Reconsidering ‘Desire’ and ‘Style’: A Lefebvrian Approach to Democratic Orientation in Planning

Open Access Journal | ISSN: 2183-7635

Article | Open Access

Reconsidering ‘Desire’ and ‘Style’: A Lefebvrian Approach to Democratic Orientation in Planning

  • Yukihiro Yamamoto Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Tokyo, Japan

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Abstract:  In Henri Lefebvre’s theory, the space in process of social production is regarded as the very condition of accomplishing the ‘desire’ to do or to create something. This article argues that we need to understand the implications of the ‘desire’ in order to make use of his urban theory in today’s planning. Introducing this idea, in the 1960s and 1970s, Lefebvre attempted  to create our own style of living, that is, to produce the appropriated space which differed from the technocratically-planned spaces where people devote themselves into repetitively fulfilling their needs for specific objects like a laboratory rat in the experiment of looped system. For all his utopian strategies, Lefebvre made practical suggestions on turning our cities more desire-based, that is to say, more democratically designed; it would be very helpful for today’s urban planning to go back to his argument on the difference between ‘desire’ and ‘need’, or the connection between ‘desire’ and the style of living.

Keywords:  cybernanthrope; democratic planning; desire; difference; functionalism; Henri Lefebvre; need; orientation; style

Published:   12 June 2018


© Yukihiro Yamamoto. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.