Methodological cityism and urban political ecology

Originally posted on David Wachsmuth:

Trantor 2 Planetary urbanization à la Asimov?

Although it’s been in early access for more than a year, the print version of my article with Hillary Angelo, “Urbanizing Urban Political Ecology: A Critique of Methodological Cityism” has just been released in the International Journal of Urban and Regional Research.

Here’s the abstract:

Urban political ecology (UPE), an offshoot of political ecology that emerged in the late 1990s, has had two major impacts on critical urban studies: it has introduced critical political ecology to urban settings, and it has provided a framework for retheorizing the city as a product of metabolic processes of socionatural transformation. However, there was another goal in early UPE programmatic statements that has largely fallen by the wayside: to mobilize a Lefebvrian theoretical framework to trouble traditional distinctions between urban/rural and society/nature by exploring urbanization as a global process. Instead of following this potentially fruitful path, UPE has…

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Urban Artboard : Urban Voids

Originally posted on Gordon's Urban Morphology:

Urban Voids

(Urban Voids, New York, New York. 2014. Image by Greg Gordon)

Along the streets of The Lower East Side sit vacant lots ready for the developers shovel. Sometimes empty for years, these spaces exist in between the rich historical fabric of the storied New York neighborhood. Once the sites of tenements, housing countless immigrant families and dreams for a better life, these voids now stand as a testament to a form of Urban Impermanence.

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Taking a walk with Kandinsky: Street and Canvas

Originally posted on Hybrid Flaneur:

Text: Bill Psarras © 2014

The last couple of days found me going back to Wassily Kandinsky and his influential book ‘Concerning the Spiritual in Art‘ (originally publ. in 1910). It was a book that caught my interest during my BA years. It has been nice to go back in such texts and find intellectual links between painting and walking/flaneur. In this post, I intend to take an imaginary walk with Kandinsky. Interestingly he reflects on the character of canvas – just before the hand initiates a drawing trajectory:

Empty canvas. In appearance – really empty, silent, indifferent. Stunned, almost. In effect – full of tensions, with thousand subdued voices, heavy with expectations. A little frightened because it may be violated” (Kandinsky, 1910)

Street and Canvas: Hand and Foot [tactilities]

The connection between the empty canvas and the street / city just before the first step; is fruitful. Empty canvas is white and…

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Neil Brenner, The urban age in question: towards a new epistemology of the urban – University of Melbourne, 17 March 2015

Originally posted on Progressive Geographies:

Neil-brenner_3Neil Brenner, “The urban age in question: towards a new epistemology of the urban”, University of Melbourne, 17 March 2015 – details and registration here.

In what sense is the 21st century world urban? In this lecture, Neil Brenner critiques contemporary ideologies of the “urban age,” which confront this question with reference to the purported fact that more than 50% of the world’s population resides within cities. Against such demographic, city-centric understandings, Brenner excavates Henri Lefebvre’s (1970) notion of generalized urbanization for conceptual and methodological insights into the 21st century planetary urban condition. He argues that the geographies of urbanization can no longer be conceptualized exclusively with reference to cities, metropolitan regions or even megalopolises, but today encompass diverse patterns and pathways across the planetary sociospatial landscape, from Manhattan to the Matterhorn, from the Pearl River Delta to Mount Everest, from the Nile River valley to the Pacific Ocean…

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Physical Map Projection Mapped

Originally posted on Art & Cartography:

Projection mapping offers exciting opportunities to animate and alter our perceptions of a physical space through light. More often the physical space projected on to is buildings with mesmeric light sequences and often contextual narratives.

Image © 2015 Dalziel and Pow

Much like Louis Daguerre & Charles Bouton achieved a sense of movement through altering the play of light on a large transparent screen with the Diorama in 1822, projection mapping can create this immersive and moving scene onto any 3d object or screen. Through altering the play of light with large amounts of lumens generated by today’s digital projectors, artists and designers can become the theatrical painters without being limited to dark purpose built venues and opaque or translucent paints, instead projections can be achieved in other lighting situations with custom built screens & pixels.

Dalziel + Pow have moved the play of light onto a physical map where they experiment…

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‘The Hidden Light of Objects’

Originally posted on Architecture Here and There:

Kuwait City before the oil boom. (kora.com) Kuwait City before the oil boom. (kora.com)

The fragility of culture, even of culture wrought in the hardness of masonry, is one of the themes of the ten short stories in Mai Al-Nakib’s first book, The Hidden Light of Objects. The second story, “Echo Twins,” is set after oil was discovered but before its exploitation. It is backdropped by life in traditional mud brick houses around courtyards and bunched in groups separated by very narrow winding alleys leading, mostly, to the nearest souk, or market.

Mai Al-Nakib. (thenational.ae) Mai Al-Nakib. (thenational.ae)

Over dinner on her book-tour stop in Providence, Mai told me she thought this story would tickle my own interest in the natural rhythms of traditional architecture.

Throughout the Middle East, old residential patterns are being eradicated, leaving the culture and social mores in tatters. This is happening not only in Kuwait but in Mecca itself. The latter is…

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