Atmospheres of the Entrepreneurial City: Harbour Fronts and the Art of Staging Urban Life

Anna Brandt Østerby

Student thesis: Master thesis


This master’s thesis investigates atmospheres of harbor fronts in the entrepreneurial city. It is argued that taking an atmospheric approach to study entrepreneurial cities provides a simultaneous focus on the spatial dimensions of urban life, on the sensory side of urban life, and, finally, on immanent power tensions of urban life. The thesis opens with an introduction to the emergence of the entrepreneurial city and how it is entangled with aesthetics, and then proceeds by applying the notion of atmospheres as defined by Gernot Böhme in his rewriting of aesthetic theory. This provides the theoretical understanding of atmospheres as a prevalent and potent matter in the entrepreneurial city. Based on this theoretical framework a particular harbour site in Copenhagen is studied using methods from sensory ethnography, to analyse how atmospheres are produced. Next it is investigated how atmospheric power works through processes of design and experience of the harbour front. This opens a final discussion of emergent tensions in the atmospheres of harbour fronts in the entrepreneurial city, leading to the assertion of considerately managing atmospheres in the revitalisation of these new urban prime sites, in ways that relate to extant life forms. Thereby, it is also argued to adopt an explicitly atmospheric approach and dedicate attention to the sensory side of urban life in the entrepreneurial city.

EducationsMSc in International Marketing and Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2015
Number of pages102