Thesis Title: Practices of urban reinvention: conservation, marginalization and excision within Estonian urban space
Primary Supervisor: Dr Francesca Sartorio
Secondary Supervisor: Dr Huw Thomas
Starting Date: January 2014
Completion Date: December 2016
Funding Source: Cardiff School of Planning and Geography PhD Studentships - Reference Number: R1116
Areas of Research Interest
- Material history of the city
- Design of places of remembering and commemoration
- Cultural and social dominance and marginalization
- Semiotics of culture
Planning policies on the material history of urban space are potent tools of social control. This topic relates to conservation (or marginalization) of the traces of memory (Nora, 1984-92). In this context, the formal planning system (Yiftachel, 2001) usually refers to institutions and narratives perceived as dominant, imposing their control on other minorities.
Specifically, my case study focuses on the practices of cultural reinvention and excision within the Estonian urban space since independence. My approach investigates these phenomena from the point of view of those actors that have power in urban planning and the day-to-day activities of the subjects that live and cross the city. The latter are always able to re-define the meanings and interpretations of the project expected by the more powerful groups.
There is a significant literature on the complex relation between memory, identity and place within the field of planning and human geography, but this does not appear to be informed by semiotic insights. In response I will address this limitation by grounding my research in semiotics and specifically addressing research communities in planning theory and human geography. The semiotic approach helps in the investigation of the myriad of meanings, interpretations and emotions that any process of urban alteration produces.
“Urban semiotic analysis of the city centre of Prijedor (BiH)”, AISS (Associazione Italiana di Studi Semiotici– Italian Association of Semiotic Studies), presented on October 5th, 2013.
“The touristic communication as a strategic and ideological instrument: the prototypical imaginaries of Estonia”, University of Tartu, Summer School of Semiotics, presented on August, 21st, 2013.
Collaborator at spatial analysis workshop, festival ComodaMente. Paesaggi, Parole Festival, Vittorio Veneto (Treviso, Italy), September 6-8th, 2013.
Attended workshop “Identities of the places, places of identities”, in Prijedor (BiH), organized by C.U.B.E (University of Bologna) and the association “Il Trentino per i Balcani”, April 26-30th, 2013.