• The Fabric of Space: Water, Modernity, and the Urban Imagination
    Matthew Gandy
    MIT Press, 2014
    Matthew Gandy

Thames Barrier, 2014, London, UK. Photo: Matthew Gandy.

This project explores the emerging relationship between water, cities, and urban culture from the middle decades of the nineteenth century to the present day using original material drawn from six cities: Berlin, Paris, Lagos, London, Los Angeles, and Mumbai. Themes under investigation include the design of urban technological networks, shifting conceptions of water and the public realm, and the depiction of landscape in cinema and the visual arts. The project is strongly interdisciplinary, combining insights from architectural history, geography, film studies, and other fields. By including cities from the global South the project seeks to unsettle established approaches to the study of cities and modernity. The aim is not to develop a conventional comparative analysis but rather to place the experience of these different cities in radical juxtaposition.

Matthew Gandy is professor of geography at University College London (UCL) and was director of the UCL Urban Laboratory from 2005-11. He has published widely on cultural, urban, and environmental themes. His books include Concrete and Clay: Reworking Nature in New York City (MIT Press, 2002), also supported by the Graham Foundation, Urban Constellations (Jovis, 2011, editor), and The Acoustic City (Jovis, 2014, coeditor), along with articles in Architectural Design, New Left Review, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Society and Space, and many other journals. He is currently researching the interface between cultural and scientific aspects to urban biodiversity.