Walking with the ghosts of the past: Unearthing the value of residents’ urban nostalgias

Adams, David and Larkham, Peter J. (2015) Walking with the ghosts of the past: Unearthing the value of residents’ urban nostalgias. Urban Studies. ISSN 00420980 (ISSN)

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Abstract

Nostalgia has historically been negatively characterised by desire to reconnect with an idealised past lost to the ‘destructive’ forces of modernity, but studies across the social sciences have recently sought to re-appraise the creative and embodied significance of individuals’ recollections. This paper contributes to this developing debate by empirically exploring the value of individual remembering in relation to the urban material landscape. First, drawing on recently collected go-along data from long-term residents of two UK cities, Birmingham and Coventry, it is argued that nostalgia could be considered a more progressive force in urban life, especially amongst residents in cities that have undergone and are undergoing physical change as a consequence of ‘official’ attempts to reconstruct, regenerate and/or repackage particular urban spaces; developing a richer understanding of the interplay between official and unofficial nostalgias can better inform
planning decisions that are more likely to be socially acceptable and supported by local communities. Second, though there are clear advantages of developing a fuller theoretical and methodological consideration of urban nostalgia, this paper then uses go-along data to demonstrate that much remains to be learnt from exploring how the material urban environment can encourage
and/or limit individual efforts to keep potentially distressing aspects of their past concealed.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Birmingham (UK), built environment, Coventry (UK), forgetting, go-alongs, nostalgia, planning, urban planning
Subjects: K900 Others in Architecture, Building and Planning
Divisions: Faculty of Computing, Engineering and the Built Environment
Faculty of Computing, Engineering and the Built Environment > School of Engineering and the Built Environment
Faculty of Computing, Engineering and the Built Environment > School of Engineering and the Built Environment > Resilient Environments
UoA Collections > UoA16: Architecture, Built Environment and Planning
Depositing User: $ Ian McDonald
Date Deposited: 14 Nov 2016 12:07
Last Modified: 14 Nov 2016 12:07
URI: http://www.open-access.bcu.ac.uk/id/eprint/3472

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