UCL Urban Laboratory


New book explores the ethics and philosophy of urban design

12 January 2017

The Ethics of a Potential Urbanism

Camillo Boano (Director, MSc Building and Urban Design in Development at the DPU and Co-Director, UCL Urban Laboratory) has published a new book that bridges the gap created by the "missing encounters" between radical philosophy, urban design and architecture.

The Ethics of Potential Urbanism: Critical Encounters between Giorgio Agamben and Architecture (Routledge, 2017), highlights the substantial possibilities of Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben's work for a renewed perspective on architectural and design practice in a time of neoliberal consensus and uncritical acceptance of the nature of life and society. 

The monograph traces the main features of an 'inoperative architecture' a 'destituent' way of dealing with urban design. Theorising with and through Agamben has helped provide a manner of looking at urban and spatial practices and a way of framing and understanding what is not simply instrumental but political and ethical; opening the possibility to determine counter-practices while being able to see architecture and urbanism under a renewed orientation and perspective. 

The book investigates the ways in which design practices in different parts of the world have to reconcile the current separation of urban design from radical thought - one that has happened either by ditching theory altogether, or by simply hiding in a formalist, autonomy-narrowing urban design, with a design mission that adheres to uncritical acceptance of the status quo. The monograph sits in Camillo's current research on asserting urban design as an expanded, critical and theory driven practice, through pedagogical innovation, action research and a creative use of theory. 

The book is available as hardback or as an ebook. A paperback edition will be published in 2017.

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