The Funambulist by its Readers: Political Geographies from Chicago and Elsewhere

We have decided that the key notion emerging from this collection of texts should be political usefulness. Much more than convincing a liberal audience of the urgency of the political struggles showcased throughout these pages, our number one ambition consists in producing something useful, if not operative, for those who are fighting “on the ground.” This is why we tested this notion of usefulness by inviting twenty regular readers (many of whom are also contributors) of The Funambulist to pick one text in our first 22 issues that appears to them as being particularly politically useful, and to explain it ...

Modulated Cities: Networked Spaces, Reconstituted Subjects

In Situated Technologies Pamphlets 9, Helen Nissenbaum and Kazys Varnelis initiate a redefinition of privacy in the age of big data and networked, geo-spatial environments. Digital technologies permeate our lives and make the walls of the built environment increasingly porous, no longer the hard boundary they once were when it comes to decisions about privacy. Data profiling, aggregation, analysis, and sharing are broad and hidden, making it harder than ever to constrain the flow of data about us. Cautioning that suffocating surveillance could lead to paralyzed dullness, Nissenbaum and Varnelis do not ask us to retreat from digital media but ...

Chrono-Cartography of the 1871 Paris Commune

Contributor Léopold Lambert
There has been many things written about the urban transformations of Paris orchestrated by Napoleon III’s prefect, the “Baron” Haussmann; many of which address the militarized causes of these transformations, as I often did myself. This aspect of the transformations is admitted by Haussmann himself in his memoirs as part of the strategy. The first part of the 19th-century saw many insurrections and revolutions happening in Paris (1830 revolution, 1832 insurrection, 1848 revolution, etc.) and Napoleon III, after his 1851 coup, was certainly eager to transform Paris to be able to control it. The large avenues and boulevards were thus ...

The Avery Review Issue 44

The Avery Review is an online journal dedicated to thinking about books, buildings, and other architectural media. We see the genres of the review and the critical essay as vital but still underutilized ways of exploring the ideas and problems that animate the field of architecture, and we hope to push these genres beyond their most familiar forms, whether journalistic or academic. Our aim is to explore the broader implications of a given object of discourse (whether text, film, exhibition, building, project, or urban environment), to expand the terrain of what we imagine architectural discourse to be, and to broaden ...

ARPA Journal 05: Conflicts of Interest

“Conflicts of interest” are said to compromise the impartiality of research, but what would it mean to be disinterested? Ethical codes warn us that researchers’ objectivity can be corrupted by a clashing set of interests—those of funding agencies, clients and publics, as well as researchers’ self-interest in professional advancement or personal gain. If the resolution of such conflicts might typically call for avoidance, recusal or disclosure, what would such strategies mean for the design disciplines and research on the built environment? What varied interests, expressed in the form of money or other manifestations of influence, do designers contend with? Who ...

Grounded Urban Practices in Cairo and Amsterdam/Rotterdam

Grounded Urban Practices → are projects, initiatives or offices who use space as a key agent of change → are rooted in communities, social movements or local areas → are critical of the status quo → experiment with legal, financial and organizational models as well as strategies, methods and tools A wave of Grounded Urban Practices has emerged in Cairo after the 2011 revolution and in Amsterdam/Rotterdam during the 2008-2012 financial crisis. After almost a decade of experimental research and interventions challenging business-as-usual spatial production, many GUPs in both contexts face several difficulties today. In Egypt, the regime has managed to restore order, while in ...

City as Commons

Commons is not something that just exists out there, nor is it something that is objectively present in certain resources or things. It is a relation of people with the conditions they describe as essential for their existence, collectively,” writes Stavros Stavrides, architect, activist, and author of Common Space: The City as Commons. Stavrides understands the creation, development, and maintenance of commons as a social practice that radically challenges capitalist values and hierarchical forms of social organization. Constructed in this way, urban spaces differ both from private enclosures and from public space as we know it: common spaces are permanently inviting ...

TOMORROWS: Urban fictions for possible futures

The future never felt closer than it does today. A series of environmental, technological and social shifts are affecting today’s world and the human’s role within it. Continuous urbanization, the impact of the anthropogenic activity on the natural environment, the increasing use of algorithmic systems in all sectors of life, and the growing asymmetries of power among territories and populations, are all central issues at stake. How possible is it to address the future and the changes already taking place?

Failed Architecture Podcast 07: Incompiuto: Italy’s Most Prominent Architectural Style

Italy’s landscape is dotted with unfinished structures. For a myriad of reasons, the construction of these buildings and pieces of infrastructure stopped half-way, leaving the often concrete and often striking remains of hitherto incomplete plans. The ‘Incompiuto Siciliano’ (Unfinished Sicilian) project has been mapping and researching these many structures, on Sicily as well as in the rest of the country. And, to draw attention to the phenomenon, started to refer to them as “Italy’s Most Prominent Architectural Style”. In this episode, we join Incompiuto on a trip to one of the largest unfinished objects, ‘La Diga di Blufi’, 130km south of ...

