While modern urban warfare has moved on from the simple symmetries of fighting off the enemy at the gates, today’s city is no less a war machine. Indeed, war has now seeped inwards, splintering the citadel a thousand ways.
In Cities Under Siege, Stephen Graham describes how a “new military urbanism” has turned “the everyday spaces, sites and infrastructures of cities [into] the main targets and threats within a limitless ‘battlespace’.” In his usual style, Graham unearths and amasses a plenum of techniques and tactics that have migrated from foreign battlefields, back to the Western Homeland to be used to pacify the enemy within.
But the city is at war in more subtle ways, too. When we consider that “a line is not an abstract thing,” the militancy of the more banal, everyday urbanism of the city planner becomes clear. History has taught us the horrors of the Haussmannian grid, itself a manifestation of the desire to pacify the populace (for more on the continuities of ‘old’ and ‘new military urbanism,’ see this post from dystopolitik), but what about the violence of the less visible CIAM grid?
http://www.ted.com Joshua Prince-Ramus believes that if architects re-engineer their design process, the results can be spectacular. Speaking at TEDxSMU, Dallas, he walks us through his fantastic re-creation of the local Wyly Theater as a giant "theatrical machine" that reconfigures itself at the touch of a button.