The plaza has been a defining feature of Mexican urban architecture and culture for at least 4,000 years. Ancient Mesoamericans conducted most of their communal life in outdoor public spaces, and today the plaza is still the public living room in every Mexican neighborhood, town, and city—the place where friends meet, news is shared, and personal and communal rituals and celebrations happen. The site of a community’s most important architecture—church, government buildings, and marketplace—the plaza is both sacred and secular space and thus the very heart of the community. This extensively illustrated book traces the evolution of the Mexican plaza from Mesoamerican sacred space to modern public gathering place. The authors led teams of volunteers who measured and documented nearly one hundred traditional Mexican town centers. The resulting plans reveal the layers of Mesoamerican and European history that underlie the contemporary plaza. The authors describe how Mesoamericans designed their ceremonial centers as embodiments of creation myths—the plaza as the primordial sea from which the earth emerged. They discuss how Europeans, even though they sought to eradicate native culture, actually preserved it as they overlaid the Mesoamerican sacred plaza with the Renaissance urban concept of an orthogonal grid with a central open space. The authors also show how the plaza’s historic, architectural, social, and economic qualities can contribute to mainstream urban design and architecture today.
Cities for People
Jan Gehl Island Press, 2010 Library of Congress HT166.G438 2010 | Dewey Decimal 307.1216
For more than forty years Jan Gehl has helped to transform urban environments around the world based on his research into the ways people actually use—or could use—the spaces where they live and work. In this revolutionary book, Gehl presents his latest work creating (or recreating) cityscapes on a human scale. He clearly explains the methods and tools he uses to reconfigure unworkable cityscapes into the landscapes he believes they should be: cities for people.
Taking into account changing demographics and changing lifestyles, Gehl emphasizes four human issues that he sees as essential to successful city planning. He explains how to develop cities that are Lively, Safe, Sustainable, and Healthy. Focusing on these issues leads Gehl to think of even the largest city on a very small scale. For Gehl, the urban landscape must be considered through the five human senses and experienced at the speed of walking rather than at the speed of riding in a car or bus or train. This small-scale view, he argues, is too frequently neglected in contemporary projects.
In a final chapter, Gehl makes a plea for city planning on a human scale in the fast- growing cities of developing countries. A “Toolbox,” presenting key principles, overviews of methods, and keyword lists, concludes the book.
The book is extensively illustrated with over 700 photos and drawings of examples from Gehl’s work around the globe.
This book examines the active role of urban citizens in constructing alternative urban spaces as tangible resistance towards capitalist production of urban spaces that continue to encroach various neighborhoods, lanes, commons, public land and other spaces of community life and livelihoods. The collection of narratives presented here brings together research from ten different Asian cities and re-theorises the city from the perspective of ordinary people facing moments of crisis, contestations, and cooperative quests to create alternative spaces to those being produced under prevailing urban processes. The chapters accent the exercise of human agency through daily practices in the production of urban space and the intention is not one of creating a romantic or utopian vision of what a city "by and for the people" ought to be. Rather, it is to place people in the centre as mediators of city-making with discontents about current conditions and desires for a better life.
In the wake of the Great Recession, American cities from Philadelphia to San Diego saw an upsurge in hyperlocal placemaking—small-scale interventions aimed at encouraging greater equity and community engagement in growth and renewal. But the projects that were the most successful at achieving these lofty ambitions weren’t usually established by politicians, urban planners, or real estate developers; they were initiated by community activists, artists, and neighbors. In order to figure out why, The City Creative mounts a comprehensive study of placemaking in urban America, tracing its intellectual history and contrasting it with the efforts of people making positive change in their communities today.
Spanning the 1950s to the post-recession 2010s, The City Creative highlights the roles of such prominent individuals and organizations as Jane Jacobs, Christopher Alexander, Richard Sennett, Project for Public Spaces, and the National Endowment for the Arts in the development of urban placemaking, both in the abstract and on the ground. But that’s only half the story. Bringing the narrative to the present, Michael H. Carriere and David Schalliol also detail placemaking interventions at more than 200 sites in more than 40 cities, combining archival research, interviews, participant observation, and Schalliol’s powerful documentary photography. Carriere and Schalliol find that while these formal and informal placemaking interventions can bridge local community development and regional economic plans, more often than not, they push the boundaries of mainstream placemaking. Rather than simply stressing sociability or market-driven economic development, these initiatives offer an alternative model of community-led progress with the potential to redistribute valuable resources while producing tangible and intangible benefits for their communities. The City Creative provides a kaleidoscopic overview of how these initiatives grow, and sometimes collapse, illustrating the centrality of placemaking in the evolution of the American city and how it can be reoriented to meet demands for a more equitable future.
