Urban Environment, Metropolitan Discourse & Verbal Proxemics: Searching for Meanings in the City
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At the beginning of the twenty first century the number of city-dwellers and rural folk has equalled for the first time in human history. However, in the next 30-40 years it is expected that on average two thirds of mankind will live in towns and cities. In the most developed countries the number of urbanites will surpass 95% of all citizens, which will create a new society uprooted from earlier rural connections which were still visible in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. In the long history of human kind the situation is relatively new and the drastic transition from a familiar and limited space of a village or town district inhabited by communities (of knowers), we have entered a new city-space environment of poorly bound communities or previous-era ghettos. Those new spaces together with a rapid development of service and industrial sectors as well as enormously inflated legislation on town planning and proper behaviour create a situation where a multitude of signs of various origin and purpose coexist side by side in a cacophony of colours, sounds, and shapes. Nevertheless, urbanites of the last few decades who travel around the world find it relatively easy to manage and navigate those new spaces despite their superficial differences. Therefore, there seems to be a growing need for a thorough discussion of urban spaces and urban signs thanks to which the plethora of messages as well as meanings and interactions could be approached and explained in a manageable paradigm.
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