The Unresisting Allure of the Cloned Places

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Lineu Castello


Contemporary urbanization poses difficult situations for architectural researchers. On the one hand,
changes due to increasing “regionalization” of cities impart distinct meanings to the very concept of city. On the
other hand, new iconic projects signal to remarkable changes in townscapes. Newly invented places offer
innovative spaces for people’s conviviality and information interchange—an urban quality known as urbanity.
However, such manifestations may fragment the urbanized territory, creating compartments that act as disintegrative
forces. A question invades the architectural milieu: are such changes beneficial, or the source of severe distortions?
The paper recalls the concept of place and the progresses that led to its actual transdisciplinar perspective.
In their move from internationalism to globalism, the urban landscapes of globalization experience crucial
changes, often manifested through an insertion of prettified images of places that “clone” selected spatial
features perceived as attractive. Created predominantly by market forces, they act as tools to attract people to
an exciting array of spaces, contributing to the competitive use of urbanity. Their production and diffusion are
identified in the literature as placemaking and placemarketing. The paper argues that planned placemaking
substantiated by pragmatic placemarketing may bring opportunities for enhancing the quality of urban life.


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