Drawing Urban Complexity and Simultaneity

  • Philipp Wilhelm Antonius Schnell Austria
Keywords: Urban studies, Arts-Based Research, simultaneity, complexity, stream of consciousness, drawing, sketching


The complex and overwhelming nature of impressions that continuously affect the urban dweller and the simultaneity of possible events that unfold in each single moment in any given city, seem to pose a challenge for urban studies, especially when applying traditional textual forms of inquiry. In this article, sketching was used as a research method to capture events and impressions during a weekend in the French city of Bordeaux. Instead of recounting experiences in a textual, hence structured and mostly linear fashion, a ‘stream of consciousness’-sketch was chosen as mode of inquiry, in order to intuitively and accessibly depict memories of the city of Bordeaux. The result is one large Procreate canvas that captures fragments of memories, scenes, sceneries, and experiences, documenting and exploring a stay in the French region of Nouvelle-Aquitaine. Drawing and sketching appear to be apt tools for documenting and addressing urban complexity and simultaneity, allowing for a multiplicity of connections to be established between drawn elements. Also, they offer an intuitive and easily applicable tool for depicting and analyzing city life, while at the same time serving as a means for reflection and meditation for the researcher. Combined with traditional, textual forms of representation, sketching and drawing can add to a multimodal perspective on urban surroundings that can more accurately capture the direct experience of contemporary urban spaces.

How to Cite
Schnell, P. (2021). Drawing Urban Complexity and Simultaneity. BBDS - Black Book: Drawing and Sketching, 2(2), 27 - 38. https://doi.org/10.48619/bbds.v2i2.491