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).