richard sennett

richard sennett bw

intro’d to Richard here, in a rhizo14 w5 share:

richard sennett interview

We live in a world where dominant what I call the “us-against-them”, whether the mode of competition, to the right, or solidarity, for a portion of the left: each represents the interests of those who are like him, against those who are different. 

this closed way of expressing things does not facilitate the exchange…

How to restore the spirit of the collective and cooperation?

It is very complex and difficult. It can not be imposed politically from above. It is in each structure, at work, in neighborhoods, he must be reinstated authentic social connections. 

However, these parties are interested in anything except what I think is more important: how to contribute to the restoration of living together at the local level, in schools, neighborhoods …? 

Richard’s comment on China sounds like Dave’s forced independence.. only.. forced dependence…


find/follow Richard:

link twitter

writes on cities, labour, and social policy.

his site:

wikipedia small

Richard Sennett (born 1 January 1943) is the Centennial Professor of Sociology at the London School of Economics and University Professor of the Humanities at New York University. Sennett has studied social ties in cities, and the effects of urban living on individuals in the modern world.

Sennett currently is working on a project called ‘Homo Faber,’ exploring material ways of making culture. The first book in this series is The Craftsman, published in 2008; subsequent volumes are Together: The Rituals, Pleasures, and Politics of Cooperation, published in 2012, and a future volume on the making of the urban environment.


city ness


lovely re intro to Richard.. while taking in habitat 3

talks: HABITAT III (Quito, 17-20 October 2016)

first one with (below & also sitting in this order) JoanSaskia, Richard, and Ricky

habitat 3 panel.png

4 min in talking about quito papers

5 min – charter from 1933 – on dream of how city could function as beautiful machine

6 min – today dream has turned into worst nightmare… idea that you create these isolated efficient skyscrapers detached from each other.. city has become simplified into set of forms… socially repressive/exclusive from people who can’t afford to live in them.. this was our background.. what would be alt to this..

a nother way as alt.. a means to shell us..

for (blank)’s sake

functional ness has become a closed system.. my contribution has been on thinking about cities on open system..

open enough.. to set/keep all of us free..

open city: 1\ complex in synchronous way 2\incomplete in form  3\porous in relationship to various elements in city..

8 min – 1\ generation of complexity.. not well understood.. generated by synchronous activity.. many things happening at once.. works against time.. of sorting out activities appropriate at diff times day/night.. instead of happening at same time..complexity created by spontenaity/synchronicity… disperate elements create synergies.. happens thru activities that don’t fit together.. happening at same time..

11 min – 2\ incomplete form.. has dna which begins process of development but at end is not determined.. defn of closure: you know beginning, determine end.. but inbetween unknown .. open is opp: process of development key critical point.. we’re looking at shells…. not prototypes.. but shells.. of communal orgs.. where theres’a house for something but w/in shell.. is empty.. finding what kind of shells can contain people w/in … today.. closed cities are anything but shells.. interior is completely programmed.. what people are going to do is sussed up.. completely structured.. so what kinds of shells enable open growth

14 min – 3\ porous.. cell membrane.. in cities.. there are very few membrane conditions.. divisions are dead edges.. the notion of exchange is something we’re not seeing in cities.. instead seeing emphasis on centers instead of edges…  because of our focus on id’s coming from centers.. coming from dominate group.. that’s not a city.. a city is a place of strangers.. and strangers exchange at the edges of their id’s…

14 min – of these 3 elements..politically most difficult.. is to create environments which are porous.. because notion of being de centered is difficult for people.. have to learn it.. become porous w/in self.. challenge of porous city is challenge of creating cosmopolitans who are literally de centered…

i hope quito papers will inspire this..

Saskia starts about 18 min – talking mostly in spanish..

he’s married to Saskia – since 87


building & dwelling

Andy Yan (@Ayan604) tweeted at 10:44 PM – 28 Jul 2018 :
Read. This. NOW…please….A Plea for an Ethical City #vanre #vanpoli @sandyjamesplan @Garossino @nlamontagne @yskevinhuang @Goldiein604 @NBlomley @GlobalHigherEd @DallasRogers101 (

his new book, Building and Dwelling: Ethics for the City.

on order via prospect at library

thanks library –

building & dwelling

through it all (the book), Sennett is asking a pretty simple and pressing question: How do we live together now? How does cosmopolitanism survive in an age of both populism and urbanization—and what can we do in our streets, parks, and cities to help?

in a space (although after reading this.. seems i need to redefine space).. assembly.. in the city.. as the day

a nother way book

You move through a space and you dwell in a place..When people start driving at a certain speed, they lose awareness of where they are. .And when you dwell in a place, you have a slower relationship to it…When you bike or you walk, your cognitive field is much bigger because you’re taking in much more from the sides.


Where this gets reflected in urbanism is the more we create spaces where people move fast, the less they understand about what those spaces are.

Unfortunately, in a lot of developing cities they don’t get along very well. That’s why I’m interested in the fuzzy boundaries between, say, work and school—it’s in those complicated areas that people either mix or don’t mix.

interesting to say.. work and school.. two disturbances to ecosystem.. that rob of curiosity

The great error that urbanists made in the 20th century was to separate parts out functionally…Those spaces tend to compartmentalize people’s lives. So if you’re in school, you’re removed from people shopping, or going to a hospital. You don’t see adults. You’re only in that one specialized space..For urbanists and for planners, [the trick is] how to create spaces for interaction and integration rather than spaces that are so segregated..t

city as school/everyday-life: in the city.. as the day

cure ios city

Nobody expected the boulevards in Paris to become the sociable places they were. But people chose to use them that way because they wanted to see what was happening out and about in the city. That sort of curiosity—if the space enables it—tends to overcome people’s fear in the long run…I think there’s a kind of urban ethics that some kind of spaces will enable people to let their curiosity balance their fear of others..t

cure ios city

 it’s counterintuitive that a big public square should be less violent.

The notion that the whole city should be connected by transport rather than public space is a horrible thing that was exported straight from Corbusier to Beijing. Being stuck in traffic on the highway is somehow more advanced than walking slowly.

Cities are getting bigger so much faster; Jacobs’ notion of slow growth doesn’t make any sense. It’s not the world we live in today.

the thing that makes people really get along with each other is physical comfort in the presence of others.

gershenfeld sel

If people feel bodily comfort, I’ve come to feel that that’s enough.

rather a&a

That is what makes people more peaceable, less aggressive, less prone to violence. Going through verbal hoops and mutual understanding and common shared purpose, and so on, to me, that’s a lot of bullshit.

begs idio-jargon/self-talