In my introduction post I chose to write about my apartment as one of my favorite spaces. By critically analyzing the space through Henrik Lefebvre’s triad spatial model I get an understanding of how the space is socially produced by dominant forms of power. Looking at the Representations of Space, also the conceived space or the conceptualized space of planners, the property was built for habitation in 1941 during World War II.
The picture I have inserted above is an old drawing from a Newspaper in 1941 representing the property (“Andebakkegaarden” is the name of the place). It was originally designed for functionaries, as the apartments were expensive to rent at first. Back then it was a rental property where there was one owner of the whole property and the apartments were rented out to primarily wealthy families. In 1974 the property was divided into condominiums, which were subsequently sold as the tenants moved out. Today many of the apartments are owned by parents who rent them out to their children while they are students. My research on the property made me think of our class discussions about how dominant forms of power always create spaces and how a space is never neutral/natural. When the property was established in the 1940’s only a small group of the society was able to rent the apartments and the rest of the society were in a way excluded from the space. In this view, the space was socially produced and structured by especially an economical power. Today it is still the same situation even though a lot of the people who live there did not buy the place themself. A lot of the current residents now are students but it is still only a very limited group who has access to the space. Thinking of this reminds me of how we discussed the concept of the home as ‘a place and an idea that is contingent upon and always intertwined with issues of power and subjectivity, gender and class, culture and subjectivity”. In addition, the building is also designed in a way so that all the apartments require that you are able to use the stairs. Today it is still very difficult for people in wheelchairs or with other walking difficulties to access the building, which also exclude people from the space.
The representational space/lived space is describing the meaning that I personally place on the apartment. In my previous blog post I talked about how it makes me feel safe to have a space that I can always return to, like we in class have discussed how the concept of home makes people feel a sense of belonging. Sara Ahmed talks about the concept of home in Queen Phenomenology, considering the space like a second skin to the body: “spaces are not exterior to bodies; instead, spaces are like a second skin that unfolds in the folds of the body.” (p.9). Lefebvre claims that the Representational space overlays physical space, making symbolic use of its objects. The symbolic values are for example the meanings my furniture has to me, or the memories of the images on my wall. For instance I have build my table together with a friend and thus the space gets a symbolic value to me through objects like that.
In addition, I also perceive the space as an economical safety, which again underlines how the space is produced by dominant forms of power as economy.