Contested Histories in Public Space brings multiple perspectives to bear on historical narratives presented to the public in museums, monuments, texts, and festivals around the world, from Paris to Kathmandu, from the Mexican state of Oaxaca to the waterfront of Wellington, New Zealand. Paying particular attention to how race and empire are implicated in the creation and display of national narratives, the contributing historians, anthropologists, and other scholars delve into representations of contested histories at such “sites” as a British Library exhibition on the East India Company, a Rio de Janeiro shantytown known as “the cradle of samba,” the Ellis Island immigration museum, and high-school history textbooks in Ecuador.
Several contributors examine how the experiences of indigenous groups and the imperial past are incorporated into public histories in British Commonwealth nations: in Te Papa, New Zealand’s national museum; in the First Peoples’ Hall at the Canadian Museum of Civilization; and, more broadly, in late-twentieth-century Australian culture. Still others focus on the role of governments in mediating contested racialized histories: for example, the post-apartheid history of South Africa’s Voortrekker Monument, originally designed as a tribute to the Voortrekkers who colonized the country’s interior. Among several essays describing how national narratives have been challenged are pieces on a dispute over how to represent Nepali history and identity, on representations of Afrocuban religions in contemporary Cuba, and on the installation in the French Pantheon in Paris of a plaque honoring Louis Delgrès, a leader of Guadeloupean resistance to French colonialism.
Contributors. Paul Amar, Paul Ashton, O. Hugo Benavides, Laurent Dubois, Richard Flores, Durba Ghosh, Albert Grundlingh, Paula Hamilton, Lisa Maya Knauer, Charlotte Macdonald, Mark Salber Phillips, Ruth B. Phillips, Deborah Poole, Anne M. Rademacher, Daniel J. Walkowitz
Public space and street design in commercial districts can dictate the success or failure of walkable community centers. Instead of focusing our efforts on designing new “compact town centers,” many of which are located in the suburbs, we should instead be revitalizing existing authentic town centers. This informative, practical book describes methods for restoring the health and vibrancy of the streets and public spaces of our existing commercial districts in ways that will make them positive alternatives to suburban sprawl while respecting their historic character.
Clearly written and with numerous photos to enhance the text, Creating Vibrant Public Spaces uses examples from communities across the United States to illustrate the potential for restoring the balance provided by older urban centers between automobile access and “walkability.” In advice that can be applied to a variety of settings and scales, Crankshaw describes the tenets of contemporary design theory, how to understand the physical evolution of towns, how to analyze existing conditions, and how to evaluate the feasibility of design recommendations.
Good design in commercial centers, Crankshaw contends, facilitates movement and access, creates dynamic social spaces, and contributes to the sense of a “center”—a place where social, commercial, and institutional interaction is more vibrant than in surrounding districts. For all the talk of creating new “green” urban spaces, the ingredients of environmentally aware design, he points out, can often be found in the deteriorating cores and neighborhoods of towns and cities across the United States. With creativity, planning, and commitment, these centers can thrive again, adding to the quality of local life and contributing to the local economy, too.
Reconceptualizes the relationship between participatory democracy, technology, and space.
The Internet has been billed by some proponents as an "electronic agora" ushering in a "new Athenian age of democracy." That assertion assumes that cyberspace's virtual environment is compatible with democratic practice. But the anonymous sociality that is intrinsic to the Internet seems at odds with theories of democracy that presuppose the possibility, at least, of face-to-face meetings among citizens. The Internet, then, raises provocative questions about democratic participation: Must the public sphere exist as a physical space? Does citizenship require a bodily presence?
In Cybering Democracy, Diana Saco boldly reconceptualizes the relationship between democratic participation and spatial realities both actual and virtual. She argues that cyberspace must be viewed as a produced social space, one that fruitfully confounds the ordering conventions of our physical spaces. Within this innovative framework, Saco investigates recent and ongoing debates over cryptography, hacking, privacy, national security, information control, and Internet culture, focusing on how different online practices have shaped this particular social space. In the process, she highlights fundamental issues about the significance of corporeality in the development of civic-mindedness, the exercise of citizenship, and the politics of collective action.
Diana Saco is an independent scholar based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Candice Rai’s Democracy’s Lot is an incisive exploration of the limitations and possibilities of democratic discourse for resolving conflicts in urban communities. Rai roots her study of democratic politics and publics in a range of urban case studies focused on public art, community policing, and urban development. These studies examine the issues that erupted within an ethnically and economically diverse Chicago neighborhood over conflicting visions for a vacant lot called Wilson Yard. Tracing how residents with disparate agendas organized factions and deployed language, symbols, and other rhetorical devices in the struggle over Wilson Yard’s redevelopment and other contested public spaces, Rai demonstrates that rhetoric is not solely a tool of elite communicators, but rather a framework for understanding the agile communication strategies that are improvised in the rough-and-tumble work of democratic life.
