Architecture and Cities Reading


As the cost of housing continues to rise and affordable housing remains scarce, we face a global housing crisis of epic proportions. Our cities are now a geographic representation of the widening wealth gap, with the rich moving upwards into sky-high luxury living, and the poor being pushed further and further out. Architecture reflects and reinforces divisions with ever greater brazenness.

This housing crisis has deep political and economic roots—requiring a more radical response than ever before. Familiarise yourself with the geography of inequality, politics, and identity with these books on our modern cities. 

Our Architecture and Cities reading is all 50% off, with free shipping and bundled ebooks (where available), until the end of the year. See here for more sale details.

Vertical: The City from Satellites to Bunkers
by Stephen Graham

Today we live in a world that can no longer be read as a two-dimensional map, but must now be understood as a series of vertical strata that reach from the satellites that encircle our planet to the tunnels deep within the ground. In Vertical, Stephen Graham rewrites the city at every level: how the geography of inequality, politics, and identity is determined in terms of above and below.

“In this panoramic, at times jaw-dropping book, Stephen Graham describes how in recent years the built environment around the world, both above and below ground, has become dramatically more vertical – and more unequal… sharp and memorable… dizzyingly restless… Cities feel different once you’ve read it” – Andy Beckett, Guardian


In Defense of Housing: The Politics of Crisis
by David Madden and Peter Marcuse

Everyone needs and deserves housing. But today our homes are being transformed into commodities, making the inequalities of the city ever more acute. In Defense of Housing is the definitive statement on this crisis from leading urban planner Peter Marcuse and sociologist David Madden. They look at the causes and consequences of the housing problem and detail the need for progressive alternatives. 

Last Futures: Nature, Technology, and the End of Architecture
by Douglas Murphy

Excavating the lost archeology of the present day, Douglas Murphy's Last Futures is a cultural history of the last avant-garde. By creating a historical account of the architects, dreamers and thinkers, who sought to conceive a better future, Murphy shows us that the flexible, socially responsive building lives on, but in mutated form; it's figured as the supermarket and the open-plan office – not spaces of liberation but of control. Murphy diagnoses the source of our current situation and reorients us towards powerful alternative futures.

Radical Cities: Across Latin America In Search of a New Architecture
by Justin McGuirk

"After decades of social and political failure, a new generation has revitalized architecture and urban design in order to address persistent poverty and inequality. Together, these activists, pragmatists and social idealists are performing bold experiments that the rest of the world may learn from." In Radical Cities, Justin McGuirk travels across Latin America asking: what makes the city of the future? In the most urbanized continent on the planet, he discovers activists, pragmatists and social idealists performing bold architectural experiments that the rest of the world may learn from.

Explore Everything: Place-Hacking the City
by Bradley L. Garrett

Explore Everything recasts the city as a space for infinitesimal adventure and exploration. Plotting expeditions from London, Paris, Berlin, Detroit, Chicago, Las Vegas and Los Angeles, Bradley L. Garrett has tested the boundaries of urban security in order to experience the city in ways beyond the everyday. Garrett reminds us that the city should belong to its citizens.

Cities Under Siege: The New Military Urbanism

by Stephen Graham

Cities are the new battleground of our increasingly urban world. From the slums of the global South to the wealthy financial centers of the West, Cities Under Siege traces the spread of political violence through the sites, spaces, infrastructure and symbols of the world’s rapidly expanding metropolitan areas. Drawing on a wealth of original research, Stephen Graham shows how Western militaries and security forces now perceive all urban terrain as a conflict zone inhabited by lurking shadow enemies. He looks at the militarization and surveillance of international borders, the use of ‘security’ concerns to suppress democratic dissent, and the enacting of legislation to suspend civilian law.

Extrastatecraft: The Power of Infastructure Space
by Keller Easterling

In Extrastatecraft Keller Easterling ruminates on the position of infrastructure in space. Infrastructure is not only the underground pipes and cables controlling our cities. Following a new tradition of writing, that looks at how architecture is integrated into larger economic, military, technological, and political narratives, Easterling finds scope for resistance in the modern built environment.

All Over the Map: Writing on Buildings and Cities
by Michael Sorkin

Sorkin's architectural writing is informed by his belief that all architecture is political and All Over the Map is no different. The book focuses on New York, opening in 2001 with the destruction of the World Trade Center, however, rather than a flâneur's account of the city, the book becomes an architectural manifesto, indicative of the wider implications that Sorkin's critical thinking addresses. Sorkin's favours sustainable, bounded, polycentric and diverse cities, a cohesion, that emphasises public arrangement, rather than individual buildings.

Rebel Cities: From the Right to the City to the Urban Revolution
by David Harvey

Critical Geographer David Harvey looks at the city as a site of utopian thinking, he reads the city as a seemingly dichotomous centre of capital accumulation and revolutionary politics. Drawing on the Paris Commune as well as Occupy Wall Street and the London Riots, Harvey asks how cities might be reorganized in more socially just and ecologically sane ways—and how they can become the focus for anti-capitalist resistance.

Good Neighbors: Gentrifying Diversity in Boston’s South End
by Sylvie Tissot
Translated by David Broder and Catherine Romatowski

Does gentrification destroy diversity? Or does it thrive on it? Boston’s South End, a legendary working-class neighborhood with the largest Victorian brick row house district in the United States and a celebrated reputation for diversity, has become in recent years a flashpoint for the problems of gentrification. It has born witness to the kind of rapid transformation leading to pitched battles over the class and race politics throughout the country and indeed the contemporary world. 

Restless Cities
Edited by Matthew Beaumont and Gregory Dart

Restless Cities enacts a history of the idiosyncratic character of the metropolitan city from the nineteenth century to the twenty-first-century megalopolis. It explores that which has defined the modern city, studying nightwalking, urbicide, property, commuting and recycling. Restless Cities includes contributions by Marshall Berman, Geoff Dyer, Patrick Keiller, Esther Leslie, Iain Sinclair, and Mark W. Turner. 

A Guide to the New Ruins of Great Britain
by Owen Hatherley

Until the Blair years, there had not been such an attempt to remodel Britain since the postwar reconstruction of the 1950s and 60s. Hatherley explore the wreckage of the Blairite tabula rasa —the buildings that epitomized an age of greed and aspiration - providing a mordant commentary on the urban environment in which we live, work and consume.

A New Kind of Bleak: Journeys Through Urban Britain
by Owen Hatherley

An urbanist exploration of modern Britain's landscape through Belfast, Aberdeen, Plymouth, Brighton, Teesside, Croydon, Lincoln, Barrow-in-Furness, the West Midlands, and the Thames Gateway, discovering the empty buildings, malls and glass towers that signify broken Britain. 

The View from the Train: Cities and Other Landscapes
by Patrick Keiller
Essays by iconic British filmmaker, exploring the surrealist perception of the city; the relationship of architecture to film; how cities change over time, as well as an urgent portrait of post-crash Britain.

Exquisite Corpse: Writing on Buildings

by Michael Sorkin

'Exquisite Corpse' was a game played by the surrealists in which someone drew on a piece of paper, folded it and passed it to the next person to draw on until, finally, the sheet was opened to reveal a calculated yet random composition. In this entertaining and provocative book, Michael Sorkin suggests that cities are similarly assembled by many players acting with varying autonomy in a complicit framework. As unfolding terrain of invention, the city is also a means of accommodating disparity, of contextualizing sometimes startling juxtapositions.

Our Architecture and Cities reading is all 50% off, with free shipping and bundled ebooks (where available), until the end of the year. See here for more sale details.