African Cities Reader 1

Pick up any academic or popular publication that deals with urban life in Africa and be prepared to be overrun by caricature, hyperbole, stereotypes and moralistic hogwash. Urban Africans are either bravely en route to empowering themselves to attain sustainable livelihoods or the debased perpetrators of the most unimaginable acts of misanthropy. Explanations for these one-dimensional distortions vary from historical path dependency perspectives, to the vagaries of the peddlers of neoliberal globalisation agendas, or to the glorious agency of digni ed actors who persist with their backs straight, chin up despite the cruelties bestowed by governmental neglect and economic malice. ...

African Cities Reader 2: Mobilities & Fixtures

The aim of this second instalment of the African Cities Reader is to provide a space to illuminate emergent urbanisms of Africa in its continental and diasporic richness. The leitmotif of the contemporary globalising era is mobility, which references the incessant circulation of goods, services, ideas, technologies, imaginaries and money. African cities are uniquely marked by disjunctive ows and circuits, but in ways that amplify both the intensity of mobility, and its shadow, xity. The violent reverberations of colonialism in the processes of city living and building ensure that most urban dwellers are entangled in relationships of movement – as protagonists ...

African Cities Reader 3: Land, Property and Value

The third African Cities Reader explores the unholy trinity of land, property and value – the life force of cities everywhere. In an era of late modernity marked by a speculative compulsion that takes on a spectral character as it instigates adventures of city imagineering, deal-making and symbolic reinvestment, the material effects are often displacement, violence, daylight robbery and yet another round of elite seduction. The incessant (re) making of the African city is a game that leaves few untouched or unmoved and literally prepares the ground for the inhabitation of another 400 million urban dwellers over the next two ...

Another Column

Material circulation encompasses architectural production and de-production when considered within geological time. Architecture is a fleeting construct—a temporary, unstable container of increasingly-valued minerals that is always in a state of settling. You say to brick, “what do you want, brick?” Brick says to you,”I want to be mud.” Aggregates, especially with the rise of modern concrete, have become our second most-used resource. While sand, gravel, and small rocks account for up to 75% of concrete’s composition, sand alone accounts for over 85% of global mining activity. As a finite resource, aggregates on the market wield consequences from land-reclamation driven conflicts to ...

Architecture in the Anthropocene: Encounters Among Design, Deep Time, Science and Philosophy

Architecture in the Anthropocene: Encounters Among Design, Deep Time, Science and Philosophy, edited by Etienne Turpin, brings together a provocative series of essays, conversations, and design proposals that attempt to intensify the potential of the multidisciplinary discourse developing in response to the Anthropocene thesis for contemporary architecture scholarship and practice. Research regarding the significance and consequence of anthropogenic transformations of the earth’s land, oceans, biosphere and climate have demonstrated that, from a wide variety of perspectives, it is almost certain that humans have initiated a new geological epoch, their own. First labeled the Anthropocene by the chemist Paul Crutzen, the consideration ...

ARPA Journal 02: The Search Engine

The idea of being online is in danger of extinction from redundancy. The Internet has become the principal site of construction, defense, storage and dissemination of new knowledge and social identity alike. Facebook’s population will soon eclipse that of China, and its holdouts nonetheless have well-formed electric selves in the servers of the NSA. As our physical world is increasingly tapped, scanned, streamed, imaged and mapped in realtime, the province of offline is a shrinking territory. In each wave of digitization—the archival, the social, the physical—the evidence of its arrival and its path to maturity are the same: search. For David Joselit, ...

ARPA Journal 04: Instruments of Service

“Instruments of Service” is a class of legally protected work products defined in the American Institute of Architects’ “A201-2007 General Conditions” as “representations, in any medium of expression now known or later developed, of the tangible and intangible creative work performed by the Architect.” In practice, instruments are any drawing, model, calculation or specification created for a client, copyrighted by the architect as a design “recommendation” and trafficked between intellectual, digital and real property. As research, everyday and experimental instruments are assemblages of tools and materials, allography and autography that move from Skype to ‘the street’ through theaters of peer ...

Banking, Botany, and Bibliothéconomie: On the Science of Keeping the Books

Contributor Edward Eigen
On the ledger and the herbarium: the settling of financial and botanical accounts.

Before and After: Documenting the Architecture of Disaster

Contributors Ines Weizman, Eval Weizman
A nuclear facility in Iran before and after an explosion, a village in Pakistan before and after a drone attack, a Cambodian river valley before and after a flood. The before-and-after image has become the tool of choice for analysing events. Satellite photography allows us to scrutinise the impact of war or climate change, from the safe distance of orbit. But one thing is rarely captured: the event itself. All we can read is its effect on a space, and that’s where the architectural expert is required, to fill the gap with a narrative. In this groundbreaking essay, Eyal and Ines ...

Black Lives Matter

Inspired by the scholars, activists, and everyday citizens who spoke out, marched, and protested against police killings of African-Americans, we present this collection of short essays that put Black lives at the center of our thinking about architecture and its history.

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