Wilson Yard, a lot eight blocks north of Wrigley Field in Chicago’s gentrifying Uptown neighborhood, is a diverse enclave of residents enlivened by recent immigrants from Guatemala, Mexico, Vietnam, Ethiopia, and elsewhere. The neighborhood’s North Broadway Street witnesses a daily multilingual hubbub of people from a wide spectrum of income levels, religions, sexual identifications, and interest groups. When a fire left the lot vacant, this divided community projected on Wilson Yard disparate and conflicting aspirations, the resolution of which not only determined the fate of this particular urban space, but also revealed the lot of democracy itself as a process of complex problem-solving. Rai’s detailed study of one block in an iconic American city brings into vivid focus the remarkable challenges that beset democratic urban populations anywhere on the globe—and how rhetoric supplies a framework to understand and resolve those challenges.
Based on exhaustive field work, Rai uses rhetorical ethnography to study competing publics, citizenship, and rhetoric in action, exploring “rhetorical invention,” the discovery or development by individuals of the resources or methods of engaging with and persuading others. She builds a case for democratic processes and behaviors based not on reflexive idealism but rather on the hard work and practice of democracy, which must address apathy, passion, conflict, and ambivalence.
Public protests are a vital tool for asserting grievances and creating temporary, yet tangible, communities as the world becomes more democratic and urban in the twenty-first century. While the political and social aspects of protest have been extensively studied, little attention has been paid to the physical spaces in which protests happen. Yet place is a crucial aspect of protests, influencing the dynamics and engagement patterns among participants. In The Design of Protest, Tali Hatuka offers the first extensive discussion of the act of protest as a design: that is, a planned event in a space whose physical geometry and symbolic meaning are used and appropriated by its organizers, who aim to challenge socio-spatial distance between political institutions and the people they should serve. Presenting case studies from around the world, including Tiananmen Square in Beijing; the National Mall in Washington, DC; Rabin Square in Tel Aviv; and the Plaza de Mayo in Buenos Aires, Hatuka identifies three major dimensions of public protests: the process of planning the protest in a particular place; the choice of spatial choreography of the event, including the value and meaning of specific tactics; and the challenges of performing contemporary protests in public space in a fragmented, complex, and conflicted world. Numerous photographs, detailed diagrams, and plans complement the case studies, which draw upon interviews with city officials, urban planners, and protesters themselves.
The Heroic City is a sparkling account of the fate of Paris’s public spaces in the years following Nazi occupation and joyful liberation. Countering the traditional narrative that Paris’s public landscape became sterile and dehumanized in the 1940s and ’50s, Rosemary Wakeman instead finds that the city’s streets overflowed with ritual, drama, and spectacle. With frequent strikes and protests, young people and students on parade, North Africans arriving in the capital of the French empire, and radio and television shows broadcast live from the streets, Paris continued to be vital terrain.
Wakeman analyzes the public life of the city from a variety of perspectives. A reemergence of traditional customs led to the return of festivals, street dances, and fun fairs, while violent protests and political marches, the housing crisis, and the struggle over decolonization signaled the political realities of postwar France. The work of urban planners and architects, the output of filmmakers and intellectuals, and the day-to-day experiences of residents from all walks of life come together in this vibrant portrait of a flamboyant and transformative moment in the life of the City of Light.
As projects like Manhattan’s High Line, Chicago’s 606, China’s eco-cities, and Ethiopia’s tree-planting efforts show, cities around the world are devoting serious resources to urban greening. Formerly neglected urban spaces and new high-end developments draw huge crowds thanks to the considerable efforts of city governments. But why are greening projects so widely taken up, and what good do they do? In How Green Became Good, Hillary Angelo uncovers the origins and meanings of the enduring appeal of urban green space, showing that city planners have long thought that creating green spaces would lead to social improvement. Turning to Germany’s Ruhr Valley (a region that, despite its ample open space, was “greened” with the addition of official parks and gardens), Angelo shows that greening is as much a social process as a physical one. She examines three moments in the Ruhr Valley's urban history that inspired the creation of new green spaces: industrialization in the late nineteenth century, postwar democratic ideals of the 1960s, and industrial decline and economic renewal in the early 1990s. Across these distinct historical moments, Angelo shows that the impulse to bring nature into urban life has persistently arisen as a response to a host of social changes, and reveals an enduring conviction that green space will transform us into ideal inhabitants of ideal cities. Ultimately, however, she finds that the creation of urban green space is more about how we imagine social life than about the good it imparts.
How to Study Public Life
Jan Gehl and Birgitte Svarre Island Press, 2013 Library of Congress HT166.G43713 2013 | Dewey Decimal 307.1216
How do we accommodate a growing urban population in a way that is sustainable, equitable, and inviting? This question is becoming increasingly urgent to answer as we face diminishing fossil-fuel resources and the effects of a changing climate while global cities continue to compete to be the most vibrant centers of culture, knowledge, and finance.
Jan Gehl has been examining this question since the 1960s, when few urban designers or planners were thinking about designing cities for people. But given the unpredictable, complex and ephemeral nature of life in cities, how can we best design public infrastructure—vital to cities for getting from place to place, or staying in place—for human use? Studying city life and understanding the factors that encourage or discourage use is the key to designing inviting public space.
