The Urban Uncanny explores through ten engaging essays the slippage or mismatch between our expectations of the city—as the organised and familiar environments in which citizens live, work, and go about their lives—and the often surprising and unsettling experiences it evokes. The city is uncanny when it reveals itself in new and unexpected light; when its streets, buildings, and people suddenly appear strange, out of place, and not quite right.

Bringing together a variety of approaches, including psychoanalysis, historical and contemporary case study of cities, urban geography, film and literary critique, the essays explore some of the unsettling mismatches between city and citizen in order to make sense of each, and to gauge the wellbeing of city life more generally. Essays examine a number of cities, including Edmonton, London, Paris, Oxford, Las Vegas, Berlin and New York, and address a range of issues, including those of memory, death, anxiety, alienation, and identity. Delving into the complex repercussions of contemporary mass urban development, The Urban Uncanny opens up the pathological side of cities, both real and imaginary.

This interdisciplinary collection provides unparalleled insights into the urban uncanny that will be of interest to academics and students of urban studies, urban geography, psychoanalysis, cultural studies, social studies and film studies, and to anyone interested in the darker side of city life.

chapter 1|17 pages


The urban uncanny

chapter 2|16 pages

Going underground

Margins, dreams and dark spaces in Nimród Antal's Kontroll (2003)

chapter 3|19 pages

Shadows over Oxford

Memories, murder, mystery, and Morse

chapter 4|22 pages

This hated city

‘Deadmonton’ – Edmonton's alter-ego

chapter 5|15 pages

Cities of the dead

The Catacombs and Père Lachaise Cemetery in post-revolutionary Paris

chapter 6|17 pages

Ruptures in the city

Retrospective memory in Benjamin's Paris and Koolhaas's New York

chapter 7|16 pages

Pathologizing the city

Archetypal psychology and the built environment

chapter 9|18 pages

Geographies of loss and ruptured identities

The divided cities of Berlin and Nicosia

chapter 10|17 pages

Nostalgic Maps

Wandering in a disappearing cityscape in Mies, joka ei osannut sanoa ei [The Man Who Could Not Say No] (1975)