Fear and Awe in the Vertical City: the Affective Space of “Going High”

Fear and Awe in the Vertical City: the Affective Space of “Going High”

150 150 Valerio Perna

Fear and Awe in the Vertical City: the Affective Space of "Going High"

DOI: https://doi.org/10.37199/f410020017

Author: Federico De Matteis
Affiliation: University of l'Aquila

Vertical cities are the hallmark of modern urbanization, and since their origin have represented the global places of progress, power and affluency. As skyscrapers and towers soar around the world, in an ever-increasing quest for height, the space of cities changes, affording its inhabitants with new, powerful affects. Yet not all emotions produced by the verticality of buildings are positive: together with the awe and wonder of the challenge to the sky, fear and anxiety also make their way into the urban subjects’ embodied experiences. In this paper, I enucleate some of the spatial dynamics of verticality, and discuss the pros and cons of this model of urbanization, together with some of its further implications, such as the repercussions on density and sustainability

Publisher: Polis_press


Böhme, G. (2017). The Aesthetics of Atmospheres. London and New York: Routledge.

De Matteis, F. (2018). The city as a mode of perception. Corporeal dynamics in urban space. In F. Aletta & J. Xiao (Eds.), Handbook of Research on Perception-driven Approaches to Urban Assessment and Design (pp. 438–457). Hershey: IGI Global.

De Matteis, F. (2021a). Affective Spaces: Architecture and the Living Body. London and New York: Routledge.

De Matteis, F. (2021b). Fear of spaces, spaces of fear. Anxiety, agoraphobia and other urban affects. In S. Catucci & F. De Matteis (Eds.), The Affective City / 1 (pp. 274–295). Siracusa: LetteraVentidue. Gehl, J. (2010). Cities for People. New York: Island Press. Hall, E. T. (1966). The Hidden Dimension. New York: Anchor Books.

Hasse, J. (2012). Atmosphären der Stadt: Aufgespürte Räume. Berlin: Jovis. Herzog, T. (Ed.). (2000). Nachhaltige Höhe: Deutsche Messe AG Hannover Verwaltungsgebäude. Munich: Prestel.

Jacobs, J. (1961). The Death and Life of Great American Cities. New York: Vintage Books.

Reale, L. (2008). Densità Città Residenza: Tecniche di densificazione e strategie anti-sprawl. Rome: Gangemi. Sitte, C. (1965). City Planning According to Artistic Principles. New York: Random House.