In How to Study Public Life Jan Gehl and Birgitte Svarre draw from their combined experience of over 50 years to provide a history of public-life study as well as methods and tools necessary to recapture city life as an important planning dimension.
This type of systematic study began in earnest in the 1960s, when several researchers and journalists on different continents criticized urban planning for having forgotten life in the city. City life studies provide knowledge about human behavior in the built environment in an attempt to put it on an equal footing with knowledge about urban elements such as buildings and transport systems. Studies can be used as input in the decision-making process, as part of overall planning, or in designing individual projects such as streets, squares or parks. The original goal is still the goal today: to recapture city life as an important planning dimension. Anyone interested in improving city life will find inspiration, tools, and examples in this invaluable guide.
Modern hygienic urbanism originated in the airy boulevards, public parks, and sewer system that transformed the Parisian cityscape in the mid-nineteenth century. Yet these well-known developments in public health built on a previous moment of anxiety about the hygiene of modern city dwellers. Amid fears of national decline that accompanied the collapse of the Napoleonic Empire, efforts to modernize Paris between 1800 and 1850 focused not on grand and comprehensive structural reforms, but rather on improving the bodily and mental fitness of the individual citizen. These forgotten efforts to renew and reform the physical and moral health of the urban subject found expression in the built environment of the city—in the gymnasiums, swimming pools, and green spaces of private and public institutions, from the pedagogical to the recreational. Sun-Young Park reveals how these anxieties about health and social order, which manifested in emerging ideals of the body, created a uniquely spatial and urban experience of modernity in the postrevolutionary capital, one profoundly impacted by hygiene, mobility, productivity, leisure, spectacle, and technology.
Fifteen years after the end of a protracted civil and regional war, Beirut broke out in violence once again, forcing residents to contend with many forms of insecurity, amid an often violent political and economic landscape. Providing a picture of what ordinary life is like for urban dwellers surviving sectarian violence, The Insecure City captures the day-to-day experiences of citizens of Beirut moving through a war-torn landscape.
While living in Beirut, Kristin Monroe conducted interviews with a diverse group of residents of the city. She found that when people spoke about getting around in Beirut, they were also expressing larger concerns about social, political, and economic life. It was not only violence that threatened Beirut’s ordinary residents, but also class dynamics that made life even more precarious. For instance, the installation of checkpoints and the rerouting of traffic—set up for the security of the elite—forced the less fortunate to alter their lives in ways that made them more at risk. Similarly, the ability to pass through security blockades often had to do with an individual’s visible markers of class, such as clothing, hairstyle, and type of car. Monroe examines how understandings and practices of spatial mobility in the city reflect social differences, and how such experiences led residents to be bitterly critical of their government.
In The Insecure City, Monroe takes urban anthropology in a new and meaningful direction, discussing traffic in the Middle East to show that when people move through Beirut they are experiencing the intersection of citizen and state, of the more and less privileged, and, in general, the city’s politically polarized geography.
Is architecture art? This vexed question has been posed since the 1700s, when—breaking from earlier centuries in which there were no divisions between visual artist, architect, and engineer—architects and laypeople alike began to see these vocations as distinct. Exploring how this separation of roles occurred, and how in the twentieth century arts and architecture started to come together again, The Judicious Eye is the definitive history of the relationships between painting, sculpture, and architecture as they have shifted over the past three centuries.
Joseph Rykwert locates the first major shift during the Enlightenment, when key philosophers drew implied and explicit distinctions between the visual arts and architecture. As time progressed, architects came to see themselves as part of an established profession, while visual artists increasingly moved toward society’s margins, deepening the chasm between them. Detailing the eventual attempts to heal this breach, Rykwert concludes in the mid-twentieth century, when the artistic avant-garde turned to architects in its battle against a stagnant society. The Judicious Eye, then, provides a necessary foundation for understanding architecture and visual art in the twenty-first century, as they continue to break new ground by growing closer to their intertwined roots.
By the 1970s, 42nd Street in New York was widely perceived to be unsafe, a neighborhood thought to be populated largely by drug dealers, porn shops, and muggers. But in 1979, civic leaders developed a long-term vision for revitalizing one especially blighted block, Bryant Park. The reopening of the park in the 1990s helped inject new vitality into midtown Manhattan and served as a model for many other downtown revitalization projects. So what about urban policy can we learn from Bryant Park?
In this new book, Andrew M. Manshel draws from both urbanist theory and his first-hand experiences as a urban public space developer and manager who worked on Bryant Park and later applied its strategies to an equally successful redevelopment project in a very different New York neighborhood: Jamaica, Queens. He candidly describes what does (and doesn’t) work when coordinating urban redevelopment projects, giving special attention to each of the many details that must be carefully observed and balanced, from encouraging economic development to fostering creative communities to delivering appropriate services to the homeless. Learning from Bryant Park is thus essential reading for anyone who cares about giving new energy to downtowns and public spaces.
