Volume 14, 2014
Place, Environment, Atmosphere
Der Leib der Stadt
This article discusses the complex space of the city as an urban milieu of vitality. On the skin of the city, a permanent change of its physical and physiognomic
appearance takes place. The alternation of urban “faces” is constituted situationally in the structures and wrinkles of the skin. However, characteristic features of urban quarters do not only appear visually; they become bodily felt and are perceptible as holistic impressions, emanating from atmospheric “vital qualities” (Dürckheim). Therefore, lively urban districts are discussed as “body islands” (Schmitz) in urban space. Seen from this vitalistic perspective, the city
is not only a world of rational actors—as it is common ground in the social sciences—but also an unpredictable space of performativity.