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Minding the City: Field Notes on Neuroscience and the Poetics of Sustainable Public Space

Minding the City: Field Notes on Neuroscience and the Poetics of Sustainable Public Space

Harrison Fraker, Peter Siostrom, Atanaska Foteva, ORO Publishing. 240pp. Spring 2021. This book calls attention to the public space of cities. It proposes that the environmental performance of public space is underdeveloped, and is primed to play a more integrated role in combatting the urgency of climate change, while also creating a more meaningful experience of the city. The approach is influenced by recent insights from neuroscience that are generating a growing body of evidence for the underlying bodily basis of mind and meaning imply a reformulation of urban design theory. Minding the City is an effort to refocus the subject of urban design on the tangible and visceral experience of public space, to remind urban designers that our concept of the city is grounded in bodily experience. It discusses emerging insights from neuroscience and their potential impact on urban design in detail, not as a formula for design, but to bring awareness, a new sensibility to the design process. It uses a set of case studies to illustrate how the insights from neuroscience are operative in how we experience and value the built environment. It finishes with an exploration of the sensory and aesthetic potential of sustainable systems and then illustrates, through a series of urban design studies, how they might be used to create better environmental performance while creating more meaningful, even poetic urban spaces.

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