In Marc Augé’s book, Non-Places, he poses two types of place: a place and a non-place, a non-place being the result of super-modernity. A place is “relational, historical and concerned with identity” while a non-place opposes the place and can include airports, high speed roads, supermarkets, and railroads. The anthropological place is made up of elements that are individualistic in nature, but that can be still thought through their interrelations, or shared identity of inhabitance in the same place. A non-place doesn’t create relations, only solitude. Traveling space, like the road creates mass groups such as commuters is an “archetype of non-place.”
These places of pure circulation only focus on a destination driven outcome rather than the focus on one’s immediate context. Forces of globalization and urbanization are creating more non-places as the realm of the traveler is a non-place. The freeway traveler is diverted from all the principal places to which the infrastructure does for functional reasons of efficiency. Non-places are the result of the planned spatial zoning due to modernization. At a smaller scale, than the freeways, the traveler space of the busy street is a non-place. For example, in James Nares film individuals are seen walking focused on a destination in the buffer zone between buildings that have no real purpose other than the use of mobility. There is no interaction between one another or the context as they hurry past to get to where they need to go. The urbanization of a city and creation of more non-places has failed to give us areas of social complexity.
In the book The Situationist City by Simon Sadler, investigates the artistic, architectural, and cultural theories of the that were the foundation to the Situationist ideology, as they applied it to the modern city. The theory of derive is defined by Guy Debord as “a mode of experimental behavior linked to the conditions of urban society: a technique of rapid passage through varied ambiances.” The city type of journey is unplanned and allows for a period where people drop everything they are doing and let themselves be drawn to the whatever is around them according to their subject sense of “psychogeography” of the city. This theory was important in countering the predictable and monotonous nature of everyday life in the modernization. In a contemporary society the state of continuous drift is not a workable strategy because it would have to assume a utopian condition of total leisure which can be see in Constant’s New Babylon.
This city of was an artificial environment based on games and creative change and took the form of a labyrinth space. The labyrinth would reflect the social space from the process of creation of the individuals in the city. However, there is perhaps a way to blur the line between places and non-places by creating a form of interaction in a non-place as a step toward fixing self-segregation in a large city. The non-places of the city have the potential to become a place when remedied with heterogeneous affordances by including drifting infrastructural elements as stimuli for the inhabitants of the city to counter the daily life encoded in the city’s urban fabric.