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NARRASCAPE: Urban Environment as Narrative System in the UK and China

Research Perspectives grant details from RCUK GTR portfolio

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NARRASCAPE: Urban Environment as Narrative System in the UK and China

AHRC

Start Date

07/2008

End Date

06/2010

Value

£49,370

Grant Description

Summary and Description of the grant

This project will focus on the central theme of Urban Narrative Environment, seeking to introduce recent research findings on narrative environment into the field of urban studies and to establish an international research network on this subject.

Today we live in a world of cities: almost 50% of world population inhabits cities (89.7% in UK). 'It is vital that we understand the impact of this urban growth on people and the environment, as the links between architecture and society become both more complex and more fragile.' An understanding of urban conditions, including the conflicts, values and memory as well as human experience of them, necessitates multidisciplinary approaches and offers a challenge to the arts and humanities.

Narrative is integral to human experience: on the one hand, we live in a world abounding with stories of various forms; on the other hand, narrative is one of the fundamental ways we organize and understand the world. Narrative is one of the prior schemes that are 'actively used to organize and interpret a person's encounter with the environment, both internal and external.' Narrative offers a distinctive approach to understand how our knowledge and experience of the environment is constructed and in return, how to organize the environment that conforms to human experience and memory and facilitates human interactions with the environment.

This project will examine urban environments through investigations into the interaction between temporally structured narratives and their spatial configurations, in other words, to investigate how 'space becomes charged and responsive to the movements of time, plot and history.' This project aims at revealing the hidden 'narrative landscape' in urban environments as a collage of narrative strata corresponding to the natural ways of experiencing an environment, namely gaze, route and survey modes. This 'narrascape' provides a particular layer to analyze and assess the values, organizations and representations of urban space. The concept and methodology of 'narrascape' will be developed through four multidisciplinary workshops with separate but correlated case studies. Digital media, especially moving images and virtual reality, with their extraordinary power in representing (and creating) human experience, will be employed and explored as the primary tools in presenting and developing urban 'narrascape'.

The Digital Studio is part of the Martin Centre for Architectural and Urban Studies, Department of Architecture, University of Cambridge. It is directed by Dr. François Penz and has for years successfully led EPSRC, AHRC and EU funded researches into narrative organization of space, non-linear narrative forms and the expressive use of digital media to facilitate design and communications on architectural and urban issues. This project seeks to extend Digital Studio's investigation into urban studies and to examine previous research outputs in the urban contexts of UK and China.

There is growing interest for UK and China to carry out research collaborations on the global issues of urban environments and urban conditions. The Martin Centre has strong track record of collaborative projects with Chinese universities on architectural and urban studies. This project will initiate a new network to bring together researchers and professionals from both countries to discuss and explore the narrative values, organizations and representations of urban environment. This project will consist of workshops, conference, translation and publication works, and dissemination activities. The foci are the workshops on the case studies of three historic cities: Cambridge in the UK, Nanjing and Changsha in China. Each case study addresses a sub-theme of 'narrascape'. Through these workshops, this project seeks to advance our understanding of urban narrative environment a

Structured Data / Microdata


Grant Event Details:
Name: NARRASCAPE: Urban Environment as Narrative System in the UK and China - 1147278D-9285-4499-AB1A-F1AE6936D2DB
Start Date: 2008-07-01T00:00:00+00:00
End Date: 2010-06-30T00:00:00+00:00

Description: This project will focus on the central theme of Urban Narrative Environment, seeking to introduce recent research findings on narrative environment into the field of urban studies and to establish an international research network on this subject. Today ...