All cities hold stories; subjective accounts that are passed down through generations and shape the identity of place. Culture is made manifest through many mediums, but perhaps architecture is one of the most confrontational. Architecture is negotiated in nearly all urban interactions; it is home, work, community and character. Architecture is built, torn down, abandoned and rebuilt. As time decays its surfaces, traces of past significance are left behind; legitimate artifacts subjectively interpreted by their present day inhabitants. The city of collective memory is a living museum that presents the rich palimpsest of the past to its populace as they interact in daily life. The city becomes the essence of place, pulsing in a constant flux between storing and rewriting the fables of place.

As the densification of the urban environment displays itself as a promising solution to social, environmental and economic sustainability - the city is threatened by the tabula rasa. The stories of the city may be at risk. The city of collective memory needs to be preserved, and to do so must step outside the bounds of heritage guidelines. Memory must to operate interpedently with development and community as to facilitate the city’s progress while remembering its past.

The Politics of Memory was initiated as a Byera Hadley Travelling Scholarship and remains an ongoing work. Over 14 weeks and across six countries a huge number of photos and sketches of studied buildings were collected, as well as videotaped interviews with many of the architects who designed them. This material will be released gradually as it is compiled and edited.

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