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generic and authentic places in the city

after a while you need to escape, find some generic spaces for deep breaths. free of throat-tightening weight of a hundred Hendricks bottles of tap water. convergence is the theory that economic and demographic trends lead to increasing similarity between places. divergence assumes human choice and place-difference. plural causation is the possibility that different events in different places can still lead to the same outcome regardless of all the divergence in the world. hotel bars and nightclubs are either pure convergence or an example of  plural causation. they could be anywhere, but then again grass-roots are the same anywhere in the world too.

Yi-Fu Tuan’s framework for understanding the world is through two extremes – the hearth and the cosmos. the hearth is local, familiar, nurturing and accessible through the senses, directly. the cosmos is large and abstract and inaccessible except through mediated experience. the body, he says, desires the hearth and the mind desires the cosmos. Brown Alley, despite all its direct sensory accessibility, is not the hearth, but I think the Sofitel might be.

homes are often called ‘thick’ places, for all their layers of memory and experience. what I am trying to say is that being in a ‘thin’ place is nurturing too.

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