Common Ground in a Liquid City: Essays in Defense of an Urban Future

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If we want to preserve what's still left of the natural world, we need to stop using so much of it. And cities are the best chance we have left for a sustainable future ... but only if they remain vibrant, dynamic spaces that are unfolded by millions of people working together—and not by master plans and planners. What will it take to make our cities truly sustainable?

Common Ground in a Liquid City

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  • Common Ground in a Liquid City


In a world where the flow of money and jobs and people is largely determined by the whims of global capital, Matt Hern's Common Ground in a Liquid City is a refreshingly down-to-earth look at the importance of place in the urban future. Using his own hometown of Vancouver—the poster city for "sustainable" urban development—as a foil, Matt travels around the globe in search of the elements that make our cities livable. Along the way, he pieces together a very different picture of urban renewal, one in which place regains its flavor and its funk, and cities become much more than bland investment opportunities. Each of Hern's ten chapters focuses on a central theme of city life: diversity, street life, crime, population density, water and natural life, gentrification, and globalism. What emerges in the end is an appealing portrait of what the urban future might look like—environmentally friendly, locally focused, and governed from below. Engaging, accessible, and relentlessly original, Common Ground in a Liquid City is an appealing portrait of what the urban future might look like—if we can get our act together. "The best way to learn about your own city is to leave it. The second best way is to read Common Ground in a Liquid City." -David Tracey, author of Guerilla Gardening

Additional Information

Author Matt Hern
Publisher AK Press
Page Count 230pp
Publication Size 6 x 9
Publication Notes softcover, b/w
Publication Date December 27, 2009
ISBN 978-1849350105

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