This is a book with a revolutionary aim – a collection of essays which probe for lacunae in the neoliberal truth of the creative city – and one finds multiple references to the utopian Marxist geographer, Henri Lefebvre, in the different contributions. It is in this utopian light that the call for urban ‘re-industrialisation’ should be seen: not as a nostalgic clamour for a return of heavy industry, but as a vehicle for bringing about new forms of urban coexistence involving communitarian and sustainable forms of production. As Nawratek argues, ‘progressive re-industrialization could be a way towards an alternative, effective economic model’.”
In Urban Re-Industrialization, editor Krzysztof Nawratek brings together scholars to discuss the constitutive elements of the image of the creative city and explore ways of moving beyond it towards what Nawratek calls the ‘Industrial City 2.0’. While the nature and contribution of the individual essays are at times uneven, this is a kaleidoscopic work which weaves together diverse and intriguing lines of worthwhile investigation, finds Frederik Weissenborn.
The following has been abstracted from a review by Frederik Weissenborn appearing in the LSE Review of Books of October 23, 2017. The full article is available here – https://goo.gl/uAa41e
Table of contents
Introduction: Krzysztof Nawratek
Industrial City 2.0
Part 1. Why we should do it?
1) Re-industrialisation as progressive urbanism: why and how? (Authors: Michael Edwards, Myfanwy Taylor)
2) Mechanisms of loss (Author: Karol Kurnicki)
3) The Cultural Politics of Re-industrialisation: some remarks on cultural and urban policy in the European Union. (Author: Jonathan Vickery).
Part. 2 Politic Considerations and Implications?
4) ‘Shrimps not whales’ – building a city of small parts as an alternative vision for post-industrial society (Author: Alison Hulme)
5) ‘Der Arbeiter’: (Re) Industrialisation as universalism? (Author: Krzysztof Nawratek)
6) Whose re-industrialisation? Greening the pit or taking over the means of production? (Author: Malcolm Miles)
7) Crowdsourced Urbanism? The Maker Revolution and the Creative City 2.0. (Author: Doreen Jakob)
8) Brave new world!? (Author: Tatjana Schneider)
9) The Political Agency of Geography and the Shrinking City (Author: Jeffrey T. Kruth).
Part 3. How we should do it?
10) Beyond the Post-Industrial City? The Third Industrial Revolution, Digital Manufacturing and the Transformation of Homes into Miniature Factories (Authors: John R. Bryson, Jennifer Clark and Rachel Mulhall)
11) Conspicuous production: valuing the visibility of industry in urban re-industrialisation strategies (Author: Karl Baker)
12) Industri[us] (Author: Christina Norton)
13) Working with the neighbours: co-operative practices delivering sustainable benefits (Author: Kate Royston)
14) Low-carbon (re-)industrialisation: lessons from China (Authors: Kevin Lo, Mark Wang)
Extracts from review:
Cities are sometimes considered agents of social innovation and political emancipation: machines for the production of the new. In The Division of Labour in Society (1893), Emile Durkheim thus posited urbanisation as an efficient cause in the transition from societies based on ‘mechanical solidarity’ (where labour is not subdivided, and where social codes are strong) to those based on ‘organic solidarity’ (where the division of labour is more complex, and social codes looser); similar ideas were subsequently put forward by V. Gordon Childe and Jane Jacobs. Given this association with the new, it is perhaps not surprising that the city has been the source of powerful social imaginary, a catalyst for utopian dreams about the good life as well as social and spatial justice. Several such ‘images’ have been developed over the years – including Ebenezer Howard’s ‘garden city’ and Le Corbusier’s model of the ‘Ville Contemporaine’ – and these have informed the discussion of what constitutes good design as well as the production of actual urban formations.
In more recent years, the defining image of the city arguably has been that of ‘the creative city’. This image builds on the idea that urban settlements constitute engines of productivity, rarefication and value addition – a theory already explored in Jane Jacobs’s The Economy of Cities (1969) – but adds the more specific narrative that post-industrial cities are places of a particular kind of productivity associated with the tertiary sector and informed by ‘creative’ agency. The image of the creative city imagines the city as a container of fluid forms of cultural production and consumption, and it evokes a place of knowledge-based labour and ‘innovation’ which is defined in more or less direct opposition to industrial production and its more hierarchical forms of organisation.
Urban Re-Industrialization is divided into three main parts: ‘Why should we do it?’; ‘Political considerations and implications’; and ‘How should we do it?’. This structure is logical, but the contributions do not always fit into the predefined categories. It is, for instance, not obvious why Jonathan Vickery’s excellent text on the evolution of policies in the European Union is located in the first part (why should we do it?) rather than the second (political considerations and implications), and the selection and order of texts sometimes seem haphazard.
This notwithstanding, the book offers an intriguing panorama of theories and practices aimed at questioning and sublating the image of the creative city. Apart from a couple of largely apolitical texts on 3D printing, this, then, is a book with a revolutionary aim – a collection of essays which probe for lacunae in the neoliberal truth of the creative city – and one finds multiple references to the utopian Marxist geographer, Henri Lefebvre, in the different contributions. It is in this utopian light that the call for urban ‘re-industrialisation’ should be seen: not as a nostalgic clamour for a return of heavy industry, but as a vehicle for bringing about new forms of urban coexistence involving communitarian and sustainable forms of production. As Nawratek argues, ‘progressive re-industrialization could be a way towards an alternative, effective economic model’.
The above has been abstracted from a review by Frederik Weissenborn appearing in the LSE Review of Books of October 23, 2017. The full article is available here – https://goo.gl/uAa41e
# # #
About the author/editor:
Krzysztof Nawratek: Senior Lecturer in Humanities and Architectural Design at the University of Sheffield. Before joining SSoA associate professor in Architecture, M.Arch. and M.A. in Architecture programme leader at the School of Architecture, Design and Environment, Plymouth University, United Kingdom. Educated as an architect and urban planner, worked in Poland, Latvia (e.g. for Riga City Council and NAMS Architecture Office) and Ireland (Principal Urban Designer at Colin Buchanan, Dublin). worked as a visiting professor at the Geography Department at the University of Latvia and as a researcher at National Institute for Regional and Spatial Analysis, Maynooth, Ireland.m an urban theorist, author of City as a Political Idea (Plymouth, University of Plymouth Press, 2011), Holes in the Whole. Introduction to the Urban Revolutions (Winchester Zero Books, 2012) Radical Inclusivity. Architecture and Urbanism (ed. DPR-Barcelona, 2015) and several papers and chapters in edited books. Main research interest lays in urban theory in the context of post-secular philosophy, interested in evolution of (post)socialist cities, crisis of the contemporary neoliberal city model and urban re-industrialisation.
# # #
About the editor/World Streets:
13, rue Pasteur. Courbevoie 92400 France
Bio: Founding editor of World Streets (1988), Eric Britton is an American political scientist, teacher, occasional consultant, and sustainability activist who has observed, learned, taught and worked on missions and advisory assignments on all continents. In the autumn of 2019, he committed his remaining life work to the challenges of aggressively countering climate change and specifically greenhouse gas emissions emanating from the mobility sector. He is not worried about running out of work. Further background and updates: @ericbritton | http://bit.ly/2Ti8LsX | #fekbritton | https://twitter.com/ericbritton | and | https://www.linkedin.com/in/ericbritton/ Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org) | +336 508 80787 (Also WhatApp) | Skype: newmobility.)