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Urban songlines:the City Experienced by Ordinary People

Aalborg Universitetsforlag
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  • Design
  • Musicology


Urban Songlines – the City Experienced by Ordinary People Gitte Marling This article presents a method called Urban Songlines, which is a kind of ‘story-telling – method’ that has been developed in order to present urban qualities experienced by ordinary people. It is a tool, which supports researchers and urban designers in removing themselves from the role of expert in order to see the city through the lens of ordinary people. The aim of the method is to get a better understanding of the way in which people with different cultural backgrounds, age and genders practice their everyday lives and shape places and give them meanings through actions. The main question asked for the development of the method has been: How can the experiences of ordinary people be mapped and presented? The main focus of this article is to present the ‘Urban Songlines Method’, and give an example of its use. However it starts with a brief introduction of mapping methods used earlier in urban design research, including theories on life style, which are essential for the way ‘urban songlines’ has been developed and used. The potentials and weaknesses of the method are briefly discussed at the end of the article. Urban Songlines – a method related to the analysis of city life & urban architecture In the investigation of city life in the permanent or temporary city, the concept ‘urban songlines’ is used with a dual meaning - on the one hand it refers to the lines, notes and landmarks that the individual follows on his or her way through the city. In this sense, an urban songline is the line or the track that each of us follows in our daily movement in the city, from one place of meaning to the next; for example from our homes to work, the bar, the music venue, the school, the local shop etc. On the other hand, urban songlines have to do with mental tracks, places of historical importance or places that you and your group find intriguing. In this sense, urban songlines are tied to our

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