Rebel Cities: From the Right to the City to the Urban Revolution, by David Harvey

Paperback review

Thu, Oct 17, 2013, 12:26

   
 

Book Title:
Rebel Cities: From the Right to the City to the Urban Revolution

ISBN-13:
978-1781680742

Author:
David Harvey

Publisher:
Verso Books

Guideline Price:
€12.6

Anyone ever struck by the proliferation of steel cranes that dominated the Celtic Tiger skyline will appreciate David Harvey’s latest offering. Harvey challenges the tendency to see construction and demolition as phenomena beyond human control. His book convincingly unfolds the idea that city space is political, at a time when the very idea of urban community seems like a utopian dream. Pointing to gated communities in an era of recession-minted billionaires, Harvey shows how class dynamics are etched on the physical landscape. His discussions of Paris, New York and São Paulo are incisive, fuelling reflection on long-cherished notions about home ownership. Even distant China receives some comment. Particularly engaging is Harvey’s account of gentrification, and how it displaces the former population to less desirable dwellings – yuppie jokes often mask the real human cost of urban sprawl. As a whole, the book poses the questions of who has the right to manipulate the city and what determines its cost. Rebel Cities provides compelling evidence of the contested nature of city space at home and abroad.