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Something rich and strange

Manchester: Something rich and strange challenges us to see the quintessential post-industrial city in new ways. Bringing together twenty-three diverse writers and a wide range of photographs of Greater Manchester, it argues that how we see the city can have a powerful effect on its future – an urgent question given how quickly the urban core is being transformed. The book uses sixty different words to speak about the diversity of what we think of as Manchester – whether the chimneys of its old mills, the cobbles mostly hidden under the tarmac, the passages between terraces, or the everyday act of washing clothes in a laundrette. Unashamedly down to earth in its focus, this book makes the case for a renewed imaginative relationship that recognises and champions the fact that we’re all active in the making and unmaking of urban spaces.

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Private greed, political negligence and housing policy after Grenfell

As the tragedy of the Grenfell Tower fire of 14 June 2017 has slowly revealed a shadowy background of outsourcing and deregulation, and a council turning a blind eye to health and safety concerns, many questions need answers. Stuart Hodkinson has those answers. Safe as Houses weaves together Stuart’s research over the last decade with residents’ groups in council regeneration projects across London to provide the first comprehensive account of how Grenfell happened and how it could easily have happened in multiple locations across the country. It draws on examples of unsafe housing either refurbished or built by private companies under the Private Finance Initiative (PFI) to show both the terrible human consequences of outsourcing and deregulation and how the PFI has enabled developers, banks and investors to profiteer from highly lucrative, taxpayer-funded contracts. The book also provides shocking testimonies of how councils and other public bodies have continuously sided with their private partners, doing everything in their power to ignore, deflect and even silence those who speak out. The book concludes that the only way to end the era of unsafe regeneration and housing provision is to end the disastrous regime of self-regulation. This means strengthening safety laws, creating new enforcement agencies independent of government and industry, and replacing PFI and similar models of outsourcing with a new model of public housing that treats the provision of shelter as ‘a social service’ democratically accountable to its residents.

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Paul Dobraszczyk

these images, the narrow cobbled lanes are found to be places of unhealthy congestion – dark, waterlogged and, in the case of one set of images picturing a fallen wall that killed an unfortunate resident, a literal danger to life. As with much official photographic documentation of slum housing in this period, the case for demolition is made by casting a negative light on the existing built environment. In these photographs of Hulme, alleyways recur because they are viewed as both redundant, unhealthy and ungovernable – spaces that are clearly unfit for habitation

in Manchester
The poetic in the work of Tim Robinson
Moya Cannon

that Sirius does not belong to Orion at all, that the name ‘Orion’ means ‘Dweller in the Mountains’, that the myths associated with him are complex and violent and that his bow may, in fact, be a club. Casting about for some relief from this brutality, he remembers a painting once seen in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York – Poussin’s Landscape with Orion, which presents a much more palatable version of the legend. The story then shifts mode, as the door, which he had left open for his little dog to return, opens a little further and a figure slips inside

in Unfolding Irish landscapes
Border figures of the fantastic
Patricia García

, Leopoldo Marchal, Andrei Biely and John Dos Passos wrote novels with the whole city as the protagonist. A crowded casting , a gallery of simultaneous voices, pronounce the names of Berlin, Buenos Aires, St Petersburg and Manhattan. The final portrait is necessarily fragmentary since it seeks to reproduce chaos […] From the second half of the last century, a horizontal metaphor predominates: the city as an ocean, as an infinite zone of transfer. 9

in Border images, border narratives
Securing or denying minorities’ right to the city?
Parama Roy

community development projects, casting those who are unable to participate as undeserving of citizenship rights (Ghose and Pettygrove, 2014). While sufficient research on community gardening and its relevance to civil society –​especially within the current market-​driven political-​ economic condition  –​exists, the subtle similarities and differences between the extensively explored US (and to some extent UK) experience and that from the rest of the global North is only beginning to unfold as more scholars focus on these issues in the European State context (Certomà et

in Urban gardening and the struggle for social and spatial justice
A genealogical enquiry
Małgorzata Jakimów

Manchu invaders, this patriotic education sought to instil ‘love of the country’ by casting the Chinese self against the historical foreign invaders. By renewing the focus on the ‘century of humiliation’ and the struggle against Japanese invaders, the education programme aimed to nourish a sense of nationalistic pride in being a PRC national (Zhao, 1998 ). However, in contrast to the early twentieth-century patriotism, this historical education relied heavily on exaltation of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) achievements in ‘saving China’, and conflated patriotism

in China’s citizenship challenge
Reading Tim Robinson through Gluaiseacht Chearta Sibhialta na Gaeltachta
Jerry White

Beyond Nationalism Fennell recalls the happy arrival of the film-maker Bob Quinn, who had quit his job at RTÉ and come to Connemara, quickly gaining fluency in Irish and starting to make films in the language. By making films of his own in Gaelic, he and his wife Helen (who became an expert in casting and locations) drew other independent filmmakers to the district. Thus, within a space of five or six years, magazine-publishing, radio work, video and film-acting had become part of the life of Gaelic-speaking Connemara, and to these the Cois Fharraige co-op added

in Unfolding Irish landscapes
Marcos P. Dias

– heightened this anxiety and also challenged the participant’s sense of trust: Some [narrative prompts] are relatively direct and useful, while others are misleading to the point of being mischievous, encouraging players to follow diversions, drawing on the history of the local environment, implicating passers-by in the game, heightening the sense of being watched and also casting doubt on the intent and personality of Uncle Roy, especially the extent to which he can be trusted. (Benford et al., 2004 ) It also drew bystanders into the performance as unintended

in The machinic city
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Labour non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and the citizenship challenge
Małgorzata Jakimów

of their schools, and a tricycle cart positioned proudly in the centre of the final exhibition room. This would be the first of several visits I paid to the village. Two years before my visit, the NGO put on a countrywide festival celebrating migrant workers’ culture, the first such event in China. A crowd of wannabe migrant stars strutted their talents. A female migrant worker called Yan Jun positioned herself on stage, casting her eyes down on the paper while reading her poem

in China’s citizenship challenge