What Is a City?: Rethinking the Urban after Hurricane Katrina / Edition 1

Paperback (Print)
Buy Used
Buy Used from BN.com
(Save 41%)
Item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging.
Condition: Used – Good details
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $9.99
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 52%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (9) from $9.99   
  • New (4) from $20.40   
  • Used (5) from $9.99   


The devastation brought upon New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina and the subsequent levee system failure has forced urban theorists to revisit the fundamental question of urban geography and planning: What is a city? Is it a place of memory embedded in architecture, a location in regional and global networks, or an arena wherein communities form and reproduce themselves?

Planners, architects, policymakers, and geographers from across the political spectrum have weighed in on how best to respond to the destruction wrought by Hurricane Katrina. The thirteen contributors to What Is a City? are a diverse group from the disciplines of anthropology, architecture, geography, philosophy, planning, public policy studies, and sociology, as well as community organizing. They believe that these conversations about the fate of New Orleans are animated by assumptions and beliefs about the function of cities in general. They unpack post-Katrina discourse, examining what expert and public responses tell us about current attitudes not just toward New Orleans, but toward cities. As volume coeditor Phil Steinberg points out in his introduction, “Even before the floodwaters had subsided . . . scholars and planners were beginning to reflect on Hurricane Katrina and its disastrous aftermath, and they were beginning to ask bigger questions with implications for cities as a whole.”

The experience of catastrophe forces us to reconsider not only the material but the abstract and virtual qualities of cities. It requires us to revisit how we think about, plan for, and live in them.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Steinberg and Shields have assembled a sparkling collection of theoretically provocative and conceptually innovative essays. These not only expose the distinctive social, spatial and cultural characteristics of pre- and post-Katrina New Orleans which, with delayed federal intervention, turned the hurricane's assault into a 'racially differentiated disaster,' but extend their comments into a critique of contemporary urban theory. Addressing such wide-ranging topics as automobility, the significance of memory, creole urbanism, and New Orleans mythology, this original and interdisciplinary collection will appeal to all urbanists, whether scholars, students, or practitioners, and also to those with interests in disaster relief and climate change."--Anthony D. King, Emeritus Professor of Art History and of Sociology, State University of New York at Binghamton

"What Is a City? offers sensitive and nuanced explorations of the urban approached through themes of nature, mobility, community, and memory. The contributors present a thorough, insightful, and revealing portrait of one city's experience at a pivotal moment in its historical trajectory. This is a technically adept, keenly observed, and emotionally gripping work, standing at the cutting edge of urban analysis, interpretive method, and geographic conceptualization.”--Robert W. Lake, author of Locational Conflict

"What Is a City? is a thematically and conceptually unified collection of essays about New Orleans and also about transcendent urban questions. I like this book."--Richard Schein, editor of Landscape and Race in the United States

"What is a City? is a welcomed and profound engagement with modern urban theory."--Clyde Woods, author of Development Arrested

“Steinberg and Shields have assembled an intriguing set of essays that explore the fate of modern cities through the lens of New Orleans in the face of the hurricanes. . . .The chapters are lively, informative and well written, and provide a nice overview of what New Orleans and her neighbors face in the years to come.”—John G. McNutt, Community Development: Journal of the Community Development Society

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780820330945
  • Publisher: University of Georgia Press
  • Publication date: 5/1/2008
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 248
  • Sales rank: 1,498,522
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.55 (d)

Meet the Author

Phil Steinberg is an associate professor of geography at Florida State University. He is the author of The Social Construction of the Ocean and coauthor of Managing the Infosphere. Rob Shields is a Henry Marshall Tory Chair in the Departments of Sociology and Art and Design at the University of Alberta. His books include Places on the Margin and Lefebvre, Love and Struggle.
Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Pt. 1 Introductions

1 What Is a City? Katrina's Answers Phil Steinberg Steinberg, Phil 3

2 New Orleans' Culture of Resistance Jordan Flaherty Flaherty, Jordan 30

Pt. 2 Materialities

Introduction 57

Explicit Ruins: Architecture Is More Visible When It Fails Fernando Lara Lara, Fernando

3 On Flexible Urbanism Geoff Manaugh Manaugh, Geoff Nicola Twilley Twilley, Nicola 63

4 Delta City Rob Shields Shields, Rob 78

Pt. 3 Mobilities

Introduction 95

5 Mobility and the Regional Context of Urban Disaster Hugh Bartling Bartling, Hugh 99

6 Uneven Mobilities and Urban Theory: The Power of Fast and Slow Matthew Tiessen Tiessen, Matthew 112

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)