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L.A. Under the Influence: The Hidden Logic of Urban Propertyby Roger Sherman
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Book News Annotation:
An architect and urban designer in Los Angeles, Sherman argues that in the context of urban development, every architectural project becomes nothing less than a bargaining situation by which the public posture of the building or site is forged or cast in relation to the city. Game theory studies negotiation and conflict resolution, he says, so can be particularly useful as a tool for deciphering the logics that characterize the relational dynamic between the interests that surround property. Using case studies from his home town, he diagnoses the terms under which a deal was struck or an impasse reached, the willingness of each party to bargain, and the relative ability of the parties to enforce their interest. Annotation ©2010 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
In the American city, property rights involve not one but numerous stakeholders, some connected to the parcel by title and others through less formal arrangements, whether political, economic, or cultural. Negotiations between these stakeholders over the use of property are frequently complicated, even convoluted.
In L.A. under the Influence, Roger Sherman contends that it is these negotiations, rather than more commonly accepted factors like history, symbolism, and planning, that not only shape a city but also influence the development of its smallest common increment: the individual parcel. Through a series of case studies in Los Angeles, Sherman applies game theory to scrutinize the behavior of these intersecting private and public interests, revealing an alternative logic of architectural composition. Making extensive use of diagrams, photographs, and a range of negotiation models employed within game theory, including pecking order, negotiated access, multilateral exchange, and tit for tat, he identifies the characteristic features and behaviors of this new spatial logic.
For Sherman, these models offer an exciting new role for architecture in urban planning and design. Sherman urges architects to utilize design strategy as a means of mediating between the various stakeholders involved in a project, identifying and creating affiliations between otherwise conflicting interests. The architect’s willingness to engage with these negotiations, he argues, has the potential to produce formally and spatially audacious projects as well as recover the social and political relevance of architecture itself.Roger Sherman is director of Roger Sherman Architecture and Urban Design and adjunct associate professor of architecture and urban design at UCLA, where he also is codirector of cityLAB, a think tank studying contemporary urbanism and its implications for architecture.
About the Author
Roger Sherman is director of Roger Sherman Architecture and Urban Design and adjunct associate professor of architecture and urban design at UCLA, where he also is codirector of cityLAB, a think tank studying contemporary urbanism and its implications for architecture.
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