Andrea Brighenti

The aural dimension: notes for a sensorial urbanism

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Keywords: city, noise, aural experience, sensory urbanism, urban conflict

In this review essay I discuss a series of questions that emerge at the intersection between noise and the city. I explore the tension between two opposed yet co-existent trends in modern urban life, namely, the trend towards anesthesia and the one towards hyperesthesia. A recent issue of the French Communications journal edited by Anthony Pecqueux offers a number of interesting insights and historical cases that can be fruitfully discussed, expanded and compared to existing literature on sensory urbanism. Fruitful development for urban theory can likewise be envisaged. Ultimately, I conclude that the struggle over urban noises and nuisances is a struggle over legitimate imaginations of the city as a shared space as well as a strategic field for urban transformations.

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