"Urban Memory": "History and Amnesia in the Modern City "brings together ideas about memory which bear upon the architectural and urban experience of the modern city. It presents a critical and creativity approach in the theorization of memory and focuses this burgeoning area of studies on the actual forms of the built environment in the modernist and post-industrial city.
Urban memory was a key theme in many of the leading modernist writers and social thinkers. Conversely, modernism in architecture and urbanism was more often devoted to a utopian ideal which seemed to erase memory from the city. More recently the two have come together. Cities that were once centers of intensely forward-looking modernist culture, now proclaim themselves as primarily palimpsest or 'memory-spaces'. This can be seen in a burgeoning of architects and architecture specializing in monuments to trauma, nostalgic collaborations between conservationists and developers; city centers which are proclaimed as 'urban villages'; and the ever increasing number of amenity groups, listed buildings, museums, historians, and preservation societies.
This book analyses these patterns, showing that the dynamics of history and memory, commemoration and amnesia, pervade as never before our contemporary cities. Its aim is to understand such symptoms in the light of what we have come to call the 'posturban' and post-industrial city. As such it will be of interest to all who are concerned with the future of the urban past.
The contributors come from the fields of architectural history, art history, cultural studies, sociology, fine art, critical theory and specialist in psychoanalysis; and their contributions approach the theme from a number of view points. A particular area of focus is post-industrial Manchester, but the book also includes studies of contemporary Singapore, New York after 9/11, contemporary museums in industrial gallery spaces, memorials built in concrete, and contemporary art. The book is illustrated with images of architecture, art works, views of cities, maps and other materials and includes nine specially commissioned artists' pages commissioned from the leading contemporary artists Nick Crowe and Ian Rawlinson.