Branding Stratford: Social Representation and the Re-making of Place

The paper has been published in: Architecture MPS: Architecture_media_politics_society, Vol. 2, no. 3., March 2013.

As part of the societal world, architecture and urban space do not have any ‘objective’ quality. They are representations. Their meaning is produced through the negotiation and interaction of individuals, groups and classes. Yet, such ‘subjective’ meanings do have a ‘material’ relevance, as they reflect a dialectical process between the functions, forms, ownership and practices of space. They reveal construal and construction: the way in which architectural spaces are represented on the one hand, and the way in which they are physically constructed and used on the other. Nowhere does this become more evident in our current society than in the arguments around urban renewal and regeneration. The Westfield Stratford City is a typical example.