The “living of time”: Entangled temporalities of home and the city

Alison Blunt, Casper Laing Ebbensgaard, Olivia Sheringham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)
19 Downloads (Pure)


This paper explores the entanglements between urban and domestic temporalities in order to understand what it means to live in the city. Inspired by Andrea Zimmerman's 2015 film Estate: a reverie, and drawing on a series of home-city biographies, this paper explores the “living of time” through the memories, experiences, and narratives of residents living on different housing estates near Kingsland Road in Hackney, East London. We address two key questions: how are residents’ experiences of urban living shaped by multi-layered and entangled temporalities of home and the city? What can an understanding of the urban and domestic “living of time” reveal about temporality, home, and the city? We explore the ways in which entangled and multi-scalar “roots” and “routes” chart migration, housing, and family histories for urban residents which, in turn, shape and help to articulate narratives of domestic and urban change in terms of stability and instability. We then turn to the overlapping and/or contested temporalities of urban and domestic lives, whereby residents’ home lives – and their wider ideas about the estate, street, neighbourhood, or city as home – are affected by processes of urban change in complex and often contradictory ways. Finally, we investigate the ways in which home-city temporalities have shaped, and are shaped by, people's hopes and fears for their future homes. Urban dwelling is shaped by multiple and multi-layered temporalities, intertwining the past, present, and future, generations and life courses, and housing, family, and migration histories. The urban and domestic “living of time” reveals how residents adapt to, negotiate, and at times resist processes of change and continuity at home and in the city.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)149-162
Number of pages14
JournalTransactions of the Institute of British Geographers
Issue number1
Early online date28 Jul 2020
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021


  • city
  • home
  • housing
  • neighbourhood
  • temporality
  • urban change

Cite this