informality that enlivens the spaces of countless Ordinary Cities all over theworld. The real everyday welfare of people is as much, and in very many casesmore, dependent on situated opportunities for initiative and open potentials forlivelihood than they are on the more formal structures and designated spaces ofthe global economy. At the same time, the everyday spaces that people inhabitare replete with qualities that enrich lives and that people incorporate into theireveryday lives by choice.
Models, maps, modes of seeing
No single person can see the whole of the city – just as no single person, nomatter how wise or well-read can know the whole of reality. It is not just that thecity (or reality) is too big for us – there is another more important point andprinciple: this is that different starting points and different situated perspectives
the world are part of the very warp and weft of reality (Mol). We exist in areality that is multiple, and that can be ‘framed’ in multiple different waysdepending on our particular concerns and the focuses of our attention. Or, inother words, the world can be all the time true and objective – yet change into a‘version’ different to the first with only a shift of the angle from which it is viewed(Goodman). In the same way we may encounter different objective ‘versions’ ofthe same real city depending on the focus and the eyes with which we chooseto look at it. New Orleans looks different depending on where one lives in it,where one works (or doesn’t), where one sends one’s kids to school, and whereone goes shopping or out to eat or drink. In a city as socially divided as NewOrleans, whether one is rich or poor, Black or White, or for that matter tourist,business traveler, or inhabitant, has a substantial effect on what New Orleanslooks like and the opportunities the city presents.This issue of ‘perspective’ doesn’t only affect the experience of the inhabitantsof the city: it is at the same time an issue of methodology, an object of research,and one of our basic tools for the planning or design of real urban spaces. Asurban researchers and designers, we see cities through the lenses of differentmodels of the city, bringing the values incorporated into these models to theviews we construct. But we also, as part of our practice, collect data and buildimages of what particular cities are – and we may do this in a slightly less value-led way. Carefully tracing and tracking the contours of real cities will inevitablyexpose more than the limited view of differently valued territories the moreabstract and schematic models present to us. It will inevitably expose layeringsof function and meaning, of formality and informality, of the expected and theunexpected, of growth and decay, of a generally more complicated, co-implicated, foldedness of different perspectives and ‘worlds’ over and withinother ‘worlds’. It will expose richness and variety, and the object’s own refusal toreduce to a singular perspective. It is this refusal – and the ‘remainder’ that isalways left outside particular models – that seems to us to be an essential partof the very nature of cities. We take it that different communities and interestswill find in these overlaid orders the means to articulate different lives, each ascoherent ‘worlds’, some working within larger and some within smaller spatialranges and horizons, and almost all exposed at critical junctures within thesespatial webs to other communities, other interests, other ‘worlds’. This highlyintricate and overlaid spatial ordering is part of the way that different urban livesand different urban ‘worlds’ pass each other on the street, setting up conditions