For architecture and urban space to have relevance in the 21st Century, we cannot merely reignite the approaches of thought and design that were operative in the last century. This is despite, or because of, the nexus between politics and space often being theorized as a representation or by-product of politics. As a symbol or an effect, the spatial dimension is depoliticized. Consequently, architecture and the urban are halted from fostering any systematic change as they are secondary to the event and therefore incapable of performing any political role. This handbook explores how architecture and urban space can unsettle the unquestioned construct of the spatial politics of governing.

Considering both ongoing and unprecedented global problems – from violence and urban warfare, the refugee crisis, borderization, detention camps, terrorist attacks to capitalist urbanization, inequity, social unrest and climate change – this handbook provides a comprehensive and multidisciplinary research focused on the complex nexus of politics, architecture and urban space. Volume I starts by pointing out the need to explore the politics of spatialization to make sense of the operational nature of spatial oppression in contemporary times. The operative and active political reading of space is disseminated through five thematics: Violence and War Machines; Security and Borders; Race, Identity and Ideology; Spectacle and the Screen; and Mapping Landscapes and Big Data.

This first volume of the handbook frames cutting-edge contemporary debates and presents studies of actual theories and projects that address spatial politics. This Handbook will be of interest to anyone seeking to meaningfully disrupt the reduction of space to an oppressive or neutral backdrop of political realities.

part I|26 pages


chapter 1|24 pages

Spatialization of oppression

Contemporary politics of architecture and the urban

part II|100 pages

Violence and war machines

chapter 3|12 pages

The rise of zoöpolitics

On urbanism and warfare

chapter 4|19 pages

The 2015 Paris terrorist attack

A threat to urban life and territorial integrity

chapter 5|18 pages

Whose vision, which city?

Planning and unseeing in urban Asia

chapter 6|13 pages

Architecture as infrastructure

The spatial politics of extractivism

chapter 7|20 pages

Manus Prison

The brutality of offshore detention

part III|94 pages

Security and borders

chapter 9|15 pages

Dialogic dilemmas

Citizen participation in built environment alterations in Malmö, Sweden

chapter 10|16 pages

Regenerating Shanghai through urban spatial design?

The limits to experimentalism and participation

chapter 11|16 pages

The city and the camp

Destabilizing a spatial-political dichotomy

chapter 13|18 pages

Belfast's ‘peace walls'

How the politics and policy of 1969–1971 shaped the city's contemporary ‘interface areas'

part IV|96 pages

Race, identity and ideology

chapter 15|17 pages

The space of labor

Racialization and ethnicization of Port Kembla, Australia

chapter 16|17 pages

The audit

Perils and possibilities for contesting oppression in the heritage landscape

chapter 17|18 pages

The persistent design-politics of race

Power and ideology in American public housing redevelopment

chapter 18|16 pages

The socialist past is a foreign country

Mass housing and uses of heritage in contemporary Eastern Europe

chapter 19|16 pages

Collectivity and privacy in housing

Path dependencies and limited choices

part V|98 pages

Spectacle and the screen

chapter 21|16 pages

A ‘crisis' of indeterminacy in the architectural photograph

Architectural spectacle and everyday life in the photography of Lacaton & Vassal's Coutras House

chapter 22|15 pages

Mediated spectacles

Urban representation and far-right propaganda in crisis Athens

chapter 23|18 pages

Street protest and its representations

Urban dissidence in Iran

chapter 24|16 pages

Western fantasy and tropical nightmare

Spectacular architecture and urban warfare in Rio

chapter 25|20 pages

The political construction of Medellín's global image

Strategies of replacement, erasure and disconnection via urban and architectural interventions

part VI|94 pages

Mapping landscapes and big data

chapter 27|19 pages

The sociocultural construction of urban wasteland

Mapping of the Antwerp Southside

chapter 28|17 pages

Brownfields as climate colonialism

Land reuse and development divides

chapter 30|17 pages

Infrastructures of urban simulation

Digital twins, virtual humans and synthetic populations

chapter 31|13 pages

Posthuman urbanism

Datafication, algorithmic governance and Covid-19

part VII|18 pages


chapter 32|16 pages


Critical mappings of spatial politics and aesthetics