The Overdesigned and the Undesigned – Placemaking in New Residential Complexes

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Marie Stender


This article focuses on the paradox, that places on the one hand are increasingly regarded as something that can be designed, while these designed places on the other hand also seem to hold a remarkable longing for that which is not designed. When architecture and landscape is shaped, various steps are taken to shape the identity, life and story of the new places.  Inherent in contemporary concepts like urban design, city branding and placemaking is thus the assumption that we can – and should – design not only our material surroundings but also the more immaterial social and cultural aspects that constitute a place. In her book “Brandscapes” Anna Klingman argues that in the experience economy the focus of architecture has evolved from ”what is has” and ”what it does” to ”what you feel” and ”who you are” (Klingman 2007). But by what means and to what extend is it possible to design how we feel and who we are? This article addresses these questions by focusing on how place is designed when new residential buildings and neighbourhoods are given shape and taken into use.

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Design Concept Issue