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From the grandiose histories of grand state building projects to the minutiae of street signs and corner pubs, from the rebuilding of capital cities to the provision of the humble public toilet, Clean Living under Difficult Circumstances argues for the city as a socialist project.
Combining memoir, history, and portraits of particular places and things, Hatherley argues for those who have tried to create and imagine a better modernity, in terms of architecture, such as Zaha Hadid and Ian Nairn, in terms of the urban space, like Jane Jacobs and Marshall Berman, and in terms of the way we see the world more widely, like Mark Fisher and Adam Curtis. Hatherley outlines a vision of the city as both a place of political argument and dispute, and as a space of everyday experience—one that we shape as much as it shapes us.