Atlas of Places
Atlas of Urbanity I
On the whole I am constantly surprised by the little importance given to urban questions in the university. The number of chairs of urbanism are rather limited, a few in Paris and even fewer in the provinces. In contrast to traditional teaching, it’s nothing. Yet its about a more important question. It isn’t just a question of culture, of activity, of productivity, of adaptation and of understanding of the modern world. I tried when I was in the university to introduce urban questions into teaching. I was usually told that it was a matter for schools of architecture. On the other hand, courses in sociology and history which leave aside urban questions seem ludicrous, it’s like taking away their very substance. Unfortunately it hasn’t changed very much and the resources for urban research are really minimal in relation to the task. It is as if in traditional circles knowledge is little open to the future. It is a question which relates to the very orientation of society, of civilization, conscience and knowledge; it’s either traditional or else an exploration of the future.
Text: Henri Lefebvre, Writings on Cities, 1996