Stop.Space: 12 Discontinuous Nonmoments in the Global City

[Itinerary of global city travel]

'...the space of touch, full of voids is more important here...'

This body of work explores the existence - the discovery, articulation, and representation - of the stop.space in the global metropolis. Hovering barely below the radar of perception, the stop.space is a residual by-product of the incessant movement systems that define the global metropolis. The stop.space occurs where such systems break down through collision or juxtaposition, creating an eddy of perceptually charged social and geometric space. In such spaces, opportunistic encounters - the economic exchange, the leisurely conversation, etc. - occur at the slower speed of the biological rather than the machinic or virtual.

In an era when cities are increasingly defined by dichotomies of privately programmed interiorities vs. 'useful' and efficient infrastructures, the stop.space presents a haptically rich vestige of the in-between, where behavior and ownership are less stringently defined, and where unscripted public activity can occur at the spatial and temporal scale of the body. The programmatic and geometric ambiguity of hese 'useless' leftover spaces allow a perceptually thick experience of the city; where speed meets stasis, body meets machine, and the temporal meets the geometric, an opportunistic and fleeting inhabitation of what exists is possible.

[Taxonomy of stop.spaces]

This project evolved over a period of several months, first during the 9-month John K. Branner traveling fellowship (generously granted by UC Berkeley's Architecture department), and then upon return during my Master's of Architecture thesis semester. The focus of my fellowship research was the urban transit dérive as a mechanism for telescoping into the global city. Using progressively smaller and slower scales of public transit, I 'zoomed' into each city until, at some point, the dérive ceased and the more intimately-scaled city at rest was revealed. My itinerary focused on 12 main cities, which were chosen based on:

1. service by a major airport
2. diversity and availability of extensive public transit
3. global geographic diversity and
4. varying levels of designation as a "global city."

The duration of my stay within each city varied from 10 days to 2.5 weeks, during which time I conducted and recorded a series of near-daily dérives. These routes were usually multi-modal, beginning at a rail-hub, and ending with a foot-route. The initial decision as to where to begin the route was based either on centrality or on center-periphery connectivity. Once I began these linescape navigations, subsequent decisions were largely determined either by traffic flow, in the case of beginning in a central hub, or geography, in the case of peripheral linescapes which were usually pursued to their extreme terminal. City maps were not used to construct routes before embarkation, and were only used in the field if publicly displayed.

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