this very cool dictionary/glossary was created by the Andalusia Center of Contemporary Art for their Atributos Urbanos, or Urban Attributes, program, which will "generate a framework for reflection and debate on contemporary cities."
Urban Attributes undertakes a synchronic study of urban areas within Andalusia, and also of local and globally relevant phenomena which during recent decades have determined and defined ways of generating a city.
Two complementary work areas have been created together with a program of parallel activities that will take place in autumn 2006... The first of these work areas includes the study of adjectives and nouns assigned to the contemporary city by various authors. A glossary of attributes has ... served to describe urban phenomena from our recent history. ...
To complement this we propose the analysis of five urban areas affected by intense socioeconomic, infrastructural, and cultural transformations, i.e.: the Campo de Dalias-Campo de Níjar, the Costa del Sol, the Straits of Gibraltar, the Bay of Cadiz, and the SE30-SE40 district within the metropolitan area of Seville.
Some favorite terms:
- Buffer City: Global buffer cities become spaces of transition between countries and continents, where differences in economic development cause the uncontrollable decanting of people and businesses. The interest of the buffer city lies exclusively in the fact that it is crossed to reach the other side, and this condition of area of passage, where legal exchange and illegal traffic are more intense, gives it a high degree of crossovers and social conflict that become spatially various manifestations of a provisional nature.
- Cannibal City: We understand such a city to be one that in the process of its territorial expansion and growth engulfs any other urban area that it encounters. This is an organicist characterization of the city, which resorts to the analogy with natural phenomena to reveal the most irrational facet of its behaviour. Cannibalism becomes a valid reference for situations in which the expansion of the city is subject to the vicissitudes of the free market and the changing interests that encourage property speculation, which raise doubts about the efficiency of any regulation, norm, or form of planning.
- Surfurbia: Coined by Reyner Banham in his Los Angeles. The Architecture of Four Ecologies (1971), the term surfurbia is used to describe the influence that the overwhelming trinomial of the three Ss (Sun, Sand and Surf) has on the construction of the contemporary metropolis. In the first place, surfurbia arises as a habitual process of suburbanization: Since it was founded, the city of Los Angeles was kept separate from the sea until in the early 20th century the coast became the declared objective of its expansion. This process, as in the remainder of North American cities, was based on an alliance with rail companies which permitted easy access from the downtown area to the first exclusive resorts of the periphery such as Santa Mónica, created as a result of the growing fondness for bathing of the Los Angeles bourgeoisie of the late 19th century.
- Villa Miseria: Villa Miseria is the Argentinian version of a term that has numerous local equivalents: Favela in Brazil, callampa in Chile, pueblo joven in Peru, katchi abadi in Pakistan, shanty town in Kenya, bidonville in Algeria, township in South Africa, barong-barong in the Philippines, jhuggi in India, etc. All of them refer to the same phenomenon, the slum housing that surrounds the large metropolises of developing countries. The Villas Miseria are unplanned settlements. They appear as a result of the initiative of a group of citizens (normally from rural areas) who appropriate furtively and illegally an empty territory located on the periphery of a large city.