Event date: 8 December 2010
Bedford Square London
Recent geographical scholarship has highlighted the importance of ‘verticality’ – aerial and three dimensional perspectives – in conceptualizations of space, territory, sovereignty and power. Within the subdiscipline of critical geopolitics, this interest has been, in part, provoked by recent events in Iraq and Afghanistan and mobilized though broader discussions of warfare, surveillance, air (and space) power, communications technologies and military hardware.
Andrew Harris (University College London)
The paper considers how contemporary cities are constructed, framed and understood through vertical axes and dimensions. It charts upward trajectories in not only iconic high-rises, but in vertical gardens, townships, slums and urban farms, and in modes and methods of urban transport. The paper argues that these vertical manifestations and domains of urban life are not simply a response to space constraints and land values but mark and make visible new forms of social and political power, which disrupt notions of centre-periphery in traditional, flahter models of the city. Although recognising the validity and relevance of highlighting and analysing spatial dichotomies between vertical and horizontal urban worlds, the paper seeks to complicate such binaries. Drawing on recent research from Mumbai, the paper explores and identifies overlapping (or vertizontal) connections, practices and assemblages in three-dimensional city-making.