From the Global Urbanist – a further review of Counter Currents:
Standing in contrast to the ‘doomful narratives and prophecies’ that surround urban development in Cape Town, Edgar Pieterse’s Counter Currents presents a radical project of optimism, bringing into collision the work of architects, planners, scholars, poets and sculptors to explore new possibilities for the city’s self-image.
“How do we manage and navigate our many unresolved tensions? Between the imperative of practice, of having to intervene in the city to make things better and at the same time being conscious that so much of the knowledge that exists about African cities is so reductionist and instrumentalised that it often adds to the problem.”
–Edgar Pieterse, editor of Counter Currents and director of the African Centre for Cities, London, January 26th.
Counter Currents brings together twenty-seven authors in a colourful and heady tome, somewhat intimidating in its breadth and breathless tone. In Pieterse’s words it is a ‘showcase of bold urban development initiatives by the state and private sector.’ It initially incites suspicion due to the emphatic use of the word ‘sustainable’. However sustainability is delineated early on to refer to economic, social, ecological, physical and political sustainability–urbanity, then–and the book engages critically with its different manifestations. Continue reading