“. . .thoughtful, beautiful, and enlightening...”
“This book will have a lasting infl uence on the future quality of public open spaces. By helping us better understand the larger public life of cities, Life between Buildings can only move us toward more lively and healthy public places. Buy this book, fi nd a comfortable place to sit in a public park or plaza, begin reading, look around. You will be surprised at how you will start to see (and design) the world differently.”
City plazas worldwide are centers of cultural expression and artistic display. They are settings for everyday urban life where daily interactions, economic exchanges, and informal conversations occur, thereby creating a socially meaningful place at the core of a city. At the heart of historic Los Angeles, the Plaza represents a quintessential public space where real and imagined narratives overlap and provide as many questions as answers about the development of the city and what it means to be an Angeleno. The author, a social and cultural historian who specializes in nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Los Angeles, is well suited to explore the complex history and modern-day relevance of the Los Angeles Plaza. From its indigenous and colonial origins to the present day, Estrada explores the subject from an interdisciplinary and multiethnic perspective, delving into the pages of local newspapers, diaries and letters, and the personal memories of former and present Plaza residents, in order to examine the spatial and social dimensions of the Plaza over an extended period of time. The author contributes to the growing historiography of Los Angeles by providing a groundbreaking analysis of the original core of the city that covers a long span of time, space, and social relations. He examines the impact of change on the lives of ordinary people in a specific place, and how this change reflects the larger story of the city.
In the three largest cities in Sweden, social movement “scenes”—networks of social movement actors and the places they inhabit—challenge threats such as gentrification. The geography of the built environment influences their ability to lay claim to urban space and to local political processes. In Making a Scene, Kimberly Creasap emphasizes that it is the centrality, concentration, and visibility of these scenes that make them most effective. Whereas some scenes become embedded as part of everyday life—as in Malmö—in contrast, scenes in Göteborg and Stockholm often fail to become part of the fabric of urban neighborhoods.
Creasap investigates key spaces for scenes, from abandoned industrial areas and punk clubs to street festivals, bookstores, and social centers, to show how activists create sites and develop structures of resistance that are anti-capitalist, anti-fascist, anti-gentrification, queer, and feminist. She also charts the relationship between scenes and city spaces to show these autonomous social movements create their own cultural landscapes. Making a Scene encourages critical thinking about spatiality and place in the sociology of social movements and the role of social movements as important actors in urban development.
Following the so-called “Material Turn” of historiography, this book explores the materialization of identity in urban space—specifically in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Urban spaces played an important role in the formation of national identities in post-socialist successor states across the region, while at the same time the articulation of national identities markedly affected the appearance of these post-socialist cities. Beginning with an overview of socialist and post-socialist cities in recent urban history, contributors trace the post-socialist intertwining of space and identities in case studies that include Astana and Almaty in Kazakhstan, Chișinău and Tiraspol in Moldova, and Skopje in Macedonia, while also linking this phenomenon to socialist urbanism, as in postwar Minsk, Belarus.
For more than five centuries, the Plaza Mayor (or Zócalo) in Mexico City has been the site of performances for a public spectatorship. During the period of colonial rule, performances designed to ensure loyalty to the Spanish monarchy were staged there, but over time, these displays gave way to staged demonstrations of resistance. Today, the Zócalo is a site for both official government-sponsored celebrations and performances that challenge the state. Performance in the Zócalo examines the ways that this city square has achieved symbolic significance over the centuries, and how national, ethnic, and racial identity has been performed there.
A saying in Mexico City is “quien domina el centro, domina el país” (whoever dominates the center, dominates the country) as the Zócalo continues to act as the performative embodiment of Mexican society. This book highlights how particular performances build upon each other by recycling past architectures and performative practices for new purposes. Ana Martínez discusses the singular role of collective memory in creating meaning through space and landmarks, providing a new perspective and further insight into the problem of Mexico’s relationship with its own past. Rather than merely describe the commemorations, she traces the relationship between space and the invention of a Mexican imaginary. She also explores how indigenous communities, Mexico’s alienated subalterns, performed as exploited objects, exotic characters, and subjects with agency. The book’s dual purposes are to examine the Zócalo as Mexico’s central site of performance and to unmask, without homogenizing, the official discourse regarding Mexico’s natives. This book will be of interest for students and scholars in theater studies, Mexican Studies, Cultural Geography, Latinx and Latin American Studies.
Mahbub Rashid embarks on a fascinating journey through urban space in all of its physical and social aspects, using the theories of Foucault, Bourdieu, Lefebvre, and others to explore how consumer capitalism, colonialism, and power disparity consciously shape cities. Using two Muslim cities as case studies, Algiers (Ottoman/French) and Zanzibar (Ottoman/British), Rashid shows how Western perceptions can only view Muslim cities through the lens of colonization—a lens that distorts both physical and social space. Is it possible, he asks, to find a useable urban past in a timeline broken by colonization? He concludes that political economy may be less relevant in premodern cities, that local variation is central to the understanding of power, that cities engage more actively in social reproduction than in production, that the manipulation of space is the exercise of power, that all urban space is a conscious construct and is therefore not inevitable, and that consumer capitalism is taking over everyday life. Ultimately, we reconstruct a present from a fragmented past through local struggles against the homogenizing power of abstract space.
