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The City in the Making

Marcel Hénaff - Translated by Anne-Marie Feenberg-Dibon

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The planet is urbanizing at an accelerating pace. More than half of the world’s population now lives in metropolises. By 2030, that proportion is expected to increase to 60%. Even though many cities are unhealthy, the urban habitat seems destined to become the dominant way of life across the globe. What are the reasons for this rapid urbanization? What does it mean for architecture, society and culture?

Originally published in French as
La ville qui vient, The City in the Making is a groundbreaking interdisciplinary attempt to understand the nature of the urban phenomenon. Starting with the origins of the first known city, it explores the logic of its millennia-long formation in order to understand its contemporary upheavals, ongoing reconfiguration and future. The book engages with archeology, architecture, economics, philosophy and politics to explore the development of the contemporary cityscape and imagine its future development.
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Rowman & Littlefield International
Pages: 142Size: 5 1/2 x 8 1/2
978-1-78348-526-0 • Hardback • October 2015 • $95.00 • (£65.00)
978-1-78348-527-7 • Paperback • October 2015 • $29.95 • (£19.95)
978-1-78348-528-4 • eBook • October 2015 • $27.95 • (£18.95)
Marcel Hénaff is a Distinguished Professor of Philosophy and Anthropology at the University of California, San Diego. He is best known for his work Le Prix de la Vérité: Le don, l’argent, la philosophie (2002) which won the Grand Prize for Philosophy from the French Academy and the Philosophy Prize from the Academy of Moral and Political Sciences, Paris and has been translated into five languages.

Anne-Marie Feenberg-Dibon is Associate Professor and Director of the Institute for Humanities at Simon Fraser University. She is an experienced translator, most notably of several works by Michel Serres.

Overture / Part I : First Approach : Monument, Machine, Network / 1. Monument: The City as Totality and Image of the World / 2. A Machine: The City that Organizes, Produces and Transforms / 3. Network: Exchanges, Circulation, Relations / Part II: Second Approach: Rethinking Public Space, Discovering Common Space / 4. The Double Meaning of Public Space / 5. First Problem: The Crisis of the Monumental Model / 6. Second Problem: The Crisis of the Public Sphere / 7. Third Problem: Rediscovering Common Space / Concluding Remarks : The Future City / Bibliography / Index
Marcel Henaff’s work on the future of cities is excellent, ground breaking in its ability to bridge between anthropology, philosophy, and urbanism, and highly accessible to a broad readership. Highly recommended as a publication.
Hashim Sarkis, Dean School of Architecture and Planning, Massachusetts Institute of Technology


[The book] explores the making of the future city. In doing so it bridges the fields of anthropology, philosophy and urbanism, whilst providing a poetic read.
Environment & Urbanization


A clear and succinct outline of the history of the urban phenomenon from the foundation of the first known cities.

An original exploration of the dynamic of contemporary urban centres as these relations are modified by the technical, economic and demographic growth of cities.

A provocative reflection on the possibility of shaping cities in ways that conform to human well-being and democratic aspirations



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