The Unknown City
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The Unknown City

Contesting Architecture and Social Space

Edited by Iain Borden, Joe Kerr and Jane Rendell

With Alicia Pivaro

Essays on architecture as narrative and urban space as experience and the new geographies they create.





Essays on architecture as narrative and urban space as experience and the new geographies they create.

The Unknown City takes its place in the emerging architectural literature that looks beyond design process and buildings to discover new ways of looking at the urban experience. A multistranded contemplation of the notion of "knowing a place," it is about both the existence and the possibilities of architecture and the city. An important inspiration for the book is the work of Henri Lefebvre, in particular his ideas on space as a historical production. Many of the essays also draw on the social critique and tactics of the Situationist movement. The international gathering of contributors includes art, architectural, and urban historians and theorists; urban geographers; architects, artists, and filmmakers; and literary and cultural theorists. The essays range from abstract considerations of spatial production and representation to such concrete examples of urban domination as video surveillance and Regency London as the site of male pleasure. Although many of the essays are driven by social, cultural, and urban theory, they also tell real stories about real places. Each piece is in some way a critique of capitalism and a thought experiment about how designers and city dwellers working together can shape the cities of tomorrow.


Out of Print ISBN: 9780262024716 562 pp. | 10 in x 7 in


$55.00 X ISBN: 9780262523356 562 pp. | 10 in x 7 in


Iain Borden

Iain Borden is Director of the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL.

Joe Kerr

Joe Kerr is Head of the Department of Critical and Historical Studies, Royal College of Art, London.

Jane Rendell

Jane Rendell is Lecturer in Architecture at the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL.


Alicia Pivaro.


  • Readable and stimulating.

    Library Journal


  • This lively, creative, and original collection will be very valuable for teachers across a wide range of disciplines. The chapters are varies and accessible.

    Anthony King

    Graduate Program in the History and Theory of Art and Architecture, State University of New York