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Vertical: The City from Satellites to Bunkers

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

Starting at the edge of earth’s atmosphere and, in a series of riveting studies, descending through each layer, Graham explores the world of drones, the city from the viewpoint of an aerial bomber, the design of sidewalks and the hidden depths of underground bunkers. He asks: why was Dubai built to be seen from Google Earth? How do the super-rich in São Paulo live in their penthouses far above the street? Why do London billionaires build vast subterranean basements? And how do the technology of elevators and subversive urban explorers shape life on the surface and subsurface of the earth?

Vertical will make you look at the world around you anew: this is a revolution in understanding your place in the world.

Reviews

  • “Roll over Jane Jacobs: here’s urban geography as it looks like through the eye of a Predator at 25,000 feet. A fundamental and very scary report from the global red zone.”
  • “Look, you’re just going to have to read this book … After a while, you begin to wonder whether books like this will be allowed to be published for much longer.”
  • “Superb … Graham builds on the writings of Mike Davis and Naomi Klein who have attempted to expose the hidden corporate and military structures behind everyday life.”
  • “A detailed and intense forensics of new urban frontiers, laboratories of the extreme where experiments with new urban conditions are currently being undertaken.”
  • “A rigorously researched, pioneering book packed with disturbing and at times astonishing information.”
  • “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”

Blog

  • Staff Picks: Books of the Year 2016—Chosen by Verso

    The antidote to the ills of 2016 has to be found in a book. As Verso staffers have found over the course of this year, we turn to books for nourishment and resources to help us make sense of and respond to this monumental year and times to come. As much as we publish books for both these purposes, there are others out there doing much of the same good work. So once again, here's our non-Verso staff picks from Verso staff in London and New York!


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  • Elite Takeovers of the Vertical City

    "Vertical housing has transmuted in a generation into a movement of the elites into super-expensive condo towers."

    Cities around the world are now segregated by height, with the world's wealthiest living at the highest points. It's a new form of class war from above, the politics around which are under-explored.

    In this edited extract from
    Vertical: The City from Satellites to Bunkers, Steve Graham looks at how the geography of inequality, politics, and identity is playing out in our increasingly vertical and unequal cities.

    Vertical: The City from Satellites to Bunkers is currently 50% off with free shipping as part of our end-of-year sale.


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  • 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.

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