Urban Questions: Personal and Political Interrogations

Originally posted on andy merrifield:

Previously published in March 2014 at Pluto Press Blog

By Andy Merrifield

In 1977, when Manuel Castells’ classic book, The Urban Question, was first put into English, I’d been a year out of secondary school, in Liverpool. It was five years after its original French publication, four years since an OPEC oil embargo had sent advanced economies into giddy noise dives, and a year on from the Sex Pistols’ debut hit, Anarchy in the UK. These were heady times, the 1970s, full of crises and chaos, a post-1968 era of psychological alienation and economic annihilation, of Punk Rock and Disco, of Blue Mondays and Saturday Night Fever. The decade was also a great testing ground for a book bearing the subtitle, A Marxist Approach. Indeed, the same year as The Urban Question: A Marxist Approach became available to Anglophone audiences, the Sex Pistols were screaming, “THERE’S NO FUTURE, NO…

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The Beach Beneath the Street

Originally posted on Andrea Gibbons:

10325403If anyone can rescue the Situationist International from a descent into artistic inconsequentiality, it is McKenzie Wark. I always saw amongst their work sparks of interest, but limited sparks. Dying embers maybe. This shifted some of my thinking, and there is a lot here, I think, that continues to demand theoretical and practical work. Perhaps because it is firmly rooted in practice, written by someone who wishes to change the world. Changing the world is always where I though the Situationists fell down the most, their self-published words and collages  greatly removed from the very really battles then and now shaping the dialectic between our physical environment and our lives and the shape of our thought. Where their work is useful for imagining change, you can find it here, and in a lovely selection of their own words in tom mcdonaugh’s edited collection the situationists and the city. But…

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Low, S., & Smith, N., (2006) ‘The Politics of Public Space’, London: Routledge

Originally posted on Espresso Bookworm:

Title: Low, S., and Smith, N., (eds) (2006) The Politics of Public Space, London: Routledge

Date Started: 20th August 2015

Reason for reading: I found this book after a friend tweeted on my article on public space in the UK. With contributions from David Harvey, Cindi Katz, and Don Mitchell, I decided I could not miss reading it – so I ordered it online and it arrived on 20th August.

*If you are keen to read the review of this book, please indicate by ‘liking’ this post

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The living building

Originally posted on neuroecology:

Buildings – even the most cement-filled – are organic; they change through interaction with the parasites that infest them (us, mostly). How often do architects consider this? Ask any scientist who moves into a new laboratory building and you’ll be met with eyerolls and exasperated stories. The new neuroscience institute that I work in is fantastic in many ways, but has some extremely puzzling features such as the need to repeatedly use an ID card to unlock almost every door in the lab. This is in contrast to my previous home of the Salk Institute which was a long open space separated only by clear glass allowing free movement and easy collaboration.

I mostly mention this because the video above – on How Buildings Learn – has a fantastic story at the beginning about MIT’s famous media lab:

I was at the Media Lab when it was brand new. In the…

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[New issue] Journal of Urban Cultural Studies [2.1-2]

The new issue of the Journal of Urban Cultural Studies is available in print and via pdf through library subscription. In addition to an editorial, 4 research articles, and 4 short-form articles, this one features a special section on Urban Soundscapes guest edited by Aileen Dillane And  Tony Langlois And  Martin J. Power And  Orfhlaith Ní Bhriain.

Volume 2 Issue 1-2

Cover Date: June 2015

Text to street: Urban cultural studies as theorization and practice

Page Start: 3
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Cape Town and the sustainable city in the writing of Henrietta Rose-Innes
Authors:  Loren Kruger

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‘X marks the spot’: Urban dystopia, slum voyeurism and failures of identity in District X
Authors:  Martin Lund

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Electronic music scenes: A comparison of the diverging spatial contexts of the electronic dance music scenes of Berlin and Amsterdam
Authors:  Hade Dorst

Page Start: 57
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Vagón fumador: Desire and dissatisfaction in the neo-liberal nocturnal city
Authors:  Fernando Sdrigotti

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Urban soundscapes and critical citizenship: Explorations in activating a ‘sonic turn’ in urban cultural studies

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Dead industrial atmosphere: Popular music, cultural heritage and industrial cities
Authors:  Giacomo Bottà

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At home, I’m a tourist: Musical migration and affective citizenship in Berlin
Authors:  Luis-Manuel Garcia

Page Start: 121
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Our sounds, our city: Urban soundscapes, critical citizenship and the ‘LimerickSoundscapes’ project
Authors:  Aileen Dillane And  Tony Langlois

Page Start: 135
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Ragged places and smooth surfaces: Audio walks as practices of making and doing the city
Authors:  Kate Moles And  Angharad Saunders

Page Start: 151
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‘Our Sonic Playground’: A model for active engagement in urban soundscapes
Authors:  Eric Leonardson

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The right to the city (If You Want It): Marshall Berman and urban culture
Authors:  Gareth Millington

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Neo-liberalism: Persistence and resistance
Authors:  Linus Owens

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Public art practice and urban change: An interview with public art activist Jack Becker

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Madrid’s Gran Vía: An urban cultural history and digital project
Authors:  Benjamin Fraser

Page Start: 205
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New Dotmasters Works In Camden Town

Originally posted on London Calling Blog:

Last week in Camden Town stencil based Street Artist Leon Seesix, aka Dotmasters, was about in order to lay out a series of his newest stencils. Earlier this year Dotmasters’ was busy at work placing up his ‘Rude Kids’ works all around the East End of London, for his most recent wave of pieces in Camden Town, he has placed up one feature work featuring the tagging of the Mona Lisa and a series of pieces making fun of the modern obsession with social media Instagram, and its relationship with Street Art. These works were placed up with support from The Real Art of Street Art.



‘Made For Instagram’ in ready to made square framing.




Dotmasters has made the piece more interactive by offering up the correct viewing, and therefore photographing point,


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Screening “Unmappable” in Rio

Originally posted on Art & Cartography:

Poster_Unmappable_MDMD_Rio2015The Art & Cartography commission will be pretty active at the 27th International Cartographic Conference in Rio. We are organizing A workshop entitled Mapping Ephemeralities / Ephemeral Cartographies (Aug. 21-22, 2015) +  a few paper sessions + our commission meeting on August 25th (17:20 to 18:30) + a film screening.

Indeed, following a tradition started in 2009, this year we will be screening “Unmappable” a 20 min. documentary directed by Diane Hodson and Jasmine Luoma, that presents an original perspective on the life of the most famous (and controversial) contemporary critical cartographer: Denis Wood. This “thought-provoking and disturbing” documentary (as described by Wired) has received several awards in film festivals. This screening will be preceded by the world premiere of a short collective film entitled “Let’s get lost.” This “cartomentary” is about the secret development of a multimentional mapping device designed to map fictional places…


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