A Cultural Perspective on the City

  • Hari SacréEmail author
  • Sven De Visscher
Part of the SpringerBriefs in Education book series (BRIEFSEDUCAT)


This chapter introduces a cultural perspective on civic learning in urban as spaces as the general framework of this publication. Western societies tend to think of urban public spaces as key sites for civic and political formation. Based on socio-spatial frameworks that picture civic learning as a positive outcome of the free mingling of strangers in streets and other material structures, urban planning too often reduces urban spaces to people and bricks. From a cultural perspective such binary images of the city are questioned. Referring to culture as  an ongoing communicative process between subjects and objects producing (symbolic) meanings, the production of space appears as an ongoing interaction among subjects, symbolic frameworks and dynamic infrastructures. A spatial grammar of urban learning is introduced. Learning the city results from the relations between people, materials and environment. The papers in this publication contribute to an understanding of civic learning as an everyday practice in which subjects, symbolic frameworks and dynamic infrastructures are interconnected. In other words, we are interested in learning as an everyday practice that alludes to a sense of co-ownership, rather than an act of social conformation. To understand civic learning in urban spaces as a cultural process, the different contributions in this publication will focus on the multiple relationships between learning and the city. They will explore different understandings of civic learning in, through and as a result of urban spaces. 


Urban education Civic learning Citizenship Cultural semiotics   


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Research Group Urban Education, Department Social WorkUniversity College GhentGhentBelgium

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