Political Aesthetics and the Urban Change
The purpose of this paper is to sketch out a conception of urban political aesthetics aimed to demonstrate a continuing relevance of philosophy to understanding the city. I shall attempt to show in particular that the political aesthetics outlined here may shed some new light on the problem of urban aesthetics of absence, the concept introduced to urban studies by Richard Shusterman. I argue that the tendency of individuals to withdraw from the present urban spaces, constituting a form of public agoraphobia, is encouraged by the processes of commodification which fuel rapid transformations of the city. I also stress that increasing levels of sophistication, required of individuals in order to participate in contemporary urban life, generates a phenomenon of interpassivity which adversely affects the civic agency of urban citizens.