In “(Re)Presenting the Street,” Rubin challenges conventional notions of city planning that mistakenly perceive the city as singular object that can be ‘fixed’ as such. He proposes an alternative way of examining the “street as a diverse social space” which exists in a “jarring, fragmented succession of images and encounters that characterize the lived experience of the modern city” through video.
What Rubin proposes makes most architects, urban designers, and urban planners anxious, because he asserts that they ought to “engage the city without a preconceived agenda.” As a trained architect and urban designer, I experience the city by constantly comparing it to preconceived notions of what I think is good or bad design, and I seldom look at these experiences objectively. However, by applying Rubin’s method of letting go (a bit of flanerie) with the aid of the video camera, one opens up to the nuances of the city and is able to absorb much more valuable information. I think more needs to be said on how to translate these observations into the design process in a successful manner.