The Fair City part 5: Urban Aesthetics & Spatial Justice

Richard Sennett’s perspective on the role of “disorder” in urban life was further developed in his book The Conscience of the Eye. In this work, Sennett strengthens the relationship between urban diversity and broad political perspectives, and argues for a connection between a concern for urban spaces and concerns with social justice. Building from the … Continue reading The Fair City part 5: Urban Aesthetics & Spatial Justice

The Fair City part 4: Equitable Development & Urban Justice

The following explores how notions of urban aesthetics and urban justice are implicated in contemporary concerns with gentrification and “equitable development.” The term “gentrification” was introduced by sociologist Ruth Glass in her 1964 book London: Aspects of Change. Glass coined the term from the English title “landed gentry,” denoting the land owning social class, to … Continue reading The Fair City part 4: Equitable Development & Urban Justice

The Fair City part 3: Aesthetic Order & Criminal Justice

The following considers how varying aesthetic valuations of urban order and disorder have influenced U.S. urban policy. The history I trace here focuses on one salient case: the “broken windows” perspective of urban disorder and its implementation through policing practices by the New York City Police Department. Broken windows theory began as an academic discourse … Continue reading The Fair City part 3: Aesthetic Order & Criminal Justice

The Fair City part 2: Aesthetics of Urban Order and Disorder

Urban agglomerations have taken many forms and been understood in a variety of ways, but density and difference have long been understood as definitive aspects of cities. From the earliest urban settlements and historical cities, the urban condition has been contrasted with rural settlements as sites of man-made chaos opposed to natural harmony. In his … Continue reading The Fair City part 2: Aesthetics of Urban Order and Disorder

The Fair City part 1: Aesthetics of Urban Order and Justice

In his book The Uses of Disorder, Richard Sennett valorizes the uncontrolled events and heterogeneous populations of cities as creating environmental conditions necessary for healthy personal development and the maturation of open and engaged worldviews. Published in 1970, the then 25-year-old Sennett was writing in the immediate wake of urban riots following the assassination of … Continue reading The Fair City part 1: Aesthetics of Urban Order and Justice

Pittsburgh-Paris Climate Rhetoric Returns

As is now tradition in American politics, the first days of the Biden administration have brought the initial efforts at reversing Trump-era policy positions. Many of these opening salvos have to do with signaling a recommitment to acknowledging climate change. The president has issued several executive orders related to environmental concerns, and the White House … Continue reading Pittsburgh-Paris Climate Rhetoric Returns

Smoke Signals: Buda’s Wagon and Infrastructure Terrorism in Nashville

“The car bomb, in other words, suddenly became a semi-strategic weapon that under certain circumstances was comparable to air-power in its ability to knock out critical urban nodes and headquarters as well as terrorize populations of entire cities. [...] It is the car bombers’ incessant blasting-away at the moral and physical shell of the city, … Continue reading Smoke Signals: Buda’s Wagon and Infrastructure Terrorism in Nashville

Hiroki Azuma’s General Will 2.0 and Urban Planning

The Japanese cultural critic Hiroki Azuma has contributed some of the most inventive contemporary propositions for the use of information and communication technologies for democratic practice. In General Will 2.0 (2014), Azuma argues that democratic ideals should be “updated on the basis of the realities of information society” (p. iii). Simply stated, the proliferation of … Continue reading Hiroki Azuma’s General Will 2.0 and Urban Planning

Watch_Dogs: Legion, part 1: Open Worlds

I love the Watch_Dogs franchise. Or rather, I want to love it. I certainly love the overall concept. The distinguishing features of the series incorporate some of my favorite elements from video games in general, as well as more particular niche interests. For one thing, the games  are set in contemporary urban open worlds that … Continue reading Watch_Dogs: Legion, part 1: Open Worlds

City Space as Projective Medium: From Coronavirus Quarantine to Urban Uprisings

The current confluence of the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic and popular political demonstrations has provided strikingly urgent examples of how city space may be actualized as a projective medium. By “projective medium” I mean to describe a repurposing of urban environments wherein public space serves as a canvas not only for the circulation of artistic representations … Continue reading City Space as Projective Medium: From Coronavirus Quarantine to Urban Uprisings