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On the Spatial Semiotics of Vernacular Landscapes in Global Cities

On the Spatial Semiotics of Vernacular Landscapes in Global Cities Ordinary people living ordinary lives inhabit meaningful spaces; in globalized urban environments, these spaces are vernacular landscapes. Urban spaces are also subject to the effects of social inequality. Class, racial/ethnic, religion, and citizenship hierarchies mark urban territories with differential meanings. Spatial semiotic analysis makes it possible to see even the most powerless of urban dwellers as social agents in the local reproduction of urban culture. The authors argue that sociological analysis of visual data is necessary to understand how urban vernacular neighborhoods are changing as a result of globalization. They present visual data on vernacular neighborhoods in Antwerp, Berlin, Brooklyn, Cape Town, Hong Kong, Lisbon, London, Manchester, Paris, Philadelphia, Rome, St Petersburg, Stockholm, and Tirana. These images are among the 9000+ photographs from more than 40 global cities available from their online archive. Urban spaces are filled with signs of collective identity. In the physical environment, architectural details, commercial signs, and graffiti, among other things, signify the flows of people and culture. So too do social practices, such as commercial transactions, socializing, and commuting in the public spaces of vernacular ethnic neighborhoods. The authors’ analysis, based on hundreds of images in their archive, reveals distinctive visual representations of social differences in vernacular landscapes. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Visual Communication SAGE

On the Spatial Semiotics of Vernacular Landscapes in Global Cities

Visual Communication , Volume 10 (3): 34 – Aug 1, 2011

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References (19)

Publisher
SAGE
Copyright
© SAGE Publications 2011
ISSN
1470-3572
eISSN
1741-3214
DOI
10.1177/1470357211408821
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Ordinary people living ordinary lives inhabit meaningful spaces; in globalized urban environments, these spaces are vernacular landscapes. Urban spaces are also subject to the effects of social inequality. Class, racial/ethnic, religion, and citizenship hierarchies mark urban territories with differential meanings. Spatial semiotic analysis makes it possible to see even the most powerless of urban dwellers as social agents in the local reproduction of urban culture. The authors argue that sociological analysis of visual data is necessary to understand how urban vernacular neighborhoods are changing as a result of globalization. They present visual data on vernacular neighborhoods in Antwerp, Berlin, Brooklyn, Cape Town, Hong Kong, Lisbon, London, Manchester, Paris, Philadelphia, Rome, St Petersburg, Stockholm, and Tirana. These images are among the 9000+ photographs from more than 40 global cities available from their online archive. Urban spaces are filled with signs of collective identity. In the physical environment, architectural details, commercial signs, and graffiti, among other things, signify the flows of people and culture. So too do social practices, such as commercial transactions, socializing, and commuting in the public spaces of vernacular ethnic neighborhoods. The authors’ analysis, based on hundreds of images in their archive, reveals distinctive visual representations of social differences in vernacular landscapes.

Journal

Visual CommunicationSAGE

Published: Aug 1, 2011

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