There isn't one space

George Perec

I was just hanging around in a library close to my office and I bought George Perec’s Species of Spaces and Other Pieces. While my friend was driving us back home I started to read it out, and that book became our map of a different city, a bright inspiration for the debate about space and urban planning. Try the experiment:

…We live in space, in these spaces, these towns, this countryside, these corridors, these parks. That seems obvious to us. Perhaps indeed it should be obvious. But it isn’t obvious, not just a matter of course. […] What’s certain, in any case, is that at a time too remote no doubt for any of us to have retained anything like a precise memory of it, there was none of all this: neither corridors, nor parks, nor towns, nor countryside. The problem isn’t so much to find out how we have reached this point, but simply to recognise that we have reached it, that we are here. There isn’t one space, a beautiful space, a beautiful space round about, a beautiful space all around us, there’s a whole lot of small bits of space, and one of these bits is a Mètro corridor, another of them is a public park. Another – and here we suddenly enter into much more particularized spaces – originally quite modest in size, has attained fairly colossal dimensions and has become Paris, whereas a space nearby, not necessarily any less well endowed to begin with, has been content to remain Pontoise.


  1. 1. reed Says:

    Have you read Gaston Bachelard? (the poetics of space).

    I like this decomposed view, it works as an organizing principle for design and understanding. It fits with software and web site stuff well too.

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