What Is Critical Urbanism? Urban Research as Pedagogy

The University of Chicago Press has published What is Critical Urbanism? edited by Kenny CupersSophie OldfieldManuel HerzLaura Nkula-WenzEmilio Distretti, and Myriam Perret.

Understanding and managing urban change in our global era demands a high degree of specialised and interdisciplinary knowledge. At the same time, city planners, architects, researchers, policymakers, and activists are deeply immersed in the chaotic and often contradictory urban realities that they are asked to address. What is Critical Urbanism? offers an innovative toolkit for engaging these present realities across disciplinary specialisations and geographic purviews.

Central to the book is the research and pedagogy of the Critical Urbanisms programme at the University of Basel, established in collaboration with the African Centre for Cities at the University of Cape Town. The programme’s renowned and emerging urbanists demonstrate the power of working with care and reciprocity across different contexts and institutions, driven by engagement with varied communities of practice. They show how alternative urban futures can be imagined by addressing the historical injustices and global entanglements that shape the urban present. The book is tailored to students, graduates, and teachers of urban studies and related disciplines including architecture, urban design, human geography, architectural history, and urban anthropology.

“The book is a collective effort of faculty and students, a unique collaboration between different traditions, set in different urban worlds—Basel, Cape Town, and beyond. The contributions in this volume show our commitment to immersion into the everyday past and present realities of cities, to embed our approach in practices of engaged research, critical pedagogy and collaboration, to take seriously the insights, the possibilities, and the limits of the complex urban and institutional terrains in which we move. The book will introduce the readership to Critical Urbanism’s specific form of interdisciplinarity, a pedagogy that relies on deep commitment to dialogue within and beyond the university.”