Policy Press

Publishing with a purpose

Concrete Cities

Why We Need to Build Differently

By Rob Imrie

Published

Oct 26, 2021

Page count

288 pages

ISBN

978-1529220520

Dimensions

234 x 156 mm

Imprint

Bristol University Press

Published

Oct 26, 2021

Page count

288 pages

ISBN

978-1529220513

Dimensions

234 x 156 mm

Imprint

Bristol University Press

Published

Oct 26, 2021

Page count

288 pages

ISBN

978-1529220537

Dimensions

234 x 156 mm

Imprint

Bristol University Press
Concrete Cities

This accessible critique of urban construction reimagines city development and life in an era of unprecedented building.

Exploring the proliferation of building and construction, Imrie sets out its many degrading impacts on both people and the environment. Using examples from around the world, he illustrates how construction is motivated by economic and political ideologies rather than actual need, and calls for a more sensitive, humane and nature-focused culture of construction.

This compelling book calls for radical changes to city living and environments by building less, but better.

“I found this book interesting and stimulating. It is well written and I loved reading it … the book is an important contribution to the existing literature.” David Clapham, University of Glasgow

“An exciting book weaving a radically novel and critical narrative thread through landscapes of construction excess. Against the all-consuming backdrop of the present ‘build back better’ debate, Imrie’s central message – that we need to build less but better – could not be more timely.” Mark Boyle, University of Liverpool

“An absolutely essential read for students of critical urban studies, unveiling why construction is integral to contemporary capitalism and why its current practices cannot and shouldn’t be sustained." Hyun Bang Shin, London School of Economics and Political Science

“With madness of ‘build, baby, build’ tragically ascendant, even hegemonic, Rob Imrie’s powerful, wide-ranging and fascinating book systematically and cogently injects urgently needed sanity and judiciousness into the policy discourse.” David Imbroscio, University of Louisville

“A book that should be acted on rather than being simply read. We’re drowning in an endless sea of concrete and, as Imrie potently argues, we must build less and better.” Federico Cugurullo, Trinity College Dublin

“With clarity, insight, and persuasive evidence, Concrete Cities shows that the drive to build is a cultural logic rooted in extractive practices, which ought to be replaced with more care for people—human and non-human. This book is essential reading for urbanists, geographers, and others committed to more liveable worlds.” Aimi Hamraie, Vanderbilt University

"A critical call for an ethics of care in a world obsessed with reconstruction in cities from an eminent global urban scholar." Loretta Lees, University of Leicester

Rob Imrie was previously Professor of Sociology at Goldsmiths University of London and retains a Visiting Professorship there. He has published widely on issues relating to architecture, urban design, and urban politics and regeneration.

Introduction: The Omnipresent Nature of Building

The Significance of Building and Construction

Building and the Construction State

Speculation and Building Booms

Disruption, Displacement and Dispossession

Demolition: Wasting the City and Teardown Building

Why Building More Housing Won’t Work

Building That Matters to People

Constructing for Species Survival

Building and Construction That Cares