The City in Transgression: Human Mobility and Resistance in the 21st Century, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

The City in Transgression

Human Mobility and Resistance in the 21st Century, 1st Edition

By Benedict Anderson


248 pages | 43 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9780367262303
pub: 2020-07-28
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The City in Transgression explores the unacknowledged, neglected, and ill-defined spaces of the built environment and their transition into places of resistance and residence by refugees, asylum seekers, migrants, the homeless, and the disadvantaged.

The book draws on urban and spatial theory, socio-economic factors, public space and architecture to offer an intimate look at how urban sites and infrastructure are transformed into spaces for occupation. Anderson proposes that the varied innovations and adaptations of urban spaces enacted by such marginalized figures – for whom there are no other options – herald a radical new spatial programming of cities. The book explores cities and sites such as Mexico City and London, the Mexican/US border, the Calais Jungle, and Palestinian camps in Beirut, and utilizes concepts associated with ‘mobility’ – such as anarchy, vagrancy, and transgression – alongside photography, 3D modelling, and 2D imagery. From this constellation of materials and analysis, a radical spatial picture of the city in transgression emerges.

By focusing on the ‘underside of urbanism,’ The City in Transgression reveals the potential for new spatial networks that can cultivate the potential for self-organization, so as to counter the existing dominant urban models of capital and property and to confront some of the major issues facing cities amid an age of global human mobility.

This book is valuable reading for those interested in Architectural Theory, Modern History, Human Geography and Mobility, Climate Change, Urban Design and Transformation

Table of Contents



Chapter 1 Movement


Civil and Civic

Migratory Fields


Chapter 2 Urban Mobility

Movement to Mobility

Surface Wearing

Indifferent Non-selves


Chapter 3 Indeterminant Occupation

Determinacy of Experience

Opportunities in Space

Discontent with Place

Chapter 4 Ousted Vagrancy

Roaming Where

Loitering How

Unhomely As


Chapter 5 Collective Anarchy

Off the Wall

Rogue Sites

Out of Space

Chapter 6 City in Transgression

Instabilityof Order

The Radical Turn

Infrastructure Edges

Chapter 7Unbounded Mobility

Dwelling in Mobility

Fluid Urbanity

Fabricating Mobility


About the Author

Benedict Anderson is an independent scholar and practices in design, architecture and public art. He has worked in many different universities, lectured extensively as an invited speaker and exhibited in major exhibitions around the world. His previous books, Buried City, Unearthing Teufelsberg, Berlin and its Geography of Forgetting (2017) and The City in Transgression, Human Mobility and Resistance in the 21st Century (2019).

About the Series

Routledge Research in Planning and Urban Design

The Routledge Research in Planning and Urban Design series provides the reader with the latest scholarship in the field of planning and beyond. The series publishes international research covering spatial planning, regional planning, planning history, planning theory, communities, impact assessment, transport, sustainability and urban design. Building on Routledge’s history of academic rigor and cutting edge research, the series will contribute to the rapidly expanding literature in all areas of planning and urban design. 

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
ARCHITECTURE / Urban & Land Use Planning