Reading list

Architecture and Cities: A Verso Bookshelf

Key reading on our cities and the geography of inequality, politics, and identity.

Verso Books18 November 2018

Architecture and Cities: A Verso Bookshelf

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. 

See all our Cities and Architecture student reading here.

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A narrative history of council housing—from slums to the Grenfell Tower. Urgent, timely and compelling, Municipal Dreams brilliantly brings the national story of housing to life.

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A walker’s guide to Paris, taking us through its past, present and possible futures.

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The acclaimed art fanzine’s psychogeographic drifts through a ruined city.

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How finance and politics have caused the global housing crisis.

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Capital City explains the role of planners in the real estate state, as well as the remarkable power of planning to reclaim urban life.

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Hollow City surveys San Francisco’s transformation—skyrocketing residential and commercial rents that are driving out artists, activists, nonprofit organizations and the poor; the homogenization of the city’s architecture, industries and population; the decay of its public life; and the erasure of its sites of civic memory.

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A fiercely elegant and wide-ranging history of L.A.’s Dickensian extremes and Pynchonesque conspiracies.

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We are in the midst of a global climate crisis and experiencing the extreme challenges of urbanization. In Mobility Justice, Mimi Sheller makes a passionate argument for a new understanding of the contemporary crisis of movement.

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A majestic one-hundred-year study of segregation in Los Angeles.

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A radical architect examines the changing fortunes of the contemporary city.

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A cutting exploration of how cities drive climate change while being on the frontlines of the coming climate crisis.

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“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

A revolutionary reimagining of the cities we live in, the air above us, and what goes on in the earth beneath our feet.

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A radical history of squatting and the struggle for the right to remake the city.

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 In every major city in the world there is a housing crisis. How did this happen and what can we do about it?

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Whatever happened to the last utopian dreams of the city?

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“An intriguing picture of an activist urbanism and architecture that has made a real difference.” – Edwin Heathcote, Financial Times

In Radical Cities, Justin McGuirk travels across Latin America in search of the activist architects, maverick politicians and alternative communities already answering these questions. From Brazil to Venezuela, and from Mexico to Argentina, McGuirk discovers the people and ideas shaping the way cities are evolving.

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“Volatile and extraordinary ... a gonzo road trip.” – Robert Macfarlane, Guardian

What does it feel like to find the city’s edge, to explore its forgotten tunnels and scale unfinished skyscrapers high above the metropolis? Explore Everything reclaims the city, recasting it as a place for endless adventure.

A powerful exposé of how political violence operates through the spaces of urban life.

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Keller Easterling reveals the nexus of emerging governmental and corporate forces buried within the concrete and fiber-optics of our modern habitat. Extrastatecraft will change how we think about cities—and, perhaps, how we live in them.

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How to plan for a sustainable and equitable urban future.

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Everywhere we turn, a startling new device promises to transfigure our lives. But at what cost? In this urgent and revelatory excavation of our Information Age, leading technology thinker Adam Greenfield forces us to reconsider our relationship with the networked objects, services and spaces that define us. It is time to re-evaluate the Silicon Valley consensus determining the future.

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Lefebvre's classic analysis of daily life under capitalism in one complete volume.

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The celebrated radical architect returns with an anthology on the politics and culture of architecture.

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Why are cities centres of power? A sociological analysis of urban politics.

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Rousing manifesto on the city and the commons from the acclaimed theorist.

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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.

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The classic, brilliant, best-selling account of the rise of the world’s slums, where, according to the United Nations, one billion people now live.

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Leading writers reimagine the city as a site of ceaseless change and motion.

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A darkly humorous architectural guide to the decrepit new Britain that neoliberalism built.

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In a journey that begins and ends in the capital, but takes in Belfast, Aberdeen, Plymouth and Brighton, Hatherley explores modern Britain’s urban landscape and finds a short-sighted disarray of empty buildings, malls and glass towers. Yet while A New Kind of Bleakanatomizes “broken Britain,” Hatherley also looks to a hopeful future and discovers fragments of what it might look like.

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Essays by the iconic British filmmaker on the relationship between film, cities and landscape.

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A collection of daring, often devastating, observations about the creation of buildings and the institutions and personalities who have dominated the profession.

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The acclaimed, readable history of the Situationist International by the author of A Hacker Manifesto.

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Acclaimed exploration of the political space created by Israel’s colonial occupation.

