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Title: Imprint city : representations and perceptions of Porto after 2001
Author: Gonçalves Ferreira Lima, Cláudia Sofia
ISNI:       0000 0004 2737 9567
Awarding Body: University of Liverpool
Current Institution: University of Liverpool
Date of Award: 2011
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This research analyses the physical and mental landscapes of the city, developing the concept of a mental collage of images that structures people's urban perceptions and understanding - the Imprint City. The formation of mental images and the process of recollection are fixed in a physical and temporal context. They help people understand the city's physical transformation as idiosyncratic imprints that are reflections of images from the past, the present and also visions of the future. Mediated city narratives and the individual's direct experiences enable people to construct mental images that emerge from their understanding of lived and perceived space. These mental constructs are like juxtaposed images of the city: an 'imprint' city that influences the ways people understand and experience the 'real' city. The city of Porto is taken as an example to show how, over time, different representations have contributed to this assembly of information, and how it can be understood as a schema of places based on images and memories that act as a mental reservoir comprising both past and future. This Imprint City concept enables a better recognition of Porto's urban elements as reference points for orientation and spatial perception. This thesis addresses three main issues. First, it explores the many ways a city can be represented; through literature (fictional or fact based); travel writing; newspapers; film; photography; architectural drawings, and other popular media. Second, it examines the influence that these representations have on people's perceptions, shaping their views of the city even before they experience it directly, via images from many sorts of media. Third, it analyses how cities can be altered to accommodate such representations - imagined, experience and real. City governments and institutions are constantly rebuilding its image for many different purposes, and rely on architecture, urban design and culture to create memorable city environments, thereby creating positive images for the media. This thesis poses the question as to how architecture is used to rebuild the city's image and/or to intensify existing perceptions. It enquires if the aesthetics of the city's built environment, and specifically the buildings designed to stand for, or represent, the city and its key events, can generate memorable city environments. It investigates the potential of architecture to shape the city as a mnemonic device, not only for positive spatial perception and orientation but also to reinforce people's sense of belonging, shaping and altering their memories of the city. Architecture assumes a decisive role not only for regenerating city neighbourhoods, but also as a method for reinventing or augmenting city images, enabling the creation of memorable city environments, new or revitalised, that may inhibit or contribute to the preservation of city identity. The city of Porto is the subject of this investigation, exploring how it has physically changed before and after its European Capital of Culture status, 2001, and people's perceptions of its metamorphosis from a working city to a tourist city. The aim of the thesis is to discover if a better understanding of the diverse representations and expressions of cities, delivered with the assistance of the concept of the Imprint City, can be used in making urban design research and practice decisions.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available