10-07-06 // MONU #5 – BRUTAL URBANISM

(browse the entire issue #5 on Youtube)

The Return of the Repressed by Loïc Wacquant; Vandalism as a Productive Force by Michael Zinganel; The Evil Architects Do by Eyal Weizman; Preventing Brutal Urbanism – Interview with the Director of the Security Task Force for the 2006 World Cup by Bernd Upmeyer; Terrorists Love Density by STAR; The Future of June 4th by Austin Arensberg; Repulsive Desperation in the Constructions of Survival by Baruch Bruce Gottlieb; Happy Slapping – Urban Violance in the Age of Camera Phones by Peter Mörtenböck and Helge Mooshammer; 5000 Years of Brutal Urbanism by UAS; It’s the Protocol, Stupid by Marc Schuilenburg; On the Run – Contesting Urban Boundaries by Lukas Feireiss; Cities of Collision by Philipp Misselwitz and Tim Rieniets; (re)Moving History by John Comazzi; As a Child of the Suburbs: – a response to How Suburbs Destroy Democracy by Alex Schafran; A Rejoinder to Alex Schafran by Michael J. Thompson

Roughness, violence, brutality, seediness, ghettoization – all these are words that we associate much more readily with the city than with a suburb or the bucolic countryside. It seems even drug related crime develops a different character depending on whether it is in the city or the suburb. As the NYTimes reported in early July, identity theft is the crime of choice for meth addicts and both are flourishing in suburban regions of the US. In contrast crack cocaine or heroin dealers, are supported by heavily armed gangs usually set up in higher density urban zones. These high density areas are suited to ‘urban’ crimes like, prostitution, carjacking and robbery. So the suburban habitat seems perfectly suited for the sleepless meth-addict roaming through the internet, garbage cans and outdoor mailboxes in a quest to gather identities, while the density and proximity of a city is more fertile soil for the impulsiveness and raw brutally that is typical for crack and cocaine criminality. In a similar direction one of the directors of the World Cup 2006 security in our interview echoed some thoughts that also show the relationships between spatial configuration and the art of preventing urban brutality. These are just some of the topics that this issue of Monu presents: Media representation and context of brutality is one key aspect as our contributors show. Be it the possibility to easily record and distribute via cell-phone cameras as Peter Moertenboek and Helge Mooshammer describe in their article. Or the impossibility to censor images of resistance as Austin Arensberg describes. In our leading article Loic Wacquant analyzes the intensifying of structural brutality in the city: economic, social and political exclusion and the backlashes that inevitably follow. But brutality can also be an almost integral part of the history of development, in some cities as articles about places as different as Jerusalem and Seoul by Tim Rieniets and Baruch Gottlieb respectively show.

(Bernd Upmeyer, Thomas Söhl, Editors, July 2006)

Find out more about this issue on MONU’s website.