Special issue: Socio-Urban Critiques and a New Normal

An Architecture_MPS journal special issue

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Socio-Urban Critiques and a New Normal

An Architecture_MPS journal special issue.

Without doubt 2020 succeeded in putting capitalism's shock-resistance capabilities to the test, thus validating a wide range of recent future predictions in regard to architecture, urban planning, and the service-based economy. Even though not all of the four articles collected here were written during the first lockdowns, this prolonged period gave authors the opportunity to update their articles in response. Each one deconstructs a popular (if not populist) discourse prevalent in contemporary urbanism and architectural practice, addressing such issues as sustainability, gentrification, or tourism on the surface, while letting these problems gestate.

In the opening text Igea Troiani and Tonia Carless shed light on neoliberal policies propelling the transformation of university campuses, yet representing this makeover as a façadist manoeuvre, benefiting from elitism and academic tourism. A deluge of recent bestsellers 'advertise' cities as self-organizing schemes, while in reality contributing to the greenwashing agenda. These fall within the scope of May Ee Wong's interests, who critically reassesses such claims. Inna Arzumanova's article also challenges a capitalist ‘fairy tale’, exploring how our pandemic insecurities were harnessed by the luxury design industry. She uncovers a dark side looming behind the market's resilience, noting the language of segregation and urban zoning it employed to sell ‘a racialized and class-based organization of urban space’. The final paper of this Special Issue is a critique by El Mehdi Ait Oukhzame of glocalisation and the appropriation of Western models of commercial tourism, recognized as the force driving spatial metamorphoses in the Arab Gulf region which all too eagerly trades cultural heritage for simulacra.

Although these texts' prime suspects have been running rampant for a few decades now, taken together they represent a diagnostic perspective on most recent developments. Please consider revisiting these articles at some future point, when vaccinated immunity will have brought us cognitive clarity.


Publication date: February 2021 - articles are being published as and when ready on an on-going basis and will appear below.


Guest Editor

Dr Maciej Stasiowski, Independent Researcher, Pszczyna 43-200, Poland


Article list

Articles will be listed here upon publication.

Editorial: The ‘Before/After’ Effect

Authors: Maciej Stasiowski
Published: 22 February 2021


The Death and Life of UK Universities and the Cultural Spaces They Consume

Authors: Igea Troiani, Tonia Carless
Published: 26 February 2021


Revisiting Jane Jacobs’s Urban Complexity in Global Sustainability City Discourse

Author: May Ee Wong
Published: 01 March 2021


Tasteful Bunkers: Shades of Race and ‘Contamination’ in Luxury Design Sectors

Author: Inna Arzumanova
Published: 01 April 2021


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