The following conversation between Carles Muro & Richard Sennett tackles Sennett’s Homo Faber trilogy on human nature and urban design. The conversation takes place at the Centre de Cultura Contemporània in Barcelona as part of the biennial Kosmopolis festival and celebrates Sennet’s latest book Building and Dwelling. Ethics for the City (2018).
In this talk, Sennet talks about the importance that he has placed on physicality and the relation between bodies and cities, the ethics of urban spaces and the challenges that global capitalism poses to urban design.
So I’ve posted before on Richard Sennett’s series that begins with 2008’s The Craftsman, continues with 2011’s Together and will end, he says, with a book on the construction of cities that will follow from his earlier looks at craft and cooperation.I’m open, of course, to the criticism of his perspective I’ve heard that cities are in fact not crafts — but I want to highlight a useful metaphor he establishes in Together, pp. 208-12 in a brief section titled “Working with Resistance”:
“The third embodiment relates the artisan’s encounters with physical resistance to difficult social encounters. The artisan knows one big thing about dealing with resistance: not to fight against it, as though making war on knots in wood or heavy stone; the more effective way is to employ minimum force.” (208)
“Resistance arises, then, in physical matter itself and also in making sense of matter, the second kind of difficulty often spawned by better tools. In fighting against resistance we will become more focused on getting rid of the problem than on understanding what it is; by contrast, Continue reading →