Rise of the Feminine

Antoni Gaudi designed curvaceous feminine buildings, this a wall in Park Guell, Barcelona

Elizabeth Farrelly is a Sydney-based columnist and author who holds a PhD in architecture and several international writing awards. A former editor and Sydney City Councilor, she is also Adjunct Associate-Professor of Architecture at the University of Sydney. Her articles are always riveting, her fresh views of architecture and the city a breath of fresh air.

This week she has written about the phenomenon of social media, connectivity, creating links whereby human kind may see a “mass flowering of co-operation and collaboration.” This is exciting, since Farrelly also proposes that we have not only passed peak oil, peak water and peak food, but also “peak male”! Here is a small section of the article, see the link below to read more.

Perhaps we’re witnessing the human manifestation of the phenomenon known as ”emergence”, whereby the collective is able to harness a group intelligence that is more – not less – than the sum of its parts and act, without centralised leadership, for the good of the whole.

History may show that the global financial crisis, climate change and associated social unrest are the last gasps of individualism. The pain of these events may prove to be the birthing of their remedy, the New Connectivity (just as the horrors of World War I pushed modern abstraction and suburbia into existence).

If so, this shift may be allied to a parallel shift in gender dominance; a replacement of the aggressive, individualist male paradigm with female principles of networking, connectivity and relationship. A replacement of thrust, you might say, by chatter. An emergence.

Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that it’s true. That the 20th century represented the apotheosis of ”male” values such as speed, aggression, individualism, silo thinking and what you might call thrust, manifesting in cities of high-rise cores, an ”incontinent puddle” of freestanding houses and a spaghetti of motorways.

The alliances between urbanism, feminism and the new connectivity are little explored. Yet it is clear that, just as modernism deliberately banished women to the suburbs as bait to draw men from the evils of the urban night, so postmodern urbanism, in rediscovering the traditional city, has striven both to repopulate the city with non-corporate human life and to reassert feminine values.

The principles of urbanism – intricate connectivity, engagement with history, a focus on the slow, the pedestrian, the being there (as opposed to the getting there) – are feminine values. 

Interesting isn’t it … to see signs of feminine values being championed in different places … a hopeful sign for the future.
Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/gender-and-the-city-20110916-1kdtd.html#ixzz1YRc6aKO8


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