Vertical:The City from Satellites to Bunkers

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

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, 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.


  • “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 BeckettGuardian
  • A rigorously researched, pioneering book packed with disturbing and at times astonishing information

  • He takes the view that we’ve been looking at cities all wrong, all laid out like maps, when what we should be doing is taking vertical slices through them instead. He doesn’t just mean from the tip of the skyscrapers to the metro tunnels below ground: he means from the circling satellites round the planet right down to bunkers, sewers, mines.