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Total Landscape, Theme Parks, Public Space – Miodrag Mitrasinovic

Total Landscape, Theme Parks, Public Space employs the theme park in identifying, dissecting and describing the properties of PROPASt – privately-owned publicly accessible space in a themed mode – a hybrid form of public space emerging in urban environments worldwide Mitrasinovic does not propose that theme parks and PROPASt are, or will ever become, desirable substitutes for democratic public space, but deliberately cuts across the theme park model in order to understand the principle of systematic totality employed when such a model is used to revitalize urban public space in the United States, Asia and Europe. In doing so, Mitrasinovic has created compelling and multifaceted inferences out of a plethora of minute details on the design and production of theme parks across continents. Mitrasinovic s central argument is that the process of systematic totalization that brings theme parks and PROPASt into the same conceptual framework is not only obvious through formal similarities, but also through systemic and symbolic analogies: through values, conditions and techniques that have been extended upon the entire social realm. By illuminating the relationship between theme parks and public space, this book offers critical insights into the ethos of total landscape, a condition that emerges from overpowering convergences of the following three domains: a/ a globally emerging socio-economic system organized upon the idea of systematic totality; b/ a material apparatus that establishes its dominance on the ground; and c/ a system of totalizing narratives -designed and operated by the media and entertainment industry- that establish its dominance in cultural imaginations across national boundaries. One of the central premises of this book is that theme parks and PROPASt are complex artifacts designed to materialize such convergences and to spatialize corresponding social and environmental relationships. Mitrasinovic builds his compelling narrative by simultaneously studying phenomena, processes, practices, and forms interwoven in the types of spatial production characteristic of the total landscape. In parallel, Mitrasinovic systematically builds the argument for the necessity of a meta-disciplinary conception of the artificial by juxtaposing and integrating a great variety of insights from both emerging and established fields. In that respect, this book is an essential guide to those interested in cities and urban futures, particularly to scholars and students of urbanism, architecture, design studies, cultural studies, media studies, geography, anthropology, sociology, economy, and marketing.

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4 thoughts on “Total Landscape, Theme Parks, Public Space – Miodrag Mitrasinovic

  1. Reblogged this on urbanculturalstudies and commented:
    The book (pdf available through a link on the post) looks like it could go one of two ways, although I’ve only managed a brief glance. It seems that the author takes on the reality that theme-park type space now pervades cities, with the privatization of public spaces in the city a fact to be reckoned with, but how much critique is there? The author does cite Lefebvre and Harvey, but someone’s gotta give it a closer look. No Marx in the bibliography, although the notion of “Total Landscape” begs to be explained (or critiqued?) through recourse to the Marxian notion of totality. Totality without Marx may just be the unchallenged image of society as spectacle.

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