I am currently working on a book with the working title Urbanism at the End of History.

What happens when cities are seen as self-organizing systems? Urbanism at the End of History uncovers a recent history of how urban experts prioritized a series of nature-based explanations of urban change over concerns over class inequality and racial injustice. Focused on the four decades on either side of the millennial turn, this book engages with architecture, planning and geography to reveal the depoliticizing effects of a heuristic style that emphasizes the unpredictability of urbanization in an analogy with ecological complexity. Urbanism at the End of History draws on evidence from the US, Canada, the UK, Germany and Denmark to examine a range of ideas and interventions, from projects that treat the city as an ecology of global flows; to uses of indeterminacy as a design or planning strategy; to “swarming” models and simulations of urban dynamics; and economistic strategies to deliver creative and charter cities. Adopting an interdiscipinary perspective that combines history and urban political scholarship, this research disentangles the extent to which these diverse intellectual threads reinforced the fabric of triumphant global capitalism. It is argued that the emphasis on self-organizing urbanism has contributed to marginalizing poverty, discrimination and other experiences of social devaluation at global and internal peripheries. Ultimately, Urbanism at the End of History finds that a materialist conception of socio-environmental change lies in tension with new forms of urban expertise that mystify power by conflating complex change in nature, markets and cities.

The research is supported by the European Commission’s Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellowship through an institutional collaboration between the Canadian Centre for Architecture and the Estonian Academy of Arts.