Palimpsests and urban pasts: The janus-faced nature of whitechapel

Shlomit Flint Ashery, Nurit Stadler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article examines how palimpsests in city spaces are mediated and negotiated by pedestrians' individual everyday experiences. The literature on city spaces and palimpsests is rich; however, it has not examined the sharing and fusing of palimpsests into everyday life. To fill this lacuna, we explore how pedestrians mediate the physical path of the parcellations and the layers of meanings accrued over the years. We describe what we term the "Janus face of Whitechapel Road" that characterizes the multidimensional and ever-changing face of London as a world city. We look at the different traffic hinges distributed throughout the urban setting and track people as they encounter these historical and aesthetic landmarks. The experience of London's palimpsests is an exemplar of this Janus's face, governed by transitions, time, duality, and passages.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)e0251064
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2021


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