Chronotopes of urban centralities

May 24, 2022

Just another achievement pinned on the Geography Department's honor board…

This post will not be so long, but rather momentous in terms of academic gratification. We would like to subtly point to our publication in The Geographical Journal in which we revised the classical perspective of urban centralities through the concept of spatiotemporal prominence. We explained prominence as a product of certain time regimes or rhythms, which tend to be spatialized through certain urban places. Our argument is based on the placemaking power of the urban beat that constantly shapes and transforms the relatively static spatiality of the city.


  • Firstly, temporal prominence can be interpreted as a quality arising when there is a transition between the two distinct spatiotemporal environments. These buffer zones sequence the individual daily routines into semi-coherent blocks. An example is the morning rush hours, which connecs night time with the beginning of an active day.
  • Secondly, symbolic power of certain times and spatiotemporal events is often exercised in different dimensions than one would expect at first sight. For example, lunch is not only linked to the biological needs of human metabolism, but also divides spatiotemporal activities into "before lunch" and "after lunch" as a temporal stamp or milestone. As such, these kinds of symbolic markers do not necessarily have to be fixed in the coordinates of the mechanical time; they themselves represent meaningful times relatively independent of chronological metrics.
  • Thirdly, prominent times always have an underlying current of kairos (Rämö, 1999); that is, the idea that the right activity is happening at the right time. They include both planned and spontaneous decisions made to fit less frequent or occasional practices of daily routine into spatiotemporal “windows” that open and close alongside other scheduled daily activities.

Lískovec, R., Lichter, M. & Mulíček, O. (2022) Chronotopes of urban centralities: Looking for prominent urban times and places. The Geographical Journal, 188, 166–176. Available from:

TIMESPACE.CITY Urban Rhythms Research Group

Add a comment