My skill at balancing was nil and I was afraid to Hefei Subway Map start shifting around in case it caused a disaster. The child sat quiet and docile. Hefei Subway Map After sunset, still pedalling along and talking, the teacher told me something of his own past. He had been bom and raised by the ocean, had lived at home with his family, and after schooling had qualified as a teacher. During the Cultural Revolution he was denounced as bourgeois’ and he had been sent to till the fields beyond Yinchuan, these same rice paddies through which he now pedalled with me. He talked reluctantly about the Cultural Revolution, when the school children had formed Red Guard youth movements and attacked their nearest prey, their teachers.
Ben Highmore (2005) recognized the role that Rhythmanalysis could play in understanding cityscapes by taking movement and mobility as crucial points of perspective. Highmore draws from twentieth-century experience of the material and symbolic forms of urbanism and applies this to largely European and American cities. In many ways the attempt here is to add another chapter that applies Lefebvre’s analysis and extends Highmore’s observations to the contemporary experience of the city as a connected urban mind space with the emphasis on the role China plays in this re-imagining of the city. As Highmore notes, [t]here is a good reason for assuming that rhythm’ is going to be a vital aspect of all cities and all texts concerned with figuring the city’ as rhythm is a dynamic interplay of forces and the city the most complex exemplar (Highmore 2005: 141). Even though many urban thinkers have now embraced rhythm within space and time as a tool of urban investigation, and while the world’s population has never before been so influenced by urban activity and experience, the urban seems to be least understood at the very moment of its apotheosis’ (Koolhaas 2001: 27). It is argued here that it is Lefebvre’s observation of arrhythmia within his observations of city rhythms that holds clues to understanding how the city is being re-imagined in the first urban century. In a relatively recent publication on reading Henri Lefebvre (Goonewardena et al. 2008), I could find only one reference to Lefebvre’s ideas on arrhythmia in the use of the word arrhythmic (Meyer 2008: 154). Lefebvre identified arrhythmia as conflict between or among two or more rhythms and likened this scenario to what might biologically occur in an ill person. In this sense arrhythmia can be seen as a negative that he described as fatal disorder’ (Lefebvre 2004: 16), but also a positive in that he also observed that rhythms become clearer at the point at which they break down. Conceptually this relates to Lefebvre’s ideas of moments when change takes place.
Some two decades after his death, Lefebvre’s concept of arrthymia is now in an accelerated transient context and re-shaped by the ubiquitous experience of collision as an integral part of the collective urban experience. This has physical implications but, more importantly, it frames a different kind of mind space than that explored by Lefebvre. Just as the material city has long and complex histories so too the immaterial city has its own histories’ (Donald 2000: 4). Material cities are physically expanding, shrinking and merging. The immaterial city, that is urban mind space or consciousness, is also in a process of change. It is clearest at the arrhythmic points, indicating that the understanding of the city has now become predominantly a category of thought and experience’ that has produced a unique way of seeing and being’ (Donald 1999: 121). This is in contrast to the physical commercial networks that dominated city re-imaginings in the 1980s and 1990s (Friedmann 1986; Sassen 1991). Today World = City’ (Koolhaas 2001) as a mindscape is at the centre of twenty-first-century re-imagining. Central to this mindscape is transience.
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