The city as a mode of perception: Corporeal dynamics in urban space

Federico De Matteis*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book or Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


This chapter investigates the notion of corporeal contraction and expansion, a dialectic that philosopher Hermann Schmitz identifies as the primary movement of the felt-body. This alternation is influenced by what the subject encounters in space, and thereby articulates his overall corporeal experience. Different environments, such as natural landscapes or urban spaces, provide distinct types of experiential frameworks that the felt-body habitually responds to with different modulations of the dialectic. For the subject, the typified response of the felt-body to certain environments represents an element of constancy, defined by a set of expectations of events that are likely to occur. The chapter first analyses some key elements of corporeal dynamics then uses two first-person accounts of specific urban situations to describe how the contraction-expansion dialectics underpin all spatial experience.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of Research on Perception-Driven Approaches to Urban Assessment and Design
PublisherIGI Global
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)9781522536383
ISBN (Print)152253637X, 9781522536376
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jan 2018
Externally publishedYes


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