After more than a century of heroic urban visions, urban dwellers today live in suburban subdivisions, gated communities, edge cities, apartment towers, and slums. The contemporary cities we know are more often the embodiment of unexpected outcomes and unintended consequences rather than visionary planning.
As an alternative approach for rethinking and remaking today’s cities and regions, this book explores the intersections of critical inquiry and immediate, substantive actions. The contributions inside recognize the rich complexities of the present city not as barriers or obstacles but as grounds for uncovering opportunity and unleashing potential. Now Urbanism asserts that the future city is already here. It views city making as grounded in the imperfect, messy, yet rich reality of the existing city and the everyday purposeful agency of its dwellers.
Through a framework of situating, grounding, performing, distributing, instigating, and enduring, these contributions written by a multidisciplinary group of practitioners and scholars illustrate specificity, context, agency, and networks of actors and actions in the re-making of the contemporary city.
Table of Contents
Part I: Introduction, 1. Thick City, Now Urbanism (Jeffrey Hou, Ben Spencer, Thaisa Way, Ken Yocom), Part II: Situating, 2. Messy Urbanism: Transformation and Transmutation of Cities under Globalization (Viren Brahmbhatt), 3. The Environmental Contradictions of High-Tech Urbanism (Margaret O’Mara), 4. From Blues to Green: The Future of New Towns Worldwide (Deni Ruggeri), Part III: Grounding, 5. 13,0001 A Waste Odyssey (William Morrish), 6. Contingent Ecological Urbanisms (Jon Christensen), 7. Processcapes: Dynamic Placemaking (Judith Stilgenbauer), Part IV: Performing, 8. Nosotros (We): Two Cultures of Sustainability and the Present City of Las Vegas (Daniel H. Ortega), 9. Making a Farm in the Heart of a City (Osamu Nishida and Arisa Nakamura), 10. Border Urbanities: Embodied and Enacted Performances in a Transnational City (Irma Ramirez), Part V: Distributing, 11. User-Generated Urbanism and the Right to the City (John Bela), 12. Open Source City (Laura Kozak), 13. The Kibera Public Space Project: Participation, Integration, and Networked Change (Chelina Odbert and Joseph Mulligan), Part VI: Instigating, 14. Forget about Utopia (Alfredo Brillembourg and Hubert Klumpner), 15. The Informal Urban Communities Initiative: Lomas de Zapallal, Lima, Peru (Ben Spencer, Susan Bolton, Jorge Alarcon), 16. Shifting Landscape: reTHINKING Central and Eastern European Cities (Martin Joseph Barry), Part VII: Enduring, 17. City Sink – Sinking Cities (Denise Hoffman Brandt), 18. [GU]Growing Urbanism: An Evolutionary Urban Ecology in Cascadia (Gundula Proksch, Joshua Brevoort and Lisa Chun), 19. Pathways of Urban Nature: Diversity in the Greening of the Twenty-First Century City (Andrew Karvonen), Part VIII: Afterword, 20. Cities and Survival (Thomas Fisher)
Jeffrey Hou is Professor and Chair of Landscape Architecture at the University of Washington. His work focuses on critical urbanism, design activism, and democratic placemaking. His previous books include Greening Cities, Growing Communities: Learning from Seattle’s urban community gardens (2009), Insurgent Public Space: Guerrilla urbanism and the remaking of contemporary cities (2010) and Transcultural Cities: Border-crossing and placemaking (2013).
Benjamin Spencer is Assistant Professor in the Department of Landscape Architecture and Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Global Health at the University of Washington. His research engages design as a catalyst for sustainable, community-driven development and technology and its cultural integration.
Thaisa Way is a landscape historian teaching history, theory, and design in the Department of Landscape Architecture at the University of Washington. Her work focuses on feminist and alternative histories of landscape architecture in the US, including Unbounded Practice: Women and landscape architecture in the early twentieth century (2009) and The Landscape Architecture of Richard Haag: From modern to urban ecological design (forthcoming).
Ken Yocom is Associate Professor in the Department of Landscape Architecture at the University of Washington. His work focuses on the functional convergence of urban design and ecological processes, specifically examining design responses to the impact of development on urban water systems. He is a co-author of Basics Landscape Architecture 02: Ecological design (2011).
"Now Urbanism takes the reader through a fascinating journey of a diverse collection of cities, including Nairobi, New York, Mumbai, Manchester, Caracas and Las Vegas. The book examines cities from multiple perspectives: as hotbeds of production and pollution; as beacons of hope in seas of poverty; and as flagships for sustainability in a rapidly globalising world." - Tom Sanya, University of Cape Town, South Africa