Reading Development

Random readings on society, politics and change – Jorge Carrillo

The fluid city, urbanism as a process

Cities seem solid and static, but are fluid and in motion. Cities in archaeology are often identified and conceptualised through shared characteristics (e.g. irrigation, hierarchy, monuments). The archaeological record reveals that humans live together in a mosaic of diverse ways, too diverse to classify according to a small number of types. Looking at common processes over common features helps us better grasp, explain and explore contextually and comparatively the mosaic of urban diversity. I propose that ‘urban as process’ describes how humans, other species, and things come together in assemblages, connecting and participating to create new combinations and potentials. This process is constant, creative, persistent, generating new possibilities across scales. I examine ‘urbanism as process’ by bringing together recently published archaeological materials, site-plans, aerial-surveys and current research in ecology, first in Southeast Asia at Butuan in the Philippines, Angkor in Cambodia, and then globally at Tenōchtitlan/Mexico City in Mexico, and Liangzhu, China. Understanding ‘urban as process’ is useful because ongoing and future archaeology in all parts of the world will likely discover even more diversity, rather than sameness. Urbanism as process enables us to better understand how urbanism is transforming our planet and all its inhabitants in the long-run.

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This entry was posted on Friday, 14 January 2022 by in Urban issues and tagged , , .
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