Review “Research Resources” and “Reading” resources sections on the blog and write up a short reflection on your blog about two resources that are helping you shape thinking thinking around your CERP topic.
In addition, if you have additional research resources for your individual projects, please post to your blog.
It is extraordinarily hard to choose just two resources that shaped my thinking in regard to my project – it was largely shaped by a class that I took a few quarters ago called “City of the Future” in which we read several pieces in regard to city development in both factual and philosophical perspectives, both the positive and the negative sides of development, as well. Secondly, my thoughts for this project were shaped by a class I took last quarter on “Migration, Displacement, and Return” as I tied the two topics together.
Choosing two of the most influential, then, are:
Visions of the City: Utopianism, Power, and Politics in Twentieth-Century Urbanism by Dave Pinder
Incidentally, this book references The Situationists and Lefebvre (who were also mentioned in the “Creative Acts in the Global City” piece we read in Week 5.) I am greatly influenced by the ideas of Guy deBord and the Situationist and this piece is very centered around that. (For those who aren’t familiar, it’s hard to explain Situationists in a sentence or two, but I’ll just say that the Situationists are described as “social revolutionaries” who are critical of the use of urban space and capitalism – they also are proponents of another concept that I love which is “psychogeography.”) Visions of the City is a critical look at urban planning and architecture from a Situationist viewpoint. I liked this piece because it got me to think very differently – and more critically – about urban spaces and how they’re used.
City in the City by China Miéville: This one is a little unique as it’s a science fiction story rather than a piece of research. But I think it’s an amazing story to be read in today’s political climate. Again, hard to explain here but essentially there are two cities, Beszel and UI Qoma, that exist in the same space (sort of) but are separate and citizens of each are not allowed to acknowledge anything or anyone they see in the other city. They exist separately but apart. Each has it’s own distinct style (from fashion to architecture) and language. A crime is committed and a detective from Beszel winds up “crossing over” to investigate. (There is type of “governmental force” that watches over and anyone who either crosses over illegally or even so much as looks directly at someone from the other city is punished severely.) It’s a bit of a crazy premise unless you read it but what I love about and how it connects to our modern life is this idea that, within Urban spaces, there exists two separate cities. Think of the homeless population or immigrant communities. In Seattle in particular, on one hand we have the middle and upper middle class, Amazon, Google, $6 cups of coffee, tiny studio apartments that cost far more than most of us can afford… but on the other, we have tent cities, a rising homeless population, drug addiction, Seattle public schools with a tremendous number of homeless children attending classes, immigrant communities and neighborhoods, etc. In many ways, we all exist together yet completely apart. In City and the City, UI Qoma is described in ways that sound very much like an Arabic nation (the fashions, colors, and foods). It feels very relevant to today and again, after reading it, it’s made me see cities in a new light.
As for other resources, I have a growing list that I keep on another site where I’ve been puttering around storing ideas for my senior thesis next year. They are all related to space and urbanism and it can be found here.