Synopses & Reviews
"I have the sense that much of what has been written recently about cities is a defense of cherished intellectual traditions in the face of the confusions of postmodernity. Ross King's book takes almost the opposite approach because it criticizes enlightenment approaches and draws constructively on postmodern discourse. To get the most out of this book, it will help if you have some knowledge of recent architectural and urban history, but almost anyone should find that Emancipating Space
goes to the heart of the difficulty of making sense of cities at the end of the twentieth century, especially the tensions between modernism and postmodernism, constructivism and deconstruction, and global processes and local differences. He interprets these especially by drawing on ideas of Foucault, Derrida and Benjamin as they apply to cities, ideas which he clarifies without simplification. Above all, King demonstrates that we do not have to live in urban landscapes planned through abstract models or imposed by remote control. Instead he makes what for me is a convincing argument that there now exists the possibility for creating geographies, architectures, and urban design that celebrate social and cultural differences and thus emancipate urban spaces. In this respect, Emancipating Space
makes an important and original contribution to possible ways for thinking about [how] cities might be changed." --Ted Relph, University of Toronto, Scarborough, Ontario
"At the intersection of architectural history, philosophy, and human geography lies Ross King's insightful and sure-handed reflections on the postmodern struggles to represent space.
"Emancipating Space challenges us with its historical narrative of representational tactics, stimulates us with diverse conceptions of space, and rewards us with a catholic perspective on human geography.
"Ross King explores in masterful fashion the intellectual struggles to represent the experience of space in postmodern times.
"With this learned and challenging book, Ross King joins David Harvey, Ed Soja, and Derek Gregory in their quest to explode the intellectual space of human geography.
"Synthetic, challenging and learned: Ross King expands the frontiers of spatial understanding in human geography through a journey across the terrains of architecture, art history, and philosophy. Neither our origins nor our destinations are left intact." --Robert A. Beauregard, New School for Social Research.
"Emancipating Space is an intellectual tour de force, a worthy successor to Tafuri's The Sphere and the Labyrinth in its grand critical analysis of the times and spaces of (post) modernity. King guides us through the complex labyrinth of ideas developed since the enlightenment which currently fuse the philosophy, architecture and urbanism, and in the process he encourages us into a new consciousness of the world we live in. It is one of these rare texts which is prepared to take the huge intellectual risk required to bridge the gap between the social sciences and architecture. This was a book waiting to be written--waiting for someone of sufficient courage and insight to engage in the immense effort necessary to tie together these separate realms. As such it will become required reading for anyone interested in the built form of "the new crucible" which the third millennium represents." --Alexander Cuthbert, Ph.D., Professor and Head, School of Planning and Urban Development, University of New South Wales
A sweeping historical analysis of the complex relationship between social criticism and built form, Emancipating Space
examines the interconnections of architecture and social climate. Including 45 black-and-white illustrations of buildings and public spaces, the book argues that those concerned with urban design and social change should make their contribution to bringing about a better world by designing spaces based in utopian or emancipatory theories. Author Ross King presents theories of social improvement and architecture since the enlightenment with an eye toward developing new urban design ideas for the postmodern era.
About the Author
Ross King is Professor and Dean of the Faculty of Architecture, Building, and Planning at the University of Melbourne, and was educated as an architect and urban planner at the University of Sydney. He was also a graduate student under Louis Kahn at the University of Pennsylvania, where he also sat at the feet of such modernist luminaries as Le Corbusier, Lewis Mumford, and Arnold Toynbee. He has practiced as an architect, planner, and policy analyst, taught at the Universities of Sydney and Melbourne, and researched (among other things) the complexities of urban housing markets, the cultural contexts and economic effects of urban and landscape design, and theories of design.
Table of Contents
1. Introduction: The Design of the City, The Progress of Modernity, and the Crisis of Postmodernity
2. Space and Power:The Enlightenment
3. Space and the Commodity: The Nineteenth Century and the Rise of Modernity
4. The Space of Revolution: 1900 and the Maelstrom
5. The 1920s as Crucible: Translation, Vkhutemas, and the Bauhaus
6. The Universal Space of the Twentieth Century: Voyages Against the Ebb
7. The Space of Signs: 1968, Modernity, and Postmodernity
9. Space and Deconstruction: Map as Myth
10. Conclusion: New Geography
11. The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity versus Postmodernity
12. Conclusion: New Architecture, New Urban Design