Book review: Seeing Like a City

16th Jan 2018

Book review: Seeing Like a City

A new book review by Robert Beauregard is now available online


Contemporary urban thinkers can be divided into those who view the city as inherently knowable and those who do not. In the former category, the city has a logic that enables us to predict what will happen in the face of capitalist markets (Edward Glaeser), agglomeration (Allen Scott and Michael Storper), and knowledge spillovers (Richard Florida). The city is not a mystery; it can be explained. In the second category, we can only guess at what will happen when actors encounter each other across the elusive spatial scales of the city. Whatever outcomes emerge do so out of an over-determined array of ever-changing relationships. For Abdul Malik Simone, Ananya Roy, Steve Pile, Ash Amin and Nigel Thrift, ‘the city can be known only partially, provisionally, and experimentally’ (p. 27). The former perspective sets us on solid ground; with the latter we risk Soren Kierkegaard’s ‘dizziness of too many possibilities’.


You can access and read the full review here

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