Circulation and Urbanization is a foundational investigation into the history of the urban. Moving beyond both canonical and empirical portrayals, the book approaches the urban through a genealogy of circulation – a concept central to Western political thought and its modes of spatial planning. Locating architectural knowledge in a wider network of political history, legal theory, geography, sociology and critical theory, and drawing on maritime, territorial and colonial histories, Adams contends that the urban arose in the nineteenth century as an anonymous, parallel project of the emergent liberal nation state. More than a reflection of this state form or the product of the capitalist relations it fostered, the urban is instead a primary instrument for both: at once means and ends. Combining analytical precision with interdisciplinary insights, this book offers an astonishing new set of propositions for revisiting a familiar, yet increasingly urgent, topic. It is a vital resource for all students and scholars of architecture and urban studies. This book is part of the Society and Space series, which explores the fascinating relationship between the spatial and the social. These stimulating, provocative books draw on a range of theories to examine key cultural and political issues of our times, including technology, globalisation and migration.

Circulation Unbound: The Urban

Circulation Unbound: The Urban
Circulation Unbound: The Urban

Although, for many historians, Haussmann’s reconstruction of Paris bears all the signatures of a broad set of socio-economic and aesthetic transformations playing out in nineteenth-century Europe, such readings perhaps conceal a more profound epistemological shift that underpins them all. The becoming-territorial of Paris would open up a new spatial imaginary that would exceed any singular achievement of Haussmann’s project. Yet, as profound as this may have been, the problem remains that it is difficult to generalize Haussmann’s work itself as a ‘paradigm’ of modern urbanization, despite the fact that many still do (see Chapter 1 of this book). Contemporary urbanization simply cannot be reduced to some legacy of so-called ‘Haussmannization’ without disregard for the specific spatial, political ...

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