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Hot on the tail of my post discussing the Occucopter and the technology race between protesters in the Occupy movement and authorities in cities round the world I came across this book.  “Cities under Siege” by Stephen Graham is a timely look at how our cities are becoming future battlefields, and how the authorities whether they are in London or New York, seek to redesign cities to control the peoples living there.

This is a un-democratic philosophy which starts with the premise that the citizens of the city are the enemy.

We already know in all sorts of parts of America and Europe of the gated communities, roped off and guarded 24/7, to subtract the wealthy from the burdens of living in the general community.  We accept that certain infrastructures must be segregated and protected, so we endure the armed guards and the security of the airport, but Graham takes the idea of urban militarism further showing that the military control of space is being sold to police forces across the world.  The smart and automatic CCTV camera which sees “disturbing behaviour” for itself and alerts Police without the need for a human controller in a central control room being only one of the more obvious.

The very designs of the urban environment are altered by this philosophy.  Enclaves become more difficult to access.  Social control is excercised by architects holding the space to dominate the residents, removing traditional “public spaces” from the reach of the people.

If you still have access to libraries then this should be a definite read!

Copyright David Macadam 2012

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