In Being Urban, Simon Goldhill and his team of outstanding urbanists explore the meaning of the urban condition, with particular reference to the Middle East. As Goldhill explains in his introduction, ‘What is a good city?’, five questions motivate the book:
How can a city be systematically planned and yet maintain a possibility of flexibility, change, and the wellbeing of citizens?
How does the city represent itself to itself, and image its past, its present and its future?
What is it to dwell in, and experience, a city?
How does violence erupt in and to a city, and what strategies of reconciliation and reconstruction can be employed?
And finally, what is the relationship between the infrastructure of the city and the political process?
Following the introduction, the twelve chapters are grouped into four sections: Engagement and Space; Infrastructure and Space; Conflict and Structures; and Curating the City. Through each chapter, the contributors reflect on aspects of urban infrastructure and culture, citizenship, belonging and exclusion, politics and conflict, with examples from across the Middle East, from Cairo to Tehran, Tel Aviv to Istanbul.
Not only will Being Urban further understanding of the topography of citizenship in the Middle East and beyond, it will also contribute to answering one of today’s key questions: What Is A Good City?
Table of Contents
Acknowledgements, The Contributors, Introduction: What Is a Good City? Simon Goldhill, PART I ENGAGEMENT AND SPACE Chapter 1 The Public Realm Richard Sennett, Chapter 2 On Urban Failure Ash Amin, Chapter 3 On the Possibility of Urban Citizenship: Inclusive Identitities, Exclusive Spaces Nezar AlSayyad and Sujin Eom, PART II INFRASTRUCTURE AND AFFECT Chapter 4 Urban Atmospheres Matthew Gandy, Chapter 5 Atmospheric Urban Geopolitics Sara Fregonese, Chapter 6 Becoming a Crowd: Multiple Narratives, Identities and Ambiguities: People's Places in the Near East/Levant: Tahrir Square, Cairo, Taksim Square, Istanbul, Rabin Square, Tel Aviv Mike Turner and Yonka Erkan PART III CONFLICT AND STRUCTURE Chapter 7 The Conditions of Urbicide Wendy Pullan, Chapter 8 Sovereignty and the Urban Question: Exploring the Material Foundations for Imagined Communities of Allegiance in Conflict Cities Diane E. Davis, Chapter 9 Precariousness and Protest: Negotiating Urban Refuge in Cairo and Tel Aviv Irit Katz PART IV CURATING THE CITY Chapter 10 The Levantine Age: Cosmopolitanism and Colonialism in the Eastern Mediterranean Nasser Rabbat Chapter 11 Excavating Urban Imaginaries in Tehran Somaiyeh Falahat, Chapter 12 A Spectral Sumud: Jaffa in Kamal Aljafari's Port of Memory Mezna Qato and Sadia Shirazi, Index
Simon Goldhill is Professor of Greek at the University of Cambridge, Fellow of King’s College, and Foreign Secretary and Vice-President of the British Academy.