June 25, 2022

I, Science

The science magazine of Imperial College

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The centre cannot hold: neo-modernity, new monumentality and other zombie urban utopias

10 June, 2016 @ 9:00 am - 7:00 pm


The idea of the city dominated by a soaring landmark or a grand epicentre – whether a sacred temple, a secular monument or a Central Business District – was allegedly buried along with utopian high modernity, sometime during the second half of the 20th century. The new urban age taking shape in its place, say politicians, planners and scholars, will be humbler, more sustainable, collaborative and polycentric: eco-cities instead of monumental axes; pop-up innovation hubs rather than palaces of culture; fleeting anti-statues in place of equestrian heroes and sky-high monoliths; Gumtree and Airbnb amid the debris of the Galeries Lafayette and the Grand Hotel.

Led by Micha? Murawski (SSEES, UCL) and Jonathan Bach (New School, New York), and organised by UCL SSEES’ FRINGE Centre, this two-day conference will look at the aesthetics, politics, economics and effects of centrality and monumentality in 20th century cities.




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