Atmospheres and Sensus Communis: Literary methods for the analysis and design of urban sites

K.M. Havik, P.J. Teerds

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeChapterProfessional


This article questions how architects and urban planners can deal with atmosphere as a crucial quality of urban places. Their challenge is the mediating character of urban atmospheres; balancing between spatial and material arrangements and the embodied, perceiving subject, between urban places and the people using them. Following Arendt ‘s sensus communis, we argue that atmosphere requires a multi-perspectival view of the architectural or urban project. Literature provides a viewpoint to analyze urban spaces as well as to make projections for their future. A study using narrative tools to trace urban atmospheres in Antwerp’s former harbor docks will be discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOpen City
Subtitle of host publicationRe-thinking the post-industrial city
EditorsAlmudena Ribot, Enrique Espinosa, Diego Garcia-Setien, Begona De Abajo, Gaizka Altuna
ChapterFabrics. Industrial Estates. Researching
Number of pages15
ISBN (Print)9781948765459
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • urban space
  • atmosphere
  • literature
  • architectural education
  • narrative


Dive into the research topics of 'Atmospheres and Sensus Communis: Literary methods for the analysis and design of urban sites'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this