The global pandemic has occasioned an impulse to think in monumental terms – totality, catastrophe, portal. This essay commits to a different reading that stops the rush of planning and forecasting, projecting and forecasting. It offers collective life as an analytic that keeps the focus on the ways in which the urban majority is trying to survive and cope within structures of inequality that now bear both the new imprint of COVID-19 while equally holding the continuities of older forms of distancing and exclusion.
Simone argues that the practices for living with instability will be found in those places with an infrastructure for moving forward despite sustained marginalization. It is in these places that we can see the infrastructure for making livable spaces out of unideal and less privileged circumstances.
Being public is essential to social and political life. Political counterpublics, including the growing “climate public” and “mutual aid public,” will be part of any just post-Coronavirus future. As the crisis continues, they are building themselves through various spaces and spatialities of publicness.
If there is something to be cared for in this renewed space of emergency, that thing is not just at the level of individual practice or help the ‘collective,’ but concerns imagining an undisciplined politics of inhabitation, that is, a politics that finds in limited control and circulations ways to counter-do austere fixtures.
The recent work of Robert Beauregard, Laura Lieto and colleagues is at the forefront of attempts at reformulating planning theory around assemblage thinking and the new materialist, post-structuralist and post-humanist thrust it comes with.
Originally developed in relation to the work of artists and architects (Rendell 2006, 2011, 2012; see also Liggett and Perry, 1995), critical spatial practice has since expanded to include discourse among designers, geographers, planners, landscape architects, activists, and philosophers. The following essays, edited by Brent Sturlaugson, join this interdisciplinary effort to catalogue the different forms of critical spatial practice at work in the contemporary built environment.
The promise of urban planning is especially bright in postconflict cities, where planning is expected to bring not only development but also peace. But as Hiba Bou Akar shows in this celebrated book, what followed the 1990 ceasefire was not peace but a “war in times of peace.”
In this well-written and accessible book, Sam Stein explains the role of the state in creating gentrification. In popular discourse, gentrification has often been seen as a “private” phenomena.
This book forum grew out of an “author meets critics” session at the April 2018 meeting of the American Association of Geographers. Lisa Bates, Nate Gabriel, Stephen Healy, and Heather McLean all responded to the book there, raising important questions about feminist theory, black feminist theory, theorizing capitalism, and the utility of the idea of the commons.
This review forum stems from an author-meets-critics session on Austin Zeiderman’s Endangered City: The Politics of Security and Risk in Bogotá and Nikhil Anand’s Hydraulic City: Water and the Infrastructures of Citizenship in Mumbai. The session was organized by Asher Ghertner and held at the 2017 Annual Meeting of the American Association of Geographers in Boston, MA. The forum includes reviews by Malini Ranganathan, Diane Davis, and AbdouMaliq Simone, with an introduction by Asher Ghertner and responses from the authors.
With an eye toward contemporary techno-utopian schemes and city-building initiatives, I argue that the basis of technological approaches to urban rule today—a conception of cities as complex socio-economic systems amenable to market-driven optimization—was forged by postwar administrators and technicians in response to the vicissitudes of uneven development.
Taking the case of Calaveras County, California, Michael Polson's article shows how medical cannabis activists reimagined the urban and rural in capacious ways, thus catalyzing a local transformation that mirrored national trends around drugs, penality and Rightist politics.
This essay by Samantha M Fox show how, during the socialist era, street lamps were an essential instrument in the construction and conceptualization of socialist urban space. Since privatization, they have come to signify the fractured and radically individualized nature of capitalist urban space.
This paper by Martin Müller and Elena Trubina discusses improvisation as a liminal practice of inhabiting the in-between that marks urban spaces from squats and brownfields to communal gardens, from infrastructural maintenance and urban living labs to political protest and solidarity in times of crisis.
Building upon notions of extended urbanization, the essay reflects on the sensory implications of what it means when urbanization becomes extensive, i.e. when decision-making is subject to a multiplicity of forces that make coherent narratives about what is taking place problematic, while “extending” an enlarged field of opportunities as well as constraints for individual livelihoods.
Writings that critically engage the ongoing conditions of coloniality and its effects. Entries in this section may also speculate on intellectual, political and organizational tactics that work to resist coloniality, colonization and colonialism’s effects in the present.
Examines the evolving social, ecological, cultural and geopolitical impacts of energy systems and resource extraction, with particular emphasis on the spatial relationships that structure the extraction, production, distribution and consumption of energy and other natural resources and raw materials
Chronicles past, present, and potential impacts of technoscientific development on the production of space. Provides critical looks into how scientific disciplines and industries influence how we analyze, categorize, experience, interpret, navigate, and represent that which we call space.
Investigates the spatial implications of the mass production, consumption, and disposal of digital media. Core areas of study include the environmental impacts, industrial landscapes, infrastructures, political transformations, social activities, and subjectivities particular to the digital age.
Charts the role that maps and various other forms of geo-visualisation play in the production of space. Offers a critical forum for investigating older modes of cartographic representation as well as newer approaches to big data and the politics of algorithmic and other data-driven processes.
Investigates relations between policing (narrowly and broadly understood), incarceration, and the production of space and spatial knowledge. Borders, criminalized neighborhoods, detention centers, heavily securitized areas, internment camps, jails, prisons, rendition sites, and the spatial relations that they rely on and produce are explored as sites of power and subversion.