Twelve months – twelve books: My 2018 reading list on cities

Twelve months – twelve books: My 2018 reading list on cities

ZEF researchers read hundreds of academic articles, books, reports and media every year in order to stay  up to date about what is going on in their field of study, to collect information and contextualise their empirical data. For those among us who are interested in researching cities I particular – or even reading about the subject for fun – I have complied a special reading list for 2018. These twelve books about cities written by social anthropologists, geographers and architects are a part of my New Year resolutions. There is of course a secondary motive too – I promised in my research proposal to submit a book manuscript by the end of 2019 based on my field research in Abidjan, Côte d´Ivoire

While the contents of my manuscript will be largely determined by the analysis of the empirical data, I am already asking myself what kind of book I would like to write about the Abidjan metropolis and which note should it strike. You have experienced this too: some studies draw you in right from the beginning. You get immersed in the book after reading the first few lines of the introduction chapter. But then we have all come across that book or two which despite the excellent quality of the presented data or high importance of the study, is simply an unpleasant journey. Thus, extensive reading comes before writing. And how to write up a study is a decision as important as what findings to present, I believe.

In search of inspiring studies on cities and examples for different writing and presentation styles, I have chosen twelve recent studies dealing with themes, such as water in the city, sustainability, urban renewal, displacement, multiculturalism and post-conflict conditions:

  • De Boeck, Filip 2014. Kinshasa. Tales of the invisible city. Leuven UP.
  • Dovey, Kim. 2013. Fluid city. Transforming Melbourne’s urban waterfront. Routledge.
  • Harms, Erik 2016. Luxury and rubble. Civility and dispossession in the New Saigon. Luminos, University of California Press.
  • Hoffman, Danny 2017. Monrovia modern. Urban form and political imagination in Liberia. Duke UP.
  • Kinder, Kimberly 2015. The politics of urban water. Changing waterscapes in Amsterdam. University of Georgia Press.
  • Laszczkowski, Mateusz 2015. City of the future. Built space, modernity and urban change in Astana. Berghan.
  • Quayson, Ato 2014. Oxford Street, Accra. City life and the itineraries of transnationalism. Duke UP.
  • Rademacher, Anne 2017. Building green. Environmental architects and the struggle for sustainability in Mumbai. Luminos, University of California Press.
  • Ross, Andrew 2013. Bird on fire. Lessons from the world´s least sustainable city. Oxford UP (on Phoenix, USA)
  • Sawalha, Arseel 2011. Reconstructing Beirut. Memory and space in a postwar Arab city. University of Texas Press.
  • Zeiderman, Austin 2016. Endangered city. The politics of security and risk in Bogotá. Duke UP.
  • Zhang, Xiufeng, 2016. Shanghai. A city in tides: An ethnographic study on Shanghai’s urbanism and its Eigenlogik. Akademiker Verlag.

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