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Communicative Cities in the 21st Century

The Urban Communication Reader III


Edited By Matthew D. Matsaganis, Victoria J. Gallagher and Susan J. Drucker

This book explores the concept of the «communicative city», developed initially by participants in an international Urban Communication Foundation initiative, by bringing together scholars from across the communication arts and sciences seeking to enhance our understanding of the dynamic relationship between urban residents and their social, physical, mediated, and built environments. The chapters are arranged in categories that speak to two larger themes: first, they all speak to at least one aspect of the qualifying and/or disqualifying characteristics of a communicative city. A second, larger theme is what we might refer to as a master trope of the urban experience and, indeed, of urban communication: inside/outside. The research presented here represents social scientific and humanistic approaches to communication, quantitative and qualitative methodologies, and positivist/normative and interpretive orientations, thereby providing a deeper understanding of the multi-level phenomena that unfold in urban communities.
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10 Skins, Tattoos, and Architectural Façades: Or What You See Is What You Get—For the Moment

The Tattooed Body



Skins, Tattoos, and Architectural Façades

Or What You See Is What You Get—For the Moment

Gary Gumpert & Susan J. Drucker

Somewhere in the course of scholarly/unscholarly observations at an environmental design conference, a series of chain associations began when an architect referred to the skin of a building (the outside of the structure). This led to our simple observation that there might be a link between the recent uses of the term as applied to structures and the body adorned with tattoos. According to Maria Lorena Lehman of Sensing Architecture, an architectural firm, “You might be surprised to discover that there are many similarities between these two ‘skins’, and in essence, they are both there to protect and to communicate” (Lehman, 2010). “Skin” has become part of the “architectural language that allows your building to communicate with both its interior and exterior at the same time” (Lehman, 2010). Today’s architects, using contemporary building materials, conceptualize building skins as a bridge, rather than barrier, between outside and inside.

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