Author meets the critics: Designing Disorder, by Pablo Sendra and Richard Sennett

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Organizers: Pablo Sendra

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Designing Disorder: Experiments and Disruptions in the City
Pablo Sendra and Richard Sennett
Verso, 2020.

The public spaces of our cities are under siege from planners, privatisation and increased surveillance. Our streets are becoming ever more lifeless and ordered. What is to be done? Can disorder be designed? Is it possible to maintain the public realm as a flexible space that adapts over time?

Fifty years ago Richard Sennett wrote the groundbreaking The Uses of Disorder, arguing that the ideal of a planned and ordered city was flawed, likely to produce a fragile, restrictive urban environment. The call for the Open city is now more urgent that ever. In this provocative essay Sendra and Sennett propose a re-organisation of how we think and plan the social life of our cities. What the authors call 'Infrastructures of disorder' combine architecture, politics, urban planning and activism in order to develop places that nurture rather than stifle, bring together rather than divide up, remain open to change rather than closed off.

Designing Disorder is a manifesto for some of the most radical and transformative debates on the future of 21st century cities.

Pablo Sendra is Lecturer in Planning and Urban Design at The Bartlett School of Planning, University College London. He is also co-founder partner of the urban design practice Lugadero and co-founder of CivicWise. He has recently co-edited with Maria João Pita and the CivicWise network the book Civic Practices (2017).

Richard Sennett's first book was The Uses of Disorder, in 1970. His previous books include The Fall of Public Man, Flesh and Stone and Respect, as well as the recent Homo Faber trilogy, The Craftsman, Together, Building and Dwelling. For decades he has advised urban programmes for the United Nations, and has also worked as a planner for poor communities. He now teaches urban studies at the London School of Economics and at Harvard University. He has been awarded the Hegel and Spinoza Prizes, as well as an honorary doctorate by Cambridge University.


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