Public reading programs are flourishing in many Latin American cities in the new millennium. They defy the conception of reading as solitary and private by literally taking literature to the streets to create new communities of readers. From institutional and official to informal and spontaneous, the reading programs all use public space, distribute creative writing to a mass public, foster collective rather than individual reading, and provide access to literature in unconventional arenas. The first international study of contemporary print culture in the Americas, Public Pages reveals how recent cultural policy and collective literary reading intervene in public space to promote social integration in cities in Colombia, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, and Chile. Marcy Schwartz looks at broad institutional programs such as UNESCO World Book Capital campaigns and the distribution of free books on public transportation, as well as local initiatives that produce handmade books out of recycled materials (known as cartoneras) and display banned books at former military detention centers. She maps the connection between literary reading and the development of cultural citizenship in Latin America, with municipalities, cultural centers, and groups of ordinary citizens harnessing reading as an activity both social and literary. Along with other strategies for reclaiming democracy after decades of authoritarian regimes and political violence, as well as responding to neoliberal economic policies, these acts of reading collectively in public settings invite civic participation and affirm local belonging.
Examines how radical bookstores and similar spaces serve as launching pads for social movements
How does social change happen? It requires an identified problem, an impassioned and committed group, a catalyst, and a plan. In this deeply researched consideration of seventy-seven stores and establishments, Kimberley Kinder argues that activists also need autonomous space for organizing, and that these spaces are made, not found. She explores the remarkably enduring presence of radical bookstores in America and how they provide infrastructure for organizing—gathering places, retail offerings that draw new people into what she calls “counterspaces.”
Kinder focuses on brick-and-mortar venues where owners approach their businesses primarily as social movement tools. These may be bookstores, infoshops, libraries, knowledge cafes, community centers, publishing collectives, thrift stores, or art installations. They are run by activist-entrepreneurs who create centers for organizing and selling books to pay the rent. These spaces allow radical and contentious ideas to be explored and percolate through to actual social movements, and serve as crucibles for activists to challenge capitalism, imperialism, white privilege, patriarchy, and homophobia. They also exist within a central paradox: participating in the marketplace creates tensions, contradictions, and shortfalls. Activist retail does not end capitalism; collective ownership does not enable a retreat from civic requirements like zoning; and donations, no matter how generous, do not offset the enormous power of corporations and governments.
In this timely and relevant book, Kinder presents a necessary, novel, and apt analysis of the role these retail spaces play in radical organizing, one that demonstrates how such durable hubs manage to persist, often for decades, between the spikes of public protest.
In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the Jewish socialist movement played a vital role in protecting workers’ rights throughout Europe and the Americas. Yet few traces of this movement or its accomplishments have been preserved or memorialized in Jewish heritage sites.
The Remembered and Forgotten Jewish World investigates the politics of heritage tourism and collective memory. In an account that is part travelogue, part social history, and part family saga, acclaimed historian Daniel J. Walkowitz visits key Jewish museums and heritage sites from Berlin to Belgrade, from Krakow to Kiev, and from Warsaw to New York, to discover which stories of the Jewish experience are told and which are silenced. As he travels to thirteen different locations, participates in tours, displays, and public programs, and gleans insight from local historians, he juxtaposes the historical record with the stories presented in heritage tourism. What he finds raises provocative questions about the heritage tourism industry and its role in determining how we perceive Jewish history and identity. This book offers a unique perspective on the importance of collective memory and the dangers of collective forgetting.
Urban parks such as New York City's Central Park provide vital public spaces where city dwellers of all races and classes can mingle safely while enjoying a variety of recreations. By coming together in these relaxed settings, different groups become comfortable with each other, thereby strengthening their communities and the democratic fabric of society. But just the opposite happens when, by design or in ignorance, parks are made inhospitable to certain groups of people. This pathfinding book argues that cultural diversity should be a key goal in designing and maintaining urban parks. Using case studies of New York City's Prospect Park, Orchard Beach in Pelham Bay Park, and Jacob Riis Park in the Gateway National Recreation Area, as well as New York's Ellis Island Bridge Proposal and Philadelphia's Independence National Historical Park, the authors identify specific ways to promote, maintain, and manage cultural diversity in urban parks. They also uncover the factors that can limit park use, including historical interpretive materials that ignore the contributions of different ethnic groups, high entrance or access fees, park usage rules that restrict ethnic activities, and park “restorations” that focus only on historical or aesthetic values. With the wealth of data in this book, urban planners, park professionals, and all concerned citizens will have the tools to create and maintain public parks that serve the needs and interests of all the public.
