Essay: Nostalgia According to Lowenthal

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[. . .] Nostalgia goes against the very concept of progress, as progress is conceived as time moving forward in a linear direction.

Another dimension of nostalgia is embedded in architectural design. As Lowenthal points out, each era of architecture's past is anchored in time. The creation of an idealized sense of an era, such as Tudor or Renaissance, guides real estate values and property development in addition to new architectural design. Looking back to a nostalgic past, the consumer idealizes old homes and uses labels like "heritage" and "character" to signify nostalgia. Homes are particularly susceptible to a pathological nostalgia, as home buyers project their idealized childhood on new home purchases. The nostalgia in homes can lead to irresponsible purchasing of homes that have "character" but that fall apart almost immediately.

Of course, there are virtues to nostalgia. A balance is needed, especially in the realms of architecture, urban planning, and design. It is just as wrongful to tear down wantonly old buildings and show disrespect for the past as it is to overly fetishize or idealize anything that is from the past. A person is just as neurotic fantasizing perpetually about the future as one who idealizes the past too much. The past is often warped through the lens of nostalgia, but the future can be as well. If a person has an irrational self-concept formed of nostalgia for the past, it will impact how that person lives in the present and what the future will bring.

Therefore, it is important to understand the function and phenomenon of nostalgia. Nostalgia influences design decisions, from the embrace of art deco to the infatuation with Tudor homes. Designers can capitalize on nostalgia by incorporating key elements from the past. Fashion designers especially need to pay attention to the themes trending that can be used to invoke… [END OF PREVIEW]

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APA Format

Nostalgia According to Lowenthal.  (2014, May 6).  Retrieved July 22, 2019, from

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"Nostalgia According to Lowenthal."  6 May 2014.  Web.  22 July 2019. <>.

Chicago Format

"Nostalgia According to Lowenthal."  May 6, 2014.  Accessed July 22, 2019.