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To a philosophy of the city: networks, time and ruins

We will try in this paper to present some concepts that seem to lead to an understanding of the
role of philosophy in the rethinking of cities.
We explore the concept of network as a key concept to understand what we could call the new
city. If until recently we had a city concept where some places could be thought as a nodal centre
of the city's own behaviour (observable fact, throughout the ages - from the connection of the
city to the temple or palace, to monuments or political structures - a sort of regimental
architecture, so to speak. Another example is the network form by routes - or at least the access
points such as airports, ports, stations, etc.
Our proposal is that this network appears as undefined or as a network without centres, where
the connection points appear and disappear, and establishing different forms of the city. No
point is constituted as central of the network, at least not indefinitely.
The city is established as a city of events - where every space is referred to the use and to time.
At this point, we will present some examples using pictures to illustrate.
On the other hand, the city experiences become increasingly less communitarian. If the previous
structure kept centres with a high concentration of peoples (the most striking example is that of
religious faith and communities associated with it), now the fragmentation of experiences is
increasingly clear. It is not, in itself, a negative factor before an adaptation to an ever greater
experience of freedom and autonomy.
Still within the network issue, we will underline the fact that the city is linked with cyberspace,
making it also a vector of analysis. No wonder that our technological devices have the possibility
- if not the need of location. Our cyber-behaviour is in space, and - paradoxically - a time that
can be - at the same time or not - past, present or future, leading the city with it.
The network took us so the second concept: the concept of time. Highlighting examples already
set out, the city is now experienced as time, rather than space. The issue of mobility - where
space is an obstacle to overcome - to the issues of work and residence - which appears as
handled to keep the inhabitants in the needed time to work and/or live. An example of this is
the new neighbourhoods built almost from scratch in the space designated by Expo in Lisbon.
We will analyse this space and how it replicates, at smaller scales, in other areas and cities.
Finally, knowing that cities pre-exist to the use, we find a concept that seems to hide in the
"modernity" of the city experiences. Namely, the concept of ruin and the invisibility associated
with this structure. The shift from a spatial experience to a temporal experience created invisible
spaces that are not habitable. Our cities abound in ruins (buildings but also natural spaces).
These ruins seem to be as blind spot and only a watchful eye can identify them as spaces
belonging to the city. It is in rethinking the public space that we can do the integration of the
ruins in the space of the cities and making of that capable of events, regaining the space for
public use. And here we have politics and architecture.