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Femininity and Masculinity in City-Form: Philosophical Urbanism as a History of Consciousness

Abraham Akkerman
Human Studies
Vol. 29, No. 2 (Apr., 2006), pp. 229-256
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/27642748
Page Count: 28
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Femininity and Masculinity in City-Form: Philosophical Urbanism as a History of Consciousness
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Abstract

Mutual feedback between human-made environments and facets of thought throughout history has yielded two myths: the Garden and the Citadel. Both myths correspond to Jung's feminine and masculine collective subconscious, as well as to Nietzsche's premise of Apollonian and Dionysian impulses in art. Nietzsche's premise suggests, furthermore, that the feminine myth of the Garden is time-bound whereas the masculine myth of the Citadel, or the Ideal City, constitutes a spatial deportment. Throughout history the two myths have continually molded the built environment and thought, but the myth of the Ideal City — from Plato to Descartes to modernity — came to dominate city-form and ensuing aspects of contemplation. This relationship seems to have shifted during the twentieth century. Intellectual dispositions have begun to be largely nurtured by an incongruous city-form emerging from the gap between the incessant promise for an automated, well-functioning city, on the one hand, and looming alienation, coupled with the factual, malfunctioning city, on the other hand. Urban decay, a persisting and time-bound urban event that is a byproduct of this configuration, suggests the ascent of the Garden myth in post-modern city-form.

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