Questions of the panicked structures and spaces of the city are at the center of intellectual investigation across a variety of fields from cultural politics and architecture to cultural geography and literature. The extract and three articles collected here differ in the positions they represent, the intent behind their texts, and their emphasis. These texts relate to such issues as the importance of democratic city formations and political associations, the sensation of urban fear and esthetic spaces of catastrophe, including their function in our increasingly technologized everyday life and moods. But for whom has the contemporary city been devised?

The typical modern city of Paris, for example, was that imagined in and realized through the application of the plans of a number of extremely powerful architects and town planners. The most well-known and powerful of these was the French town planner, Baron...

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