Temporary geographies of the city: the experienced spaces of asylum seekers in the City of Turku, Finland
Temporarity has a significant role in today’s urban spaces and peoples’ experiences of them. The city is often understood through stable material structures, while less attention is paid to such aspects of urban space that are there only for limited time. Such are markets, events, manifestations and construction sites, for instance. Experiences of momentarity may be related to these kinds of elements of the city, but equally to personal feelings of not belonging to the city. In this paper we discuss, firstly, temporary geographies and their importance in today’s urban studies. Debates on relational spaces and moving geographies have directed attention towards the temporary aspects of urban spaces. Temporarity itself has mostly been discussed in relation to urban planning while less attention has been paid to other aspects of everyday life. Secondly, the theoretical aspects of temporary geographies will in this paper be illustrated with the empirical material that was collected among young asylum seekers in the City of Turku in Finland in 2008–2009. The asylum seekers were interviewed and they kept photo diaries about their urban experiences. The material tells about the feelings of momentarity in urban space as the asylum seekers’ uses of the city were coloured by uncertainty while they were waiting for the decision about a permission to stay in the country.