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City of Extremes


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Table of Contents

List of Maps vii
List of Illustrations ix
Preface xi
Acknowledgments xxvii
Abbreviations xxxi
Introduction. Spatial Politics in the Precarious City 1
Part I 23
Making Space: City Building and the Production of the Built Enivronment
1. The Restless Urban Landscape: The Evolving Spatial Geography of Johannesburg 29
2. The Flawed Promise of the High-Modernist City: City Building at the Apex of Apartheid Rule 59
Part II 83
Unraveling Space: Centrifugal Urbanism and the Convulsive City
3. Hollowing out the Center: Johannesburg Turned Inside Out 87
4. Worlds Apart: The Johannesburg Inner City and the Making of the Outcast Ghetto 137
5. The Splintering Metropolis: Laissez-faire Urbanism and Unfettered Suburban Sprawl 173
Part III 205
Fortifying Space: Siege Architecture and Anxious Urbanism
6. Defensive Urbanism after Apartheid: Spatial Partitioning and the New Fortification Aesthetic 213
7. Entrepreneurial Urbanism and the Private City 245
8. Reconciling Arcadia and Utopia: Gated Residential Estates at the Metropolitan Edge 283
Epilogue. Putting Johannesburg in Its Place: The Ordinary City 321
Appendix 333
Notes 337
Bibliography 423
Index 463

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Examines the relationship between evolving urban form and the changing built environment of Johannesburg after apartheid

About the Author

Martin J. Murray is Professor of Urban Planning at the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, and Adjunct Professor at the Center for African and African-American Studies at the University of Michigan. He is the author of many books, including Taming the Disorderly City: The Spatial Landscape of Johannesburg after Apartheid and Revolution Deferred: The Painful Birth of Post-Apartheid South Africa.


"In this meticulously researched account of Johannesburg's socio-spatial history, Martin J. Murray gets beneath the surface of the city's chaotic present to discover the inertia of long-term deployments. He finds that ingrained habits of urban planning and real estate entrepreneurship have always been mobilized in the city as twin mechanisms of change and renewal across moments of territorial mutation. This exposes post-apartheid transformation as a re-articulation of old orders and habits and makes an important contribution to revising the idea of decisive historical rupture at the end of apartheid."--Lindsay Bremner, Professor of Architecture, Tyler School of Art, Temple University "Martin J. Murray navigates the slippery interfaces where mega-development, social progress, dystopian dread, racial enclaving, and mobilities of all kinds intersect, revealing both an alarming disposition to Africa's most heterogeneous city and a rough-hewn humanity despite the odds. At each step of the way, Murray is precise and impassioned in this no-holds barred analysis of the lengths politicians, businesspersons, planners, entrepreneurs, and developers will go to hold a city a down." AbdouMaliq Simone, author of For the City Yet to Come: Changing African Life in Four Cities "City of Extremes: The Spatial Politics of Johannesburg, Martin Murray's second book on Johannesburg, South Africa, is a critical portrait of contemporary Johannesburg, or more exactly of the spatial dynamics that have been and are shaping the city. Murray's main argument is that the inherited spatial inequalities, which used to divide Johannesburg along racial lines during the colonization and apartheid eras, not only are far from being overcome, but also have been reactivated and remodeled by new socioeconomic inequalities, generated by real estate capitalism. Built environment is thus understood as a reflection and a result of the contradictions of real estate capitalism through time. Tacking on the issue of socio-spatial fragmentation, Murray offers thus an interesting reading of the "spatial politics" that are at work behind urban forms in Johannesburg but also, more generally, in many contemporary cities all over the world." - Pauline Guinard, H-Safrica, October 2013

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