The dialogue between shared and private territories at each scale of settlement provides a broad framework with which the social relationships of the city are organised, and aspects of the cultural landscape are perceived. The increasing borderlessness of knowledge and movement in the global context requires an understanding of physical and symbolic territories, as subsequently, a desire emerges to reestablish ‘local’ territories within which a definition of the ‘we’ from the ‘other’ can be perceived. A tendency to grasp for idealizations of social spaces and exaggerated representations of difference, is combined with a notion of the public realm which is coloured by dominant interpretations that permeate contemporary urban space. Henri Lefebvres work The Production of Space, articulates the manner in which the lived space is susceptible to the dominant forces of visual representation (Miles, 2002, 136-137), possessing the capacity to perpetuate a singular perspective as illustrative of the ‘commonplace’ or the ‘norm’. Architecture and the urban fabric as visual genres, participate in the representation of dominant notions of ‘we’. An ‘authentic knowledge’ of interconnected city spaces (Lefebvre in Hayden, 1995, 14) requires a critique of the modes of its production in representing cities.
This argument questions the capacity of dominant notions of ‘legitimate’ spaces of the European city model, to facilitate the expression of diverse populations of the contemporary city, under the strain of cultural discontinuity. I n examining regeneration strategies in post-Wall Berlin, it is argued that the innovative development of culturally positive space, is found outside the self-conscious continuum of city representations, and becomes threatened by the drive to reinstate a rational and economically regenerative urban ideal. Furthermore, when ideals of regeneration are designed to encompass a broader regional context, as explored through the case of the post-industrial Ruhr Region in Germany, the dominant notion of cultural identity appears to disregard the scale of intimate, lived interactions, through which marginalized groups find access to shared urban territories.