The redesign and revitalization of traditional urban centers is the cutting edge of contemporary urban planning, as evidenced by the intense public and professional attention to the rebuilding of city cores from Berlin to New York City's “Ground Zero.” Spanish and Latin American cities have never received the recognition they deserve in the urban revitalization debate, yet they offer a very relevant model for this “return to the center.” These cultures have consistently embraced the notion of a city whose identity is grounded in its organic public spaces: plazas, promenades, commercial streets, and parks that invite pedestrian traffic and support a rich civic life. This groundbreaking book explores Spanish, Mexican, and Mexican-American border cities to learn what these urban areas can teach us about effectively using central public spaces to foster civic interaction, neighborhood identity, and a sense of place. Herzog weaves the book around case studies of Madrid and Barcelona, Spain; Mexico City and Querétaro, Mexico; and the Tijuana-San Diego border metropolis. He examines how each of these urban areas was formed and grew through time, with attention to the design lessons of key public spaces. The book offers original and incisive discussions that challenge current urban thinking about politics and public space, globalization, and the future of privatized communities, from gated suburbs to cyberspace. Herzog argues that well-designed, human-scaled city centers are still vitally necessary for maintaining community and civic life. Applicable to urban renewal projects around the globe, Herzog's book will be important reading for planners, architects, designers, and all citizens interested in creating more livable cities.
Ranging widely across time and geography, Rites of Place is to date the most comprehensive and diverse example of memory studies in the field of Russian and East European studies. Leading scholars consider how public rituals and the commemoration of historically significant sites facilitate a sense of community, shape cultural identity, and promote political ideologies. The aims of this volume take on unique importance in the context of the tumultuous events that have marked Eastern European history—especially the revolutions of 1905 and 1917, World War II, and the collapse of the Soviet Union. With essays on topics such as the founding of St. Petersburg, the battle of Borodino, the Katyn massacre, and the Lenin cult, this volume offers a rich discussion of the uses and abuses of memory in cultures where national identity has repeatedly undergone dramatic shifts and remains riven by internal contradictions.
Rome: A City out of Print
Rose Marie San Juan University of Minnesota Press, 2001 Library of Congress DG807.6.S26 2001 | Dewey Decimal 937
An intriguing look at what printed materials tell us about daily life and public space in seventeenth-century Rome.
Focusing on images and descriptions of movement and spectacle-everyday street activities, congregations in market piazzas, life in the Jewish ghetto and the plague hospital, papal and other ceremonial processions, public punishment, and pilgrimage routes-Rose Marie San Juan uncovers the social tensions and conflicts within seventeenth century Roman society that are both concealed within and prompted by mass-produced representations of the city. These depictions of Rome-guidebooks, street posters, broadsheets and brochures, topographic and thematic maps, city views, and collectible images of landmarks and other famous sights-redefined the ways in which public space was experienced, controlled, and utilized, encouraging tourists, pilgrims, and penitents while constraining the activities and movements of women, merchants, dissidents, and Jews.
San Juan contends that the representations of urban space afforded by new print technologies were appropriated by a wide variety of people in the city for purposes that ranged from regulation to opposition. A sophisticated analysis of the contested relations between people, print culture, and urban modernity, Rome: A City Out of Print also offers a rich portrait of the life of the street and the city.
Rose Marie San Juan is associate professor in the Department of Art History, Visual Art, and Theory at the University of British Columbia.
For most, the term “public space” conjures up images of large, open areas: community centers for meetings and social events; the ancient Greek agora for political debates; green parks for festivals and recreation. In many of the world’s major cities, however, public spaces like these are not a part of the everyday lives of the public. Rather, business and social lives have always been conducted along main roads and sidewalks. With increasing urban growth and density, primarily from migration and immigration, rights to the sidewalk are being hotly contested among pedestrians, street vendors, property owners, tourists, and governments around the world.
With Sidewalk City, Annette Miae Kim provides the first multidisciplinary case study of sidewalks in a distinctive geographical area. She focuses on Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, a rapidly growing and evolving city that throughout its history, her multicultural residents have built up alternative legitimacies and norms about how the sidewalk should be used. Based on fieldwork over 15 years, Kim developed methods of spatial ethnography to overcome habitual seeing, and recorded both the spatial patterns and the social relations of how the city’s vibrant sidewalk life is practiced.
In Sidewalk City, she transforms this data into an imaginative array of maps, progressing through a primer of critical cartography, to unveil new insights about the importance and potential of this quotidian public space. This richly illustrated and fascinating study of Ho Chi Minh City’s sidewalks shows us that it is possible to have an aesthetic sidewalk life that is inclusive of multiple publics’ aspirations and livelihoods, particularly those of migrant vendors.
St. Louis's story stands for the story of all those cities whose ambitions and civic self-image, forged from the growth of the mercantile and industrial eras, have been dramatically altered over time. More dramatically, perhaps, than most -- but in a manner shared by all -- St. Louis's changing economic base, shifting population and altered landscape have forced scholars, policymakers, and residents alike to acknowledge the transciency of what once seemed inexorable metropolitan trends: concentration, growth, accumulated wealth, and generally improved well-being.
