The Unknown City: Contesting Architecture and Social Space

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9780262024716: The Unknown City: Contesting Architecture and Social Space

The Unknown City takes its place in the emerging architectural literature that looks beyond design process and buildings to discover new ways of looking at the urban experience. A multistranded contemplation of the notion of "knowing a place," it is about both the existence and the possibilities of architecture and the city.An important inspiration for the book is the work of Henri Lefebvre, in particular his ideas on space as a historical production. Many of the essays also draw on the social critique and tactics of the Situationist movement. The international gathering of contributors includes art, architectural, and urban historians and theorists; urban geographers; architects, artists, and filmmakers; and literary and cultural theorists. The essays range from abstract considerations of spatial production and representation to such concrete examples of urban domination as video surveillance and Regency London as the site of male pleasure.Although many of the essays are driven by social, cultural, and urban theory, they also tell real stories about real places. Each piece is in some way a critique of capitalism and a thought experiment about how designers and city dwellers working together can shape the cities of tomorrow.

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About the Author:

Iain Borden is Director of the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL.

From Library Journal:

In a rather opaque and highly theoretical introduction, the editors explore how the inhabitant of the city perceives urban images and symbols and constructs the urban experience, relating this discussion to their interest in the triad of "space, time, and the human subject." But the best of these 29 readable and stimulating essays (by almost as many contributors) explore with clarity and ease what Dolores Hayden refers to as "cultural geography," or the effect of a particular urban experience on the perception of its physical landscape. Most of the essays focus on cities in Great Britain, while three discuss New York and one looks at Los Angeles. The best document the social and political forces that modify and control urban form: M. Christine Boyer's "Twice-Told Stories: The Double Erasure of Times Square," William Menking's "From Tribeca to Triburbia: A New Concept of the City," Dolores Hayden's "Claiming Women's History on the Urban Landscape: Projects from Los Angeles," and a highly personal and virtually antiurban essay by bell hooks, "City Living: Love's Meeting Place." Recommended for all academic architecture collections.DPaul Glassman, New York Sch. of Interior Design Lib.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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