The Open UniversitySkip to content

Bodies and everyday practices in designed urban environments

Degen, Monica; Rose, Gillian and Basdas, Begum (2010). Bodies and everyday practices in designed urban environments. Science Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal for Science and Technology Studies, 23(2) pp. 60–76.

Full text available as:
PDF (Accepted Manuscript) - Requires a PDF viewer such as GSview, Xpdf or Adobe Acrobat Reader
Download (182kB)
Google Scholar: Look up in Google Scholar


In recent years, the centres of many towns and cities have been reshaped by urban design projects, but little attention has been paid to how these transformations are experienced everyday by users of the city. In other words: how do the users of urban centers, such as shoppers, cleaners, or workers, perceive these changes, as embodied subjects in specific material environments? This paper analyses how bodies in two intensely designed urban spaces – the shopping centre of Milton Keynes, a 1960s new town, and Bedford's recently redeveloped historic town centre – are affected by elements of the built environment. 'Affected' is a term borrowed from Latour (2004), and the paper works with, and elaborates, some of his and others' work on how bodies are effectuated by other entities. Such Latourian work pays a great deal of attention to how bodies are affected by both human and non-human entities of many kinds, and we examine how certain aspects of the built environment in these two towns affects bodies in specific ways. However, we also emphasise the variability in this process, in particular that bodies seem unaware – or ambivalently aware – of many entities' affordances.

Item Type: Journal Item
Copyright Holders: 2010 The Authors and the Finnish Society for Science and Technology Studies
ISSN: 0786-3012
Project Funding Details:
Funded Project NameProject IDFunding Body
Not SetNot SetESRC (Economic and Social Research Council)
Keywords: experience; urban design; embodiment; ANT
Academic Unit/School: ?? fass-pped ??
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS)
Research Group: OpenSpace Research Centre (OSRC)
Item ID: 25634
Depositing User: Gillian Rose
Date Deposited: 20 Dec 2010 11:18
Last Modified: 10 Aug 2019 05:36
Share this page:

Download history for this item

These details should be considered as only a guide to the number of downloads performed manually. Algorithmic methods have been applied in an attempt to remove automated downloads from the displayed statistics but no guarantee can be made as to the accuracy of the figures.

Actions (login may be required)

Policies | Disclaimer

© The Open University   contact the OU