Paul Chatterton – Unlocking Sustainable Cities: A Manifesto for Real Change

Paul Chatterton, Unlocking Sustainable Cities: A Manifesto for Real Change, forthcoming with Pluto this month.

Unlocking Sustainable CitiesThis book is a manifesto for real urban change. Today, our urban areas are held back by corporate greed, loss of public space and rising inequality. This book highlights how cities are locked into unsustainable and damaging practices, and how exciting new routes can be unlocked for real change.

Across the world, city innovators are putting real sustainability into practice – from transforming abandoned public spaces and setting up community co-operatives, to rewilding urban nature and powering up civic energy.

Paul Chatterton explores the power of these city experiments that harness the creative power of the collective, focusing on five themes: compassion, imagination, experimentation, co-production and transformation; and four city systems: mobility, energy, community and nature. Imagining radical alternatives, such as car-free, post-carbon, common and ‘bio-cities’, this is a toolkit for unlocking real urban change.

In this case it is fair to say that theory follows action. Here is a TED presentation where Chatterton talks about the LILAC co-housing community project he helped to develop in West Leeds.

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Historical Materialism 15th Annual Conference

Historical Materialism 15th Annual Conference – 8-11 November 2018, SOAS, London — via Progressive Geographies

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Extracurricular: Culler’s Theory of the Lyric

The last issue of Diacritics revolves around Jonathan Culler’s Theory of the Lyric (Harvard University Press, 2015, released in paperback in 2017), a book that has been demanding my attention for a while. Culler’s new ideas in his contribution to the special issue remind me that I desperately need some free time to finally read the book.

For those interested in Culler’s concept, you can read his own recent synthesis published in Nordisk Poesi, this interview with the author in Los Angeles Review of Books, or watch this recording of a discussion about the book at Cornell:

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David Harvey – A Companion to Marx’s Capital, complete edition (Verso, forthcoming November 2018)

Verso is publishing a new, complete edition of David Harvey’s A Companion to Marx’s Capital – out next month.

9781788731546In recent years, we have witnessed a surge of interest in Marx’s work in the effort to understand the origins of our current predicament. For nearly forty years, David Harvey has written and lectured on Capital, becoming one of the world’s foremost Marx scholars. Based on his recent lectures, this current volume – finally bringing together his guides to volumes I, II and much of III of Das Kapital – aims to bring this depth of learning to a broader audience, guiding first-time readers through a fascinating and deeply rewarding text.

A Companion to Marx’s Capital offers fresh, original and sometimes
critical interpretations of a book that changed the course of history
and, as Harvey intimates, may do so again.

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Neil Faulkner – A Radical History of the World (Pluto, 2018)

Neil Faulkner, A Radical History of the World (London: Pluto, 2018), was released last month. is a weapon. The powerful have their version of events, the people have another. And if we understand how the past was forged, we arm ourselves to change the future.

This is the history of the struggle and revolution of human society: of hominids, hunters and herders; of emperors and slaves; of patriarchs and women; of rich and poor; of dictators and revolutionaries. From the ancient empires of Persia and Rome to the Russian Revolution, the Vietnam War, and the 2008 Crash, this is a history of greed and violence, but also of solidarity and resistance.

Many times in the past, a different society became an absolute necessity. Humans have always struggled to create a better life. This history proves that we, the many, have the power to change the world.

Pluto’s website includes a related post by Faulkner: ‘Radical History vs. Revisionist History.’

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Sonja Dümpelmann – Seeing Trees: A History of Street Trees in New York City and Berlin

Sonja Dümpelmann, Seeing Trees: A History of Street Trees in New York City and Berlin  — Yale University Press, forthcoming January 2019 A fascinating and beautifully illustrated volume that explains what street trees tell us about humanity’s changing relationship with nature and the city

Today, cities around the globe are planting street trees to mitigate the effects of climate change. However, as landscape historian Sonja Dümpelmann explains, this is not a new phenomenon. In her eye-opening work, Dümpelmann shows how New York City and Berlin began systematically planting trees to improve the urban climate during the nineteenth century, presenting the history of the practice within its larger social, cultural, and political contexts.

A unique integration of empirical research and theory, Dümpelmann’s richly illustrated work uncovers this important untold story. Street trees—variously regarded as sanitizers, nuisances, upholders of virtue, economic engines, and more—reflect the changing relationship between humans and nonhuman nature in urban environments. Offering valuable insights and frameworks, this authoritative volume will be an important resource for years to come.

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[Re]Form: New Investigations in Urban Form (video)

Recordings of a recent multidisciplinary symposium on urbanization at Harvard GSD, including amongst others papers by Pier Vittorio Aureli, Colin McFarlane and Kees Christiaanse. There is an interesting exchange between Aureli and Neil Brenner at the end of panel 1, dealing with the history of the urban grid vis-à-vis capitalist development, and the political implications of diverse spatial configurations — lots to think about.

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