Archives For urban spirit

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Richard Sennett put forward one of the most succinct definitions for those retreating from urban life in his book The Uses of Disorder: “suburbanites”, he argued, “are people who are afraid to live in a world they cannot control.” In the wake of the recent Paris attacks, the vast majority of French―and possibly European―urbanites now fit this description.

Is this not to be expected? Is it not a core human instinct to seek refuge against the whirlwind? Certainly so. In this way the war cries of Hollande, the extension of the state of emergency, and the anticipated―and largely unchallenged―changes in the French constitution are all unsurprising. But this is exactly where the problem lies: such restrictive and predictable reactions typify the anti-urbanism of European responses to the attacks. Continue Reading…