• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

Significant changes are occurring in the social spaces of modern cities and the social functioning of media. This erudite, forceful book argues that the spaces and rhythms of contemporary cities are radically different to those described in classic theories of urbanism. Changes in the city have been paralleled by the transformation of media which has become increasingly mobile, instantaneous and pervasive. The media are no longer separate from the city. Offering social commentary at the deepest levels of historical and critical reference, The Media City links Myspace to Howard Hughes; trams to cinema; security cameras to exploding buildings; reality TV to Marx; and Lenin on privacy to Kracauer on the mass ornament.

Wide-ranging and richly illustrated, it intersects disciplines and connects phenomena which are too often left isolated from each other to propose a new way of understanding public and private space and social life in contemporary cities. It will find a broad readership in media and communications, cultural studies, social theory, urban sociology, architecture, and art history.


Space no longer exists: the street pavement soaked by rain beneath the glare of electric lamps, becomes immensely deep and gapes to the very centre of the earth […].

(Technical Manifesto of Futurist Painters 1910)

If you build buildings with lights outside, you can make them indefinite, and then when you're through with using them you shut the lights off and they disappear.

(Andy Warhol 1975)1

On the evening of 11 March 2002, two powerful searchlights shone vertically up into the night sky over Manhattan. Six months after the destruction of the World Trade Centre towers – the first major ‘media event’ of the 21st century – the void left by the absent buildings was filled by what were dubbed two ‘pillars of light’. This commemorative event formed ...

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