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.
The case of community initiatives promoting cycling and walking in São Paulo and London
Tim Schwanen and Denver V. Nixon
Whether cityliving contributes to people’s wellbeing is a question that both is topical and, in the Western tradition, goes back to at least Ancient Greece. It is topical because of the broader happiness turn (Ahmed, 2010 ) and the steady increases in urbanisation on the planetary scale (Satterthwaite, 2007 ). The question can be answered in many different ways, although quantitative analysis regressing one or more indicators of subjectively experienced wellbeing onto a host of measures of opulence, social networks, the built environment, population
This chapter starts with a general introduction to the topic of civic space and rural life in the Roman Empire; the discussion includes the sources available for the writer. It is stressed that Roman literature on rural life, especially, tends to be greatly idealised by contemporary authors who viewed the life of a ‘gentleman farmer’ as a virtuous ideal. The Roman aristocrat based his wealth on how much land he owned – the contrast between the ideal Roman country estate and Pliny the Younger’s drudgery as a landlord would make a good case study. The chapter looks at life in the City of Rome as well as provincial towns which emulated what they knew of the centre. It discusses street conditions and layout, types of buildings, styles of architecture, and construction materials. Issues of safety and the dangers of city living are discussed – crime, fire, etc. There is also a discussion of the types of housing found in the city – imperial and aristocratic palaces on the one hand, and the life of an apartment (insula) dweller on the other.
Chapter 6 examines the role of performance art to speculate on future urban living. Blast Theory’s app-based project Karen is discussed as an example of how performance art adapts to emerging technologies. This is followed by an account of Dante or Die’s User Not Found, as an example of a participatory performance that examines the future consequences of a contemporary technology (social media) while using this technology as a key component to support the narrative; the participants are provided with mobile phones preloaded with fictional social media apps. Blast Theory’s 2097: We Made Ourselves Over is discussed as an example of a performance art project that conceptualises the future of city living through multiple outputs: live performance, film screenings and a downloadable app, which extend the duration and reach of the performance. The work of architect Liam Young is discussed as an example of speculating on the future of urban living through an ‘exaggerated present’, where the future of contemporary developments – such as smart cities built from scratch – is teased out from the current status of these developments and their interactive modes. Young emphasises the increasing autonomy granted to the technologies that mediate urban life and reflects on its potential outcomes. China’s Social Credit System project is analysed as an example of this outcome, while the importance of performance art is emphasised as a counterpoint to prescriptive future narratives that are based on the model of the machine-city.
Co-op – Natalie Bradbury
Like many cities, Manchester markets itself to investors, developers and visitors as a series of brands. Whole areas of the city are
labelled, packaged and sold in ways that signpost their designation
for cityliving, leisure, entertainment, consumption or business. In
a city already containing an improbably large number of ‘quarters’ and ‘villages’, the latest destination is sold simply as NOMA.
Referring to a small geographical area adjacent to Victoria train
station and Shudehill bus interchange, and bordering the existing
’, ‘simplicity’ and ‘consciousness’ in the
protection of slow cities, living, travel, design and art.1 This ethos
extends to minor strands of publishing. As noted in my Introduction,
editor Laura Stanfill established Forest Avenue Press in 2012 with
the intention of publishing ‘[q]uiet books for a noisy world’ and in
2011, the quarterly magazine Delayed Gratification launched what
they describe as a movement for ‘slow journalism’, covering the
news of the previous three months ‘after the dust has settled’.2
Although the terms are vague and the organisations marginal, the
instance, under the paradigms of the sustainable city (Guy and Marvin 2001;
Hammer, et al. 2011), the smart city (Batty 2012),1 the resilient city (Coaffee, et
al. 2009),2 and the multi-cultural city (Amin 2002; Wood and Landry 2008).3
Imagining cities in the future can engender discussions about urban ideals4 or
about the transformation and adaptation of existing settlements (Amin 2013)
in response to pressing challenges.5 These processes are accompanied by the
resurgence of lively debates about the infrastructure of cities, the nature of cityliving, the
occupations from science and technology through to the arts.
For Florida these values were individuality and non-conformity, openness to difference and the embrace of diversity, and meritocracy. These values sat alongside the creative class’ rejection of wealth as a means of judging themselves and their lives. These values were also expressed in place and space, with this ‘creative class’ attracted to urban and cityliving.
Florida’s work has seen extensive criticism, 16 and the idea of a coherent ‘creative class’ that covers artists as well as scientists and tech
in town and the various rooms one might find in a house, and different terms for various urban centres. Other topics include utilities (water and sewerage, heating and lighting), issues of safety and the dangers of cityliving (crime and fire mainly), and travel (conditions and directions). Finally, there is a consideration of the attitude towards city versus country living, the aristocratic ideal and the practical realities. Whilst you might include travel or the dynamic between someone from the far provinces encountering the life, noise, and speed of the centre
In La ciudad no es para mí ( The City Is Not for Me ) (Pedro Lazaga, 1966), the decade’s most successful film at the domestic box office, bumpkin Agustín Valverde is aghast on experiencing cityliving for the first time when he leaves behind his village in rural Aragon to visit his son and grandchildren in Madrid. The alienation of their urban condominium is epitomised by a Picasso print, which Agustín immediately replaces with a family portrait.
Accepted as a necessary evil, a residual suspicion of modern(ist) art as corrupt