ISBN-10:
0262582821
ISBN-13:
9780262582827
Pub. Date:
08/29/2008
Publisher:
MIT Press
Unbuilding Cities: Obduracy in Urban Sociotechnical Change

Unbuilding Cities: Obduracy in Urban Sociotechnical Change

Paperback

Current price is , Original price is $29.0. You

Temporarily Out of Stock Online

Please check back later for updated availability.

This item is available online through Marketplace sellers.

Overview

City planning initiatives and redesign of urban structures often become mired in debate and delay. Despite the fact that cities are considered to be dynamic and flexible spaces—never finished but always under construction—it is very difficult to change existing urban structures; they become fixed, obdurate, securely anchored in their own histories as well as in the histories of their surroundings. In Unbuilding Cities, Anique Hommels looks at the tension between the malleability of urban space and its obduracy, focusing on sites and structures that have been subjected to "unbuilding"—redesign or reconfiguration. She brings the concepts of science and technology studies (STS) to bear on the study of cities. Viewing the city as a large sociotechnological artifact, she demonstrates the usefulness of STS tools that were developed to analyze other technological artifacts and explores in detail the role of obduracy in sociotechnical change. Her analysis distinguishes three concepts of obduracy: interactionist, in which actors with diverging views are constrained by fixed ways of thinking and interacting; relational, in which change is difficult because of technology's embeddedness in sociotechnical networks; and enduring, in which persistent traditions influence the development of technology over time.Hommels examines the tensions between obduracy and change in three urban redesign projects in the Netherlands: a renovated city center that fell into drabness and disrepair; a highway system that runs through a densely populated urban area; and a high-rise housing project, designed according to modernist precepts and built for middle-class families, that became a haven for unemployment and crime. Unbuilding Cities contributes to a productive fusion of STS and urban studies.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780262582827
Publisher: MIT Press
Publication date: 08/29/2008
Series: Inside Technology Series
Pages: 292
Product dimensions: 7.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author


Anique Hommels is Associate Professor at Maastricht University and author of Unbuilding Cities: Obduracy in Urban Sociotechnical Change (MIT Press).


Wiebe E. Bijker is Professor at Maastricht University and the author of Of Bicycles, Bakelites, and Bulbs: Toward a Theory of Sociotechnical Change (MIT Press) and other books.


Trevor Pinch is Goldwin Smith Professor of Science and Technology Studies at Cornell University and coeditor of The Social Construction of Technological Systems: New Directions in the Sociology and History of Technology (anniversary edition, MIT Press).

Table of Contents

Acknowledgementsvii
1Obduracy in the City: Three Conceptual Models1
2Attempts to Change Hoog Catharijne41
3Trying to Reconstruct the Highway That Cuts through Maastricht81
4The Spatial Renewal of the Bijlmermeer127
5Understanding Obduracy in Urban Socio-Technical Change173
Notes199
Sources251
Series List275
Index277

What People are Saying About This

Sally Wyatt

Anique Hommels provides a fascinating analysis of three efforts to alter the face and shape of Dutch cities that draws on insights from STS and urban studies. She opens up some of the many black boxes which characterize cities and demonstrates how cities are not only built but also re- and unbuilt. It is to be hoped that others will take up the many leads that Hommels offers for thinking about and analyzing the exciting spaces and places in which many of us live and work.

Stephen Graham

Tracing the sheer obduracy of the physical fabric of cities, Unbuilding Cities opens up urban planning, and urban creative destruction, to the powerful gaze of STS research for the first time. The result is an original and insightful account of the ways in which cities can be creatively 'unbuilt' which will be key reading for architects, planners, and STS researchers.

Endorsement

Hommels provides a new framework for exploring the dynamic tensions between the malleability and fixity of the contemporary city. In particular, she provides a rich empirical and conceptual understanding of the strategies for unbuilding cities that gives symmetrical treatment to the technological and social issues involved in these dynamics.—Simon Marvin, Director, Centre for Sustainable Urban and Regional Futures, University of Salford, Manchester

From the Publisher

"Anique Hommels provides a fascinating analysis of three efforts to alter the face and shape of Dutch cities that draws on insights from STS and urban studies. She opens up some of the many black boxes which characterize cities and demonstrates how cities are not only built but also re- and unbuilt. It is to be hoped that others will take up the many leads that Hommels offers for thinking about and analyzing the exciting spaces and places in which many of us live and work."—Sally Wyatt, University of Amsterdam

Simon Marvin

Hommels provides a new framework for exploring the dynamic tensions between the malleability and fixity of the contemporary city. In particular, she provides a rich empirical and conceptual understanding of the strategies for unbuilding cities that gives symmetrical treatment to the technological and social issues involved in these dynamics.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews