stuff I disagree with

Adam Greenfield is reading about the notion of “military urbanism”. I think this is oversold, and also that like a lot of concepts relating to the social aspects of architecture, it’s overbroad – people chuck in bits and pieces of anything that seems to fit. CCTV? Surveillance, whack it in. Temporary buildings? Logistics and containerisation, got to be in there. The Olympics (and much of modern thinking)? Well, that seems to land up in there as well. And, of course, a lot of border security stuff, Israeli settler town planning.

I’m not convinced that the concept holds together once you squeeze quite so much stuff into it; it starts to look like a list of Stuff I Disagree With, and a lot of it isn’t particularly military. There is a big difference between blowing things and people up and putting a big blue plywood hoarding round the Olympics site. One of them pisses off Iain Sinclair and the other…insert joke here.


  1. Indeed. There’s a kind of conceptual carousel feel to the whole thing. It reminds me of another oversold notion, the feral city, about which there was a highly unconvincing talk a year or two ago somewhere in the depths of Birkbeck or UCL, I forget which, with Geoff Manaugh and an IR academic. Manaugh’s talk was very much based on the whack-it-in approach, with a whole bunch of slides about JG Ballard and old posters so that it almost seemed reality was being applauded for finally living up to some of the more recondite fantasies of mid 20th C SF.

    Subtopia can be quite a lot of fun too though. There was an excellent post a while back riffing off some crazy idea to replace the barriers in the Green Zone with hedges or somesuch.

  2. yorksranter

    highly unconvincing talk a year or two ago somewhere in the depths of Birkbeck or UCL, I forget which, with Geoff Manaugh and an IR academic.

    It was UCL, I was there, and disappointed.




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