Heterotopia New York


Michel Foucault first coined the term “heterotopia” to illustrate that spaces have multiple layers of meaning and relationships to other places beyond an apparent understanding. Heterotopia was a term derived from medicine, where it originally meant a cell or a group of cells co-existing within a distinct host cell or tissue. By analogize and extending the medical concept, Foucault argues the possibility of this coexistence as heterotopia comprises multiple compartments that are both contradictory and complementary spaces. In succinct, a heterotopia is a “single real place made up of several spaces, several sites that that are themselves incompatible.” New York, with its unravelled complexity of the city’s various autonomous systems, is simply one of the best examples of postmodern urban hybridization, the city of heterotopias.