The Routledge Companion to Urban Imaginaries delves into examples of urban imaginaries across multiple media and geographies: from new visions of smart, eco, and resilient cities to urban dystopias in popular culture; from architectural renderings of starchitecture and luxury living to performative activism for new spatial justice; and from speculative experiments in urban planning, fiction, and photography to augmented urban realities in crowd-mapping and mobile apps.

The volume brings various global perspectives together and into close dialogue to offer a broad, interdisciplinary, and critical overview of the current state of research on urban imaginaries. Questioning the politics of urban imagination, the companion gives particular attention to the role that urban imaginaries play in shaping the future of urban societies, communities, and built environments. Throughout the companion, issues of power, resistance, and uneven geographical development remain central. Adopting a transnational perspective, the volume challenges research on urban imaginaries from the perspective of globalization and postcolonial studies, inviting critical reconsiderations of urbanism in its diverse current forms and definitions. In the process, the companion explores issues of Western-centrism in urban research and design, and accommodates current attempts to radically rethink urban form and experience.

This is an essential resource for scholars and graduate researchers in the fields of urban planning and architecture; art, media, and cultural studies; film, visual, and literary studies; sociology and political science; geography; and anthropology.

chapter 1|22 pages


Urban imaginaries in theory and practice
ByChristoph Lindner, Miriam Meissner

part I|2 pages

Eco and resilient

chapter 2|18 pages

Thirsty cities

25Who owns the right to water?
ByDora Apel

chapter 3|13 pages

Rapid adaptation and mitigation planning

ByAshley Dawson

chapter 4|10 pages

Urban nature and the ecological imaginary

ByMatthew Gandy

chapter 5|12 pages

Litter and the urban imaginary

On chewing gum and street art
ByMaite Zubiaurre

chapter 6|14 pages

IHM-agining sustainability

Urban imaginaries in spaces of possibility
BySacha Kagan

chapter 7|13 pages

Formal encounters in two tales of toxicity

Bhopal, Animal’s People, Louisville, The Hard Weather Boating Party
ByBarbara Eckstein

part II|2 pages

Smart and digital

chapter 8|10 pages

Smart urban

105Imaginary, interiority, intelligence
ByGillian Rose

chapter 9|12 pages

The origin of the smart city imaginary

From the dawn of modernity to the eclipse of reason
ByFederico Cugurullo

chapter 10|12 pages

Construction performance

How the camera charts progress on site
ByHugh Campbell

chapter 11|10 pages

Authoritarianism and the transparent smart city

ByFederico Caprotti

chapter 12|12 pages

Digital urban imaginaries

Space, time and culture wars in the cyber-city
ByJason Luger

chapter 13|12 pages

Urban exposure

Feminist crowd-mapping and the new urban imaginary
ByNicole Kalms

chapter 14|16 pages

Every breath you take

Captured movements in the hyperconnected city
ByRodrigo Firmino, Frederick M.C. van Amstel, Rodrigo F. Gonzatto

part III|2 pages

Connected and consuming

chapter 15|15 pages

Imagining the open city

189(Post-)Cosmopolitan urban imaginaries
ByMyria Georgiou

chapter 16|15 pages

Beyond East-meets-West

Contemporary Chinese art and urban imaginaries in cosmopolitan Shanghai
ByJenny Lin

chapter 17|15 pages

Toward a photographic urbanism?

Images iconizing cities and swaying urban transformation
ByMichele Nastasi, Davide Ponzini

chapter 18|16 pages

Macau’s materialist milieu

Portuguese pavement stones and the political economy of the Chinese urban imaginary
ByTim Simpson

chapter 19|14 pages

“Like diamonds in the sky”

Imaginaries of urban girlhood
ByAgata Lisiak

chapter 20|13 pages

The city on the highway, revisited

ByRichard J. Williams

part IV|2 pages

Uneven and divided

chapter 21|13 pages

Brutalism, ruins, and the urban imaginary of gentrification

ByChristoph Lindner

chapter 22|16 pages

The end of the time of the city?

Urbanization and the migrant in British cinema
ByGareth Millington

chapter 23|14 pages

Chicano Park’s urban imaginary

Ethnic ties bonded to place and redistributive urban justice
ByGerardo Francisco Sandoval

chapter 26|14 pages


Global imaginaries of urban dispossession
ByUli Linke

chapter 27|14 pages

Imagining the entitled middle-class self in the global city

Tiny Times, small-town youth, and the New Shanghainese
ByTsung-yi Michelle Huang, Muzi Dong

part V|2 pages

Speculative and transformative

chapter 28|14 pages

Urban imaginaries and the palimpsest of the future

ByNick Dunn

chapter 29|20 pages

Emergent imaginaries

Place, struggle, and survival
ByAndrea Gibbons

chapter 30|17 pages

Queer urban imaginaries

ByBen Campkin

chapter 31|14 pages

Crafted imagination

Future-builders and the contemporary logic of experimentalism
ByFederico Savini

chapter 32|13 pages

Urban space and the posthuman imaginary

ByDebra Benita Shaw