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Designing Urban Transformation

Inam, Aseem

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ISBN 10: 0415837693 / ISBN 13: 9780415837699
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Bibliographic Details

Title: Designing Urban Transformation

Publication Date: 2013

Binding: HRD

Book Condition:New

About this title


While designers possess the creative capabilities of shaping cities, their often-singular obsession with form and aesthetics actually reduces their effectiveness as they are at the mercy of more powerful generators of urban form. In response to this paradox, Designing Urban Transformation addresses the incredible potential of urban practice to radically change cities for the better. The book focuses on a powerful question, "What can urbanism be?" by arguing that the most significant transformations occur by fundamentally rethinking concepts, practices, and outcomes. Drawing inspiration from the philosophical movement known as Pragmatism, the book proposes three conceptual shifts for transformative urban practice:

(a) beyond material objects: city as flux,

(b) beyond intentions: consequences of design, and

(c) beyond practice: urbanism as creative political act.

Pragmatism encourages us to consider how we can make deeper and more systemic changes and how urbanism itself can be a design strategy for such transformations. To illuminate how these conceptual shifts operate in vastly different contexts through analysis of transformative urban initiatives and projects in Belo Horizonte, Boston, Cairo, Karachi, Los Angeles, New Delhi, and Paris. The book is a rare integration of theory and practice that proposes essential ways of rethinking city-design-and-building processes, while drawing critical lessons from actual examples of such processes.

From the Author:

What do I hope to accomplish with this book, Designing Urban Transformation?
The conventional fields that engage most directly with what I call the city-design-and-building processes (the hyphens indicate continuous, evolving, and ongoing phenomena) such as urban design, architecture, landscape architecture and even city planning are involved with one of the most critical tasks of the 21st century:  to imagine the cities of tomorrow, starting tomorrow morning.  These fields posses many unique strengths:  they are inherently creative, visionary, interdisciplinary, and action-oriented.  Yet, they are also among the most ineffectual fields when it comes to actually shaping cities in ways that make a genuine difference in people's live.  This lacuna derives from an often-singular obsession with form and space and from a willful indifference to the deeper political economic structures that actually shape cities.  With this book, I hope to inspire such urbanists to more critically engage with these power structures so they can have a genuine impact on the city.  I also hope to offer a much broader view of design and urbanism for activists, urban scholars, artists, social scientists, policy makers, and engaged citizens to realize that they too can engage with cities in creative, visionary, interdisciplinary and ultimately transformative ways through the kinds of conceptual rethinking and design strategies described in Designing Urban Transformation.

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