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Building and Dwelling: ethics for the city

Book launch hosted by LSE Cities

To celebrate the launch of his new book, Richard Sennett OBE, Professor of Sociology at LSE and one of the world’s leading thinkers about the urban environment drew on his intimate engagement with city life to form a bold and original vision for the future of cities.

In Building and Dwelling Sennett traces the often anguished relation between how cities are built and how people live in them, from ancient Athens to twenty-first-century Shanghai. He shows how Paris, Barcelona and New York City assumed their modern forms; rethinks the reputations of Jane Jacobs, Lewis Mumford and others; and takes us on a tour of emblematic contemporary locations, from the backstreets of Medellín, Colombia, to the Google headquarters in Manhattan. Through it all, he shows how the ‘closed city’ – segregated, regimented, and controlled – has spread from the global North to the exploding urban agglomerations of the global South. As an alternative, he argues for the ‘open city,’ where citizens actively hash out their differences and planners experiment with urban forms that make it easier for residents to cope. Rich with arguments that speak directly to our moment – a time when more humans live in urban spaces than ever before – Building and Dwelling draws on Sennett’s deep learning and intimate engagement with city life to form a bold and original vision for the future of cities.

Heading image courtesy Catarina Heeckt.

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  • Richard Sennett

    Richard Sennett

    Richard Sennett is Professor of Sociology at the London School of Economics and Political Science, and University Professor of the Humanities at New York University. His research interests include the relationship between urban design and urban society, urban family patterns, the urban welfare system, the history of cities and the changing nature of work. His books include The Craftsman (2008), The Culture of the New Capitalism (Yale, 2006), Respect: The Formation of Character in an Age of Inequality (Penguin, 2003), The Corrosion of Character (1998), Flesh and Stone (1994) and The Fall of Public Man (1977). He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Royal Society of Literature, the Royal Society of the Arts and the Academia Europea. He is past President of the American Council on Work and the former Director of the New York Institute for the Humanities. Recent honours and awards include The Schocken Prize, 2011; Honorary Doctorate from Cambridge University, 2010; The Spinoza Prize, 2010; The Tessenow Prize, 2009; The Gerda Henkel Prize, 2008; The European Craft Prize, 2008; and The Hegel Prize, 2006.

  • Edwin Heathcote

    Edwin Heathcote

    Edwin Heathcote is an architect and designer. He has been the architecture and design critic of The Financial Times since 1999, and is the author of a number of books on architecture and design including 'The Meaning of Home'. He has a monthly column on architecture and design in GQ Magazine, is on the editorial board of AD and ICON and is editor-in-chief of online design writing archive readingdesign.org.

  • Ricky Burdett

    Ricky Burdett

    Ricky Burdett is Professor of Urban Studies at the London School of Economics (LSE), and director of LSE Cities and the Urban Age project. He is a member of the Mayor of London’s Cultural Leadership Board, and was chief advisor on Architecture and Urbanism for the London 2012 Olympics and architectural advisor to the Mayor of London from 2001 to 2006. He was director of the International Architecture Exhibition at the Venice Biennale in 2006. With Deyan Sudjic he is co-editor of The Endless City (2007) and Living in the Endless City (2011) and, with Philipp Rode Shaping Cities in an Urban Age (2018).