About

RW portrait

THIS IS A BLOG ABOUT CITIES, for the most part, so the format is essentially reviews of buildings, urban spaces, urban literature and so on (with the odd foray into food, movies and motoring). And pictures. It’s informal in tone, but underpinned by some (cough) serious principles: (1) cities are processes, rather than monuments. If they’re not changing, they’re probably dead. (2) The future of cities is determined by what’s happening now in the global south; (3) The European ideal of the city is mostly about the aestheticisation of the core, which is just silly. That needs to change. (4) Cities are polycentric, or they’re not really cities at all. (5) A good city has room for everybody.

Everybody got that?

ABOUT ME: I am professor of contemporary visual cultures at the University of Edinburgh, where I’ve worked since 2000. I was born in Washington DC in 1967, but grew up in Manchester, UK. Other places I have lived are London, Oxford, Madrid, Edinburgh, and for a short but memorable period, a Bedford van in the car park of The Willow Tree Inn, Winchester.

IN PRINT: I am the author of a bunch of stuff on cities including the books ‘The Anxious City'(2004), ‘Brazil: Modern Architectures in History’ (2009), ‘Regenerating Culture and Society’ (edited with Jonathan Harris, 2010), and most recently ‘Sex and Buildings’ (June 2013). I used to know about art – see the book ‘After Modern Sculpture’ (2000). But these days I prefer to make my own, especially with students. I’m very proud of the Museum of Anything, which had various iterations in 2014.

PHOTOGRAPHY: I’ve published photographs of cities in my books, and in magazines like Blueprint. I showed large-scale images of the ruined Atlantic liner SS United States at Stills, Edinburgh in 2011, alongside videos by Allan Sekula. Gear? Nothing special – a Canon EOS60D. The best camera, of course, is the one you have on you at the time. These days it’s  usually a phone.

URBAN CULTURAL STUDIES: I’m on the editorial board of the new journal Urban Cultural Studies, so I naturally recommend their blog, to which I occasionally contribute.  For more about the journal, click here.

THE NEW METROPOLITAN Along with Stacey Hunter and Igor Stiks, I run the New Met, a web magazine covering stories about urban citizenship. New social movements have been a particular interest, along with developments focused on the creative industries. The photo-essay is a big deal for us. Pitch stories and ideas to us here.

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