EnvisagedCity is my personal website and platform which enables me to explore my interests in strategic thinking about the city.

We live in cities, and we talk of cities, and we talk of designing cities.

But what is the “city”? What is meant by the single name? And city to who?

The city is an abstract, generalised term.

It has no meaning of itself. It exists in classification only, a loose description of, or reference to, something, perhaps many things, but almost never any critical thing.

Its general use refers to the material evidence of what goes on within it.

As such, the city is an eventuality, not root condition.

What is really of consequence is not the city, but the urban — what happens within (or without) the city.¹ (The urban is not physically defined or limited.)

And what occurs as urban — the exchange of various levels of “commerce and culture, principally”² — is subject to spatial political economy within a finite planet.

The city itself, therefore, is not something to be designed; the conditions for urban exchange are.

An envisaged city (EnvisagedCity)³ is the envisaged urban way(s) of life.

By envisaging the city — by envisaging urban ways of life — we could design the conditions for better urban exchange, not design the city, and realise the urban life we seek and need.  Cities will be what they need to be.

1. For the simple distinction between the terms “city” and “urban” as a way of organising critical thought about urban design, I am indebted to Ingo Kumic, with whom I have had some of the most engaging discussions about cities and their making.

2. The succinct identification of the type of exchange which occurs in, and defines cities, has been captured by Dan Hill in his essay “Same old new world cities” (Architecture Australia, March/April 2011, Vol. 100 N°2).

3. Due to the contemporary ubiquitous (mis)use of the word “urban”, this website is intentionally not called EnvisagedUrban, although that would more accurately describe the EnvisagedCity position.

Andrew Feeney

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