Not an academic post, exactly, so forgive me. But it is about the peculiarities of living in an unusually settled city with its own (very) peculiar rules. The game described here is real enough, although CORSON is unaware it’s being played. More seriously, it draws attention to the strangely dilapidated character of one of Edinburgh’s wealthiest areas. Sharon Zukin, when I took her around recently found it very hard to understand. It all looked ‘poor’, she thought. I have to agree, though there’s plenty of money squirrelled away.



“CORSON” is a game for two players. Players must take the role of either the CUSTOMER or CORSON. The game is played in an old-fashioned hardware shop in Stockbridge, on the North side of Edinburgh. The play has competing objectives. If the player is the CUSTOMER, the objective is simply to buy any item from the shop. If the player takes the role of CORSON, the objective is to prevent the CUSTOMER from making a purchase. Detailed rules follow:

1. The CUSTOMER enters shop and requests an item of hardware normally found in such a shop. Nails, screws, bolts and tools are all typical requests. Toasters, vacuum cleaners and other domestic goods are also acceptable requests. For a request successfully fulfilled by CORSON, the CUSTOMER scores 1 point.

2. CORSON cannot refuse a request for an item he has in stock at the time of play. He…

View original post 433 more words

CFP–new Journal of Urban Cultural Studies launched

Visit the new Journal of Urban Cultural Studies site here.

Call for Papers

The Journal of Urban Cultural Studies is a new peer-reviewed publication cutting across both the humanities and the social sciences in order to better understand the culture(s) of cities. The journal is open to studies that deal with culture, urban spaces and forms of urbanized consciousness the world over.

Although we embrace a broad definition of urban cultural studies, we are particularly interested in submissions that give equal weight to: a) one or more aspects of urban studies (everyday life, built environment, architecture, city planning, identity formation, transportation…) and b) analysis of one or more specific forms of cultural/textual production (literature, film, graphic novels, music, art, graffiti, videogames, online or virtual space…) in relation to a given urban space or spaces.

Essays of 7,000-10,000 words (including works cited and notes) should be sent by attachment to the Editor at JUCS is also open to proposals of special issues by guest editors working individually or in teams of two. All citations in other languages should be translated into English for the journal’s international reading public, in addition to including the original text.

While the journal does not publish book reviews, we do publish review essays—which should discuss 3-5 recent books on a shared topic or theme (or place) and run from 2,500 to 4,000 words. Review essays of urban-themed installations or other works of art are also welcome. These essays will be reviewed in house. Given our visual focus, we are interested in original, unpublished artwork on the topic of cities and in publishing articles accompanied by images where appropriate.

We encourage a variety of approaches to the urban phenomenon—the strengths of the editorial board run from urban geography to literature and film, photography and videogames, gender and sexuality, creative economy, popular music, Marxist approaches, fashion, urban planning, anthropology, sociology, Deaf culture, built environment, philosophy, architecture, detective fiction and noir, and more…


I’m chairing Richard Sennett’s talk on his new book ‘Together’, Edinburgh Book Festival, Monday 13 August, 8.30pm. For tickets and further information, see

For more on Sennett himself, go to:

View original post

This may not be entirely true. But it makes 2 serious points about contemporary cities in the developed world: why is it so hard for them to do infrastructure? And is the heritage industry really a problem rather than a solution?



Since Edinburgh’s Old and New Towns were declared UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1995, the city council has worked hard to protect and in many cases restore a historic atmosphere to the city. To the delight of tourists and urban historians, it’s had some wonderful succeses. The Statutory Notice System of building repairs has produced an authentically eighteenth-century feeling of corruption and decline: parts of the city now feel as decadent as the Naples of the eighteenth century Grand Tour. But perhaps the greatest, if least trumpeted, success has been the roads. In line with the council’s policy of restoring an authentic sense of history to the city, it has for some years abandoned all but the most essential road repairs. Aided by the severe winters of the late 2000s, potholes have flourished, leading to the wholesale degradation of entire streets. Now the…

View original post 1,011 more words