Municipal Dreams
Traversing the nation, Municipal Dreams offers an architectural tour of some of the best and most remarkable of our housing estates, and in doing so offers an engrossing social history of housing i...
A Walk Through Paris
Eric Hazan, author of the acclaimed The Invention of Paris, leads us by the hand in this walk from Ivry to Saint-Denis, passing such familiar landmarks as the Luxembourg Gardens, the Pompidou Cent...
Savage Messiah

Savage Messiah

Savage Messiah collects the entire set of Laura Grace Ford’s fanzine to date. Part graphic novel, part artwork, the book is both an angry polemic against the marginalization of the city’s working c...
Urban Warfare

Urban Warfare

In Urban Warfare, Rolnik charts how the financialisation of housing has become a global crisis, as models of home ownership, originating in the US and UK, are being exported around the world. Thes...
Capital City
Our cities are changing. Global real estate is now a $217 trillion dollar industry, 36 times the value of all the gold ever mined. It makes up 60 percent of the world's assets, and the most powerfu...
Hollow City
Surveying the transformation of San Francisco in the early millenium by Silicon Valley, critically acclaimed writer Rebecca Solnit and photographer Susan Schwartzenberg describe the complex interac...
City of Quartz
No metropolis has been more loved or more hated. To its official boosters, "Los Angeles brings it all together." To detractors, LA is a sunlit mortuary where "you can rot without feeling it." To Mi...
Mobility Justice
Mobility justice is one of the crucial political and ethical issues of our day. We are in the midst of a global climate crisis and extreme challenges of urbanization. At the same time it is difficu...
City of Segregation
City of Segregation traces the central role racism has played in shaping modern Los Angeles—as it has shaped all US cities. Andrea Gibbons documents one hundred years of struggle against the enforc...
What Goes Up
Michael Sorkin is one of the most forthright and engaging architectural writers in the world. In What Goes Up he charts the dehumanising regimes of mayors Bloomberg and De Blasio that created a cit...
Extreme Cities
How will climate change affect our lives? Where will its impacts be most deeply felt? Are we doing enough to protect ourselves from the coming chaos? In Extreme Cities, Ashley Dawson argues that ci...
Vertical will make you look at the world around you anew: this is a revolution in understanding your place in the world.Today we live in a world that can no longer be read as a two-dimensional map...
The Autonomous City
The Autonomous City is the first popular history of squatting as practised in Europe and North America. Alex Vasudevan retraces the struggle for housing in Amsterdam, Berlin, Copenhagen, Detroit, H...
Paperback (2017)
In Defense of Housing
In Defense of Housing is the definitive statement on this crisis from leading urban planner Peter Marcuse and sociologist David Madden. Today our homes are being transformed into commodities, makin...
Last Futures
In the late 1960s the world was faced with impending disaster: the height of the Cold War, the end of oil, and the decline of great cities throughout the world. Out of this crisis came a new genera...
Radical Cities
What makes the city of the future? How do you heal a divided city? In Radical Cities, Justin McGuirk travels across Latin America in search of the activist architects, maverick politicians and alte...
Explore Everything
What does it feel like to find the city’s edge, to explore its forgotten tunnels and scale unfinished skyscrapers high above the metropolis? Explore Everything reclaims the city, recasting it as a ...
Cities Under Siege
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 v...
Extrastatecraft is the operating system of the modern world: the skyline of Dubai, the subterranean pipes and cables sustaining urban life, free-trade zones, the standardized dimensions of credit c...
Radical Technologies
Everywhere we turn, a startling new device promises to transfigure our lives. But at what cost? In this urgent and revelatory excavation of our Information Age, leading technology thinker Adam Gree...
Critique of Everyday Life
The three-volume text by Henri Lefebvre is perhaps the richest, most prescient work about modern capitalism to emerge from one of the twentieth century's greatest philosophers and is now availabl...
All Over the Map
All Over the Map is an urgent response to the radical changes in contemporary architecture and the built environment witnessed in the twenty-first century. Characteristically polemic, incisive an...
Cities of Power
In this brilliant, very original survey of the politics and meanings of urban landscapes, leading sociologist Göran Therborn offers a tour of the world’s major capital cities, and the forces that h...
Rebel Cities
Long before Occupy, cities were the subject of much utopian thinking. They are the centers of capital accumulation as well as of revolutionary politics, where deeper currents of social and politica...
Good Neighbors

Good Neighbors

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...
Planet of Slums
According to the United Nations, more than one billion people now live in the slums of the cities of the South. In this brilliant and ambitious book, Mike Davis explores the future of a radically u...
Restless Cities

Restless Cities

The metropolis is a site of endless making and unmaking. From the attempt to imagine a ‘city-symphony’ to the cinematic tradition that runs from Walter Ruttmann to Terence Davies, Restless Cities t...
A Guide to the New Ruins of Great Britain
Back in 1997, New Labour came to power amid much talk of regenerating the inner cities left to rot under successive Conservative governments. Over the next decade, British cities became the laborat...
A New Kind of Bleak
This is what austerity looks like: a nation surviving on the results of what conservatives privately call “the progressive nonsense” of the Big Society agenda.In a journey that begins and ends in t...
The View from the Train
In his classic sequence of films, Patrick Keiller retraces the hidden story of the places where we live, the cities and landscapes of our everyday lives. This collection explores the surrealist per...
Exquisite Corpse
‘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 reve...
The Beach Beneath the Street
Over fifty years after the Situationist International appeared, its legacy continues to inspire activists, artists and theorists around the world. Such a legend has accrued to this movement that...
Hollow Land
Paperback (2017)

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