Jonathan Charley

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For many years I have been writing a city in which all of the contradictions of capitalist society and urban development are condensed and exaggerated with brutal clarity. Every aspect of daily life from education, to body parts, and views of trees, has been commodified in a manner that even the pessimists of former times could barely have imagined. It is a city that sprawls to the horizon in all directions and sits on the brink of ecological catastrophe. As is usual in such tales, the dark cunning of the human imagination works hard on ways to categorise and control human behaviour. However, like all dystopian narratives, it is a vision of the future that is rooted in the present, a story that simply stretches and distorts the social and material reality of everyday life. For example, to speculate on the collapse of urban civilisation and of the metamorphosis of education into a grotesque parody of a retail outlet, is only possible, because the forces that could make it happen have already been unleashed. What follows is a fragment from the testament of the City's last librarian.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)94-98
Number of pages5
Journal Charrette
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2016


  • cities
  • urbanism
  • urban development
  • capitalist
  • civilisaton


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