Book #21


CALHOUN Craig, SENNETT Richard, SHAPIRA Harel, Public Culture. Infrastructures of the Urban, Duke University Press, 2013.

Treating cities as laboratories of the modern world, “Infrastructures of the Urban” examines how they are made and how they should be remade. The contributors—scholars and practitioners from architects and sociologists to physicists—bring to bear empirical analysis, ethnography, eyewitness reflections, cultural critique, and manifestos to explore how improving our material and cultural infrastructure can produce a better society.

The authors’ interest in urban experience is ethical as well as scholarly. Topics include the World Trade Center memorial, the planning of the London Olympics, the informal redesign of shanty housing by slum residents in Mumbai and Mozambique, and the more formalized construction of highways and “tech-cities” like Sondgu, South Korea. The contributors show how cities are made and remade daily, as well as how the diverse, unexpected agents involved in the process break down the distinction between experts and laypeople. The essays do not merely examine cities at a theoretical or dispassionate distance but recommend normative values for how cities should evolve to address new social challenges.


Note #1

If architects asset that signs and information are more important than infrastructure, why would bureaucrats or politicians disagree? As much as they have been excluded from the development of the city, architects themselves have retreated from questions of function, implementation, technique, finance, and material practice. And while architects are relatively powerless to provoke the changes necessary to generate renewed investment in infrastructure, they can begin to redirect their own imaginative and technical efforts toward the questions of infrastructure. A toolbox of new and existing procedures can be expanded by reference to architecture’s traditional alliance with territorial organization and functionality.

Stan Allen, 1999: 51-52


ALLEN Stan, “Infrastructural Urbanism”, in ID., Points + Lines. Diagrams and Projects for the City, New York, Princeton Architectural Press, 1999, pp. 48-57.

Book #12


GALLOWAY Colin, MACCLEERY Rachel, HAMMERSCHMIDT Sara, Infrastructure 2014. Shaping the Competitive City, Urban Land Institute, 2014.

In a global marketplace, how do real estate developers and investors who could put their money nearly anywhere think about infrastructure? And how do city leaders use infrastructure to position their cities – relative to other cities regionally, nationally, and internationally – for real estate investment and economic development? This report, based on a survey conducted in January 2014 of real estate and public leaders from around the world, explores the role that infrastructure plays in shaping the future of cities and metropolitan areas.

Book #9


DE ZEEUW Henk, DRECHSEL Pay (eds), Cities and Agriculture: Developing Resilient Urban Food Systems, Routledge, 2015.

As people increasingly migrate to urban settings and more than half of the world’s population now lives in cities, it is vital to plan and provide for sustainable and resilient food systems which reflect this challenge. This volume presents experience and evidence-based “state of the art” chapters on the key dimensions of urban food challenges and types of intra- and peri-urban agriculture. 

The book provides urban planners, local policy makers and urban development practitioners with an overview of crucial aspects of urban food systems based on an up to date review of research results and practical experiences in both developed and developing countries. By doing so, the international team of authors provides a balanced textbook for students of the growing number of courses on sustainable agriculture, food and urban studies, as well as a solid basis for well-informed policy making, planning and implementation regarding the development of sustainable, resilient and just urban food systems.

Book #6


CALORI Andrea (ed), Coltivare la città. Giro del mondo in dieci progetti di filiera corta, Terre di Mezzo-Altreconomia, Milano 2009.

The rediscovery of the short circuit of production and consumption of food is our next revolution.

What is the common element for a Bronx immigrant, a woman of an Osaka suburb, a Senegalese farmer, a baker of Monaco of Bavaria and a rich Venezuelan driver?  Each of these people has a food-related story. Each is a member of groups and communities organized (in more or less formalized way) in order to sell or buy food products consumed near the production facilities. Starting from Italian case – declined in the experiences of farmers’ markets, zero kilometer products, this book tries to take stock of global experiences about local short chain.  After the great rhetoric about globalization, the environmental and economic challenges have placed on the fore the issue of short supply chain. But what is the meaning of short chain? Why is it a successful and desirable model? The book shows the experiences of short chain in the world, reflecting on the theme with a series of interviews with experts on the value of “local” production and distribution, on the desirability of this model and how it can also be easily replicated in Italy and in the territories of Lombardy. 

Book #4


CALORI Andrea, MAGARINI Andrea (eds), Food and the Cities. Politiche del cibo per città sostenibili, Edizioni Ambiente, 2015.

As of 2008, more than half of the world’s population lives in a city. This is an unprecedented moment in human history, heralding new opportunities with respect to the sustainability of food systems on a local, regional, and global scale. Urbanized areas concentrate the vast majority of food consumption, and it is in cities that the political decision-makers, organizations, and infrastructures that impact global food systems all collide. Food and the Cities recounts the experiences of different cities such as Almere, Amsterdam, Bristol, Ghent, London, Malmö, Milan, Melbourne, New York, Toronto, San Francisco, Vancouver, and dozens of others around the world. Each of them has adopted policies on food-related issues, confronting problems of governance, local production, access, education, reduction of wastes and environmental impacts, and support for the agro-ecosystem, in the process creating more comprehensive urban food strategies. Continue reading

Book #2


ABBOTT John, Green Infrastructure for Sustainable Urban Development in Africa, Routledge, 2012.

This book shows for the first time how green infrastructure can work in an African urban context. On one level it provides a major rethinking of the role of infrastructure in urban society since the creation of networked infrastructure in the early twentieth century. On another, it explores the changing paradigms of urban development through the fundamental question of how decisions are made.

With a focus on Africa’s fast-growing secondary towns, where 70 per cent of the urban population live, the book explains how urban infrastructure provides the key to the relationship between economic development and social equity, through the mediation of natural resources. Adopting this view enables investment to be channelled more effectively to provide the engine for economic growth, while providing equitable services for all residents. At the same time, the mediation of resource flows integrates the metabolism of the city into the wider ecosystem. This vision leads to a new way of thinking about infrastructure, giving clear definition to the concept of green infrastructure.

On the basis of research gathered throughout an extensive career, John Abbott draws in particular from his experience in Ethiopia to demonstrate the ways in which infrastructure needs to respond to the economies, societies and natural environments of twenty-first century urban Africa.