‘A Nostalgia For The Mud?’
MA Thesis - Text & Graphic Design (2019)

A Nostalgia For the Mud? Awakening Queer Potential to Challenge the Smooth City

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[Abstract] This thesis looks at the ways in which many cities have become increasingly less inclusive environments over past decades as a result of market driven property development, and the subsequent onset of the urban condition known as the ‘smooth city’. It will seek to deconstruct how the smooth city employs urban design to generate a normative and exclusive experience of public space, and will use queer theory as a lens through which to analyse this context. This thesis will focus on examples of cruising and other queer uses of space, as examples of how some the most historically marginalised inhabitants of cities have been able to appropriate the urban realm, and the subversive effects that this has had towards existing power structures. Questions will be raised as to the role that queering of space might play as a model for destabilising normative power structures in cities. Finally, it will express the relevance of looking to the past for examples of friction in the urban environment to help imagine a different form of publicness amidst the constraints of today’s cities.