Grid logic and democracy

Joan Copejec (1991) in The Urban Text:

“There was … no consensus opinion about whether the regular and systematic disposition of streets, the standardisation of their relations: 1) logicises space, and thus renders it clearly intelligible, or 2) creates a monotonous sameness that detracts from space’s intelligibility. The indecision … recapitulated many of the arguments made about the paradoxes of democracy in general. Democracy is the only social system in which every individual has a chance to express his or her particular will, every individual has a vote that counts. The paradox is that it only counts as one, as an abstract statistic. The individual’s peculiarity is thus annulled by the very act of its expression. Examples could be multiplied, but the point is already clear -democracy simultaneously presides over the rise of the bourgeois individual and his or her anonymity; the modern individual is also the ‘man lost in the crowd'”.

***

“By definition, then, democracy is an unsettling, a conflictual space; it is therefore undermined by liberal attempts to reduce this conflict; it is destroyed by the valorisation and encouragement of pluralism, i.e., one of a plurality of positive and peaceful coexisting differences”.

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