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Cities of Shock examines the ramifications of “shock” or disaster on the everyday life and built environment of the city. Looking beyond the mere residents of the city, the sub-section also examines the impact of representations of the destruction of ‘home’ among the Diaspora.


Logan Abassi/ UNDP

The urban paradox

As Cities in Conflict goes on hiatus, I take a look back at the past fourteen months of publishing articles, film, photo-essays, mappings and infographics on the series, and comment on where urbanism is today: stuck between logics of saviourism and withdrawal.

A sporting chance?

This year's 2014 Commonwealth Games opening ceremony will feature the demolition of Glasgow's renowned Red Road flats. The showpiece demolition not only marks the 'changing face' of the city's East End but also the brazen revanchism of the city's regeneration policy.

On the frontline: citizen journalism in Syria

As the Syrian civil war moves into its fourth year, citizen journalists have filled the gap left by professionals denied access to or evacuated from the most dangerous country in the world for working journalists. But they are painfully aware of the growing uninterest of the international media in the unending conflict.

On violence and protest in Brazil

While media coverage of Brazil's urban protests continues to focus on Molotov cocktails and smashed windows, the fight against police violence, repression and institutional racism continues.

Territorial stigma and regeneration in Tottenham

The stigmatising narratives which dominate popular discourse on the 2011 riots have imbued the punitive regeneration of Tottenham with a political and moral urgency.

Rebuilding Nahr el Bared

After its destruction in the 2007 conflict, how did residents and architects go about rebuilding one of Lebanon's largest Palestinian refugee camps?

Kabul: the humanitarian city

Initially mandated to protect and assist, the humanitarian project in Kabul has significantly reshaped the city over the past decade. In the absence of democratic control, and in the face of pervasive neoliberal logics, what happens to Kabuli's right to the city?

From civil to civic conflict? Violence and the city in 'fragile states'

The increasing ubiquity of riots, gang crime, and terrorist attacks in cities, would suggest the hallmark of the contemporary period is one of rising 'urban conflict' rather than 'peace'. But what is the link between the 'fragility' of states, and increasing violence in the city?

The poster boys of Kabul

Each year, for one week in September, Kabulis celebrate Martyrs Week. The image war which ensues on the streets, buildings and public spaces of the city is highly political, and has in recent years become increasingly violent.

Impossible biographies: migrant life in crisis-Athens

Watch: Short film documenting the everyday life of migrants in Athens. Scapegoated for Greece's crisis and frequently victims of public violence, migrants in Athens are rendered anonymous, homogenous, impossible. 

Landscapes of emergency

Landscapes of Emergency is a brief glance over the undeclared state of emergency that casts its shadow over the functions and the phenomena of public space in Athens (Video, 12 mins).

A crisis of presence: the war on Greek cities

The closure of official channels of debate and establishment of migrant detention camps in Athens, has been the capstone to a long process of turning people against the most vulnerable populations in cities and, by extension, against all that urban culture stands for.

Mapping racist violence in Athens

In response to growing collusion between the far-right and the police in Athens, a new initiative seeks to map, on a rolling basis, violent attacks on migrants in the city.

Memories of war in the divided city

The dilapidated buildings which dot downtown Beirut are constant reminders of what existed before, what was destroyed during, and what has occurred since the civil war which violently divided the city.

The humanitarian industry and urban change in Goma

Integrating into the urban landscape, the humanitarian sector has contributed to various processes of transformation in Goma. While creating new opportunities, their presence has reinforced patterns of conflict and competition over the urban political and socioeconomic space.

Kigali 2020: the politics of silence in the city of shock

The Rwandan government have ambitious yet deeply disruptive plans to rebuild Kigali as Africa's Singapore.  Despite plans to uproot vast swathes of the city to make way for 'virtual Kigali', the response by ordinary city-dwellers has been one of striking silence. 

Slow and steady in Kabul

Years of violent conflict and a history of controversial planning in Kabul have stifled urban development in the city.

Medellín: who's afraid of hip-hop?

Ten young hip-hop activists have been murdered in Medellín's Comuna 13 district since 2009. Such violence against young hip-hoppers demonstrates the lingering contradictions of urban security still present in Colombia's 'miracle' city.

Warspace: Geographies of conflict in Beirut

The series of conflicts that besieged Beirut during the Lebanese civil war have radically reconfigured the social and spatial environment of the city we know today.

Rio's favela residents fight mega-event eviction

Gleaming plans for urban revitalization ahead of the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics include the not-so-shiny removal of thousands of families in lower-class communities.

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