Treating cities as laboratories of the modern world, “Infrastructures of the Urban” examines how they are made and how they should be remade. The contributors—scholars and practitioners from architects and sociologists to physicists—bring to bear empirical analysis, ethnography, eyewitness reflections, cultural critique, and manifestos to explore how improving our material and cultural infrastructure can produce a better society.
The authors’ interest in urban experience is ethical as well as scholarly. Topics include the World Trade Center memorial, the planning of the London Olympics, the informal redesign of shanty housing by slum residents in Mumbai and Mozambique, and the more formalized construction of highways and “tech-cities” like Sondgu, South Korea. The contributors show how cities are made and remade daily, as well as how the diverse, unexpected agents involved in the process break down the distinction between experts and laypeople. The essays do not merely examine cities at a theoretical or dispassionate distance but recommend normative values for how cities should evolve to address new social challenges.
Contributors: Ash Amin, Michael Arad, Richard Burdett, Craig Calhoun, Nerea Calvillo, Naresh Fernandes, Gerald Frug, Orit Halpern, Monika Krause, Jesse LeCavalier, Klaus Mainzer, Clapperton Mavhunga, Michael McQuarrie, Wolfgang Pietsch, Saskia Sassen, Richard Sennett, Harel Shapira, Cassim Shepard
Craig Calhoun is Director of the London School of Economics and Political Science. He is the author of The Roots of Radicalism: Tradition, the Public Sphere, and Early Nineteenth-Century Social Movements. Richard Sennett is University Professor of Sociology and History at New York University. He is the author of Together: The Rituals, Pleasures, and Politics of Cooperation. Harel Shapira is a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute for Public Knowledge at New York University. He is the author of Waiting for José: The Minutemen’s Pursuit of America.