Lefebvre's Spatial Triad
Lefebvre describes representational space as the space of inhabitants and users. It is the passively experienced space, which the imagination seeks to change and appropriate. Theories, ideologies and much of Lefebvre’s earlier conception of ‘thought’ dominate this space (2000: 135). Representational space overlays physical space, making symbolic use of its objects (1991:39). The slogans, signs of protest and murals that flooded the streets of Paris in May of 1968, were symbolic manifestations of this space. Representational Spaces have their source in history (1991:41). Therefore, the study of the history of thought is crucial to understanding the formation of a representational space in a particular context. However according to LeFebvre, there are no rules of consistency or cohesiveness in this space. This is the space where ideals and social movements form.

Representations of Space are the conceptualized space of planners, scientists, urbanists etc. that tends towards a system of verbal signs (1991:39). Representations of Space take on a physical form. Maps, plans, models and designs are such forms. According to Lefebvre, representations of space are about the history of ideologies (1991:116). These histories of ideologies can be studied by examining how plans of a space change over time. Features that are emphasized in such representations of space often serve as signifiers of prominent ideologies or representational spaces. Representations of space have a substantial role and specific influence in the production of space (1991:42). These spaces ‘intervene’ by construction and by architecture, as a project embedded in a spatial context and a texture which call for ‘representations’ that will not vanish in the symbolic or imaginary realms (1991:42). This space provides a concrete guideline for how ‘thought’ can become ‘action’ (Lefebvre, 2000:165; Harvey, 2001:203).

The final third of Lefebvre’s triad is the spatial practice of a society. It is revealed through the physical and experiential deciphering of space (1991:38). Under neo-capitalism, it embodies a close relation, within perceived space, between daily reality and urban reality. He defines daily reality as daily routine and urban reality by the routes and networks that link up the places set aside for work, ‘private’ life and leisure (1991:38). Spatial practice is cohesiveness, but may not be logically coherent. According to his theory, history of space would explain the development of networks, which are subordinated to the frameworks of politics (1991:117). This happens through “the study of natural rhythms, and of the modification of those rhythms and their inscription in space by means of human actions, especially work related actions” (1991:117). The history of space thus begins with the spatio-temporal rhythms of nature as transformed by a social practice, imposing the ‘meshwork’ of mental and social activity upon nature’s space (1991:117).

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