In this book, Eric Sandweiss scrutinizes the everyday landscape -- streets, houses, neighborhoods, and public buildings -- as it evolved in a classic American city. Bringing to life the spaces that most of us pass without noticing, he reveals how the processes of dividing, trading, improving, and dwelling upon land are acts that reflect and shape social relations. From its origins as a French colonial settlement in the eighteenth century to the present day, St. Louis offers a story not just about how our past is diagrammed in brick and asphalt, but also about the American city's continuing viability as a place where the balance of individual rights and collective responsibilities can be debated, demonstrated and adjusted for generations to come.
Through voicemail, apps, websites, and Twitter, Boston’s sophisticated 311 system allows citizens to report potholes, broken streetlights, graffiti, and vandalism that affect everyone’s quality of life. Drawing on Boston’s rich data, Daniel T. O’Brien offers a model of what smart technology can do for cities seeking both growth and sustainability.
What Makes a Great City
Alexander Garvin Island Press, 2016 Library of Congress HT185.G37 2016 | Dewey Decimal 307.1216
One of Planetizen's Top Planning Books for 2017 • San Francisco Chronicle's 2016 Holiday Books Gift Guide Pick
What makes a great city? Not a good city or a functional city but a great city. A city that people admire, learn from, and replicate. City planner and architect Alexander Garvin set out to answer this question by observing cities, largely in North America and Europe, with special attention to Paris, London, New York, and Vienna.
For Garvin, greatness is not just about the most beautiful, convenient, or well-managed city; it isn’t even about any “city.” It is about what people who shape cities can do to make a city great. A great city is not an exquisite, completed artifact. It is a dynamic, constantly changing place that residents and their leaders can reshape to satisfy their demands. While this book does discuss the history, demographic composition, politics, economy, topography, history, layout, architecture, and planning of great cities, it is not about these aspects alone. Most importantly, it is about the interplay between people and public realm, and how they have interacted throughout history to create great cities.
To open the book, Garvin explains that a great public realm attracts and retains the people who make a city great. He describes exactly what the term public realm means, its most important characteristics, as well as providing examples of when and how these characteristics work, or don’t. An entire chapter is devoted to a discussion of how particular components of the public realm (squares in London, parks in Minneapolis, and streets in Madrid) shape people’s daily lives. He concludes with a look at how twenty-first century initiatives in Paris, Houston, Atlanta, Brooklyn, and Toronto are making an already fine public realm even better—initiatives that demonstrate what other cities can do to improve.
What Makes a Great City will help readers understand that any city can be changed for the better and inspire entrepreneurs, public officials, and city residents to do it themselves.
Can nature—in all its unruly wildness—be an integral part of creative landscape design? In her beautifully illustrated book, Wild by Design, award-winning designer Margie Ruddick urges designers to look beyond the rules often imposed by both landscaping convention and sustainability checklists. Instead, she offers a set of principles for a more creative and intuitive approach that challenges the entrenched belief that natural processes cannot complement high-level landscape design.
Wild by Design defines and explains the five fundamental strategies Ruddick employs, often in combination, to give life, beauty, and meaning to landscapes: Reinvention, Restoration, Conservation, Regeneration, and Expression. Drawing on her own projects—from New York City’s Queens Plaza, formerly a concrete jungle of traffic, to a desertscape backyard in Baja, California, to the Living Water Park in Chengdu, China—she offers guidance on creating beautiful, healthy landscapes that successfully reconnect people with larger natural systems.
A revealing look into the approach of one of sustainable landscape design’s most innovative practitioners, Wild by Design stretches the boundaries of landscape design, offering readers a set of broader, more flexible strategies and practical examples that allow for the unexpected exuberance of nature to be a welcome part of our gardens, parks, backyards, and cities.
In Women and the Everyday City, Jessica Ellen Sewell explores the lives of women in turn-of-the-century San Francisco. A period of transformation of both gender roles and American cities, she shows how changes in the city affected women's ability to negotiate shifting gender norms as well as how women's increasing use of the city played a critical role in the campaign for women's suffrage.
Focusing on women's everyday use of streetcars, shops, restaurants, and theaters, Sewell reveals the impact of women on these public places-what women did there, which women went there, and how these places were changed in response to women's presence. Using the diaries of three women in San Francisco-Annie Haskell, Ella Lees Leigh, and Mary Eugenia Pierce, who wrote extensively on their everyday experiences-Sewell studies their accounts of day trips to the city and combines them with memoirs, newspapers, maps, photographs, and her own observations of the buildings that exist today to build a sense of life in San Francisco at this pivotal point in history.
Working at the nexus of urban history, architectural history, and cultural geography, Women and the Everyday City offers a revealing portrait of both a major American city during its early years and the women who shaped it-and the country-for generations to come.