Distance, anxiety and built form

David Sibley – Geography, University of Leeds

I will talk about the anxieties associated with being ‘too near’ or ‘too distant’ from others. Drawing on modern re-workings of the psychoanalytic theories of Melanie Klein, I will suggest that some kinds of socio-spatial relations can be interpreted as manifestations of psychotic and depressive anxiety. Focusing on the problem of distantiation and the representation of others as shady stereotypes, I will discuss ways in which the built environment exacerbates psychotic anxiety and consider how we might counter psychotic tendencies through design.

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