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Richard Sennett (October 5, 1994)54:16

Richard Sennet characterizes his upcoming book Flesh and Stone: the body and the city in Western civilization as an inquiry into how our bodies have related to the spaces they live in, especially urban spaces. He views the body as something that has changed over history, not as something biologically given. Different images of the body have informed urban design. Sennett discusses “dead spaces” as built environments that embody contemporary fears of touch and contact. He contrasts Pope Sixtus V’s plan of Rome, in which the city is a collection of specific destinations, and Pierre L’Enfant’s plan of Washington D.C., in which the destinations are lost in a non-hierarchical grid. He links this democratized space which values movement as a value in itself with William Harvey’s discovery of the anatomical circulation system. Sennet discusses different ways in which a master image of The Body, as ideal and norm, has informed urban design: as image, as structure, and as functions. Sennett argues that Judeo-Christian concepts of the homeless, incomplete and imperfect “restless body,” suggest alternatives to contemporary sensory indifference, that realize incompleteness and movement.