures and facilities, and aiming to the creation an urban system of intelligent solutions for the evolution of informal cities; powers at the side of humans.

Coming into practice, the clients of architects should change category and from political and economical powers to be public neighborhoods. Designers should set the bases for communal costumers to develop a built environment for citizens to initiate social capital. �Imagine New York� is a project that tried to enable city residents to put down their own roots. Using architecture as a means of empowerment, planners approached communities to set up public gatherings in which citizens will participate in all the decisions making about New York�s dimension and form of buildings, meaning of their shapes as well as the uses of Powers in all this. Public participation in imagining new forms of landscapes, would free humans from capitalism, political and economical authorities. A recently developed built surrounding, without any private evolution, will act only for the need and the improvement of the citizen�s skills.

In this new direction architecture is political only in the way that it presents reality visible using methods of its own configuration, giving a social direction, an enlighten through space. According to David Harvey, capitalism should become a visual perception of political projects, which will put back the power of economic elites. Through this path, human rights must establish the creation of a new urban environment where creative activity, information and accommodation will be free.

Giving an example of how capitalism societies and political powers can be responsible for the rising up of the division between public and private lives, we can refer to the city of Johannesburg (South Africa). It is a camping city, which has been built four times over. Starting form the 1908 in Johannesburg, the city led from civil powers kept ethnic groups apart. Citizen�s life was based on the principles of the authorities, under fear and terror, making humans live apart and not united.

Overall, Architects have to deal with powers in a new practice of urbanism; this new customization brings to the site another view of the world where citizens are able to set in motion a numerous of communal trainings, turning the city to a united and powerful community on its own. Be close to their clients, designers more than ever have to set up a �new� architecture, which will come up with solutions about planning and about the role of social, economic and political areas.

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