DepositFrom Constantinople to the Frontier: The City and the Cities

From Constantinople to the Frontier: The City and the Cities provides twenty-five articles addressing the concept of centres and peripheries in the late antique and Byzantine worlds, focusing specifically on urban aspects of this paradigm. Spanning from the fourth to thirteenth centuries, and ranging from the later Roman empires to the early Caliphate and medieval New Rome, the chapters reveal the range of factors involved in the dialectic between City, cities, and frontier. Including contributions on political, social, literary, and artistic history, and covering geographical areas throughout the central and eastern Mediterranean, this volume provides a kaleidoscopic view of how human actions and relationships worked with, within, and between urban spaces and the periphery, and how these spaces and relationships were themselves ideologically constructed and understood.

DepositThe City of Reason: The City as Human Habitus

Pt1 Cities and Citizenship This part makes the case for expanding ‘the political’ as a public life at the expense of centralised abstract state politics through making available extensive public spaces for the exercise of local citizen power at the level of the neighbourhood, town, and city confederation. Pt2 The Philosophical Idea of the City This part grounds the conception of public life in a normative philosophical anthropology which identifies the city as a moral and social realm promoting culture and civilisation. Pt3 Universitas The City from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance This part examines attempts to establish universalism up to and including the Renaissance. Pt4 The Rationalisation of the City This part traces the evolution of reason via the processes of abstraction, quantification and commodification to define an ethic of urban justice which affirms values and structures of reciprocity, interaction and solidary exchange within the associational space of civil society. Pt5 The Economic Concept of the City The critical focus of this part is upon abstracting and diremptive tendencies within the city, particularly with respect to new symbolic and informational economic geographies. Pt6 The City as Social Movement This part addresses the problematic character of the “common good” in a modern plural world by developing a conception of urban justice. This part proceeds to examine the possibility of reasserting place-based social meaning through the principle of community control. Pt7 The Ecological Concept of the City Putting reason on a rational basis through the social and discursive constitution of the city makes it possible to develop the ecological implications of “rational” principles of scale and justice. This part shows that a genuine rationalization is characterized by the interpenetration of social and environmental justice facilitating the integration of communities in their ecological community.

DepositMatricide in the City

Explores the invisible man, in Ralph Ellison’s “The Invisible Man,” as borrowing upon associations of patriarchal maleness, in the sense Ann Douglas in her “Terrible Honesty” argues 20s modern’s did, to secure freedom from feelings of entrapment by maternal figures, whose near-proximity to him is expressed in the text as often incestuous, gross; body-oppressive and engulfing.

DepositThe city as an aesthetic space

This paper uses the relational space paradigm to bridge some gaps between the field of aesthetics and the field of urban studies. By introducing the concept of aesthetic space, I analyze a particular sort of direct lived experience through which memories of the past, latent reality and the actualized perceived present are conjured together, informing one another. Studying the aesthetic space can help urban researchers better understand how the world becomes internalized or externalized by inhabitants, how they develop a stronger concern for justice, or how novelty is borne from a constant dialogue between the ethical and the aesthetic. Like many other social phenomena, aesthetic categories are emergent, meaning that categories with different qualities appear at each different scale. In this sense, aesthetic appreciation of the city as a whole cannot be solely understood as the sum of the aesthetic appreciations of its separate parts. The production of a scale as a societal problem is analyzed through the concept of style. A few examples are examined.

DepositCities of InfraRed

Cities of InfraRed is an abstract for my proposed contribution to a book that is being put together by Cornelia Sollfrank, Shuhsa Niederberger and Felix Stalder. The book has the working title of Aesthetics of the Commons, and arises out of the Creating Commons research project at the Zurich University of the Arts. A version of Cities of InfraRed with the live links is available on my blog here:

DepositLeading the inclusive city: place-based innovation for a bounded planet

While acknowledging the difficulties cities face, Leading the Inclusive City mounts a powerful case that cities do have tools at their disposal for ameliorating inequality, advancing social justice, promoting environmental responsibility, and bolstering community empowerment. Susan Marie Martin thinks citizens of all cities will find this book readable and accessible.

DepositRecovering the Meta-Narrative of the Good City: Manchester as a Post-Industrial City

This book is motivated by a concern that the city is in danger of losing its traditional functions as a place of human interaction and reciprocity, as meeting place and associational space. The quality of individual interaction establishes the content of civic, political and cultural life in the city. The problem is that these precious resources are being suppressed by purely quantitative measures of growth and development. This study seeks to recover the sense of the city as an urban public life, an approach which conceives the city as being something more than a commercial centre and the individual as something more than a consumer. The city is valued as a key site in efforts aiming at civic and cultural renewal. This view defines urban regeneration as involving much more than economics, as pertaining to a public, communal and civic modus vivendi. The aim of this book is therefore to recover the city as an anthropological datum through the conceptual formulation of the urban public sphere. Examining the philosophical, social and ecological conditions for the recovery of the grand narrative of “the good city”, the book challenges postmodernist celebrations of otherness, difference and conflict. The postmodernist view is criticised as a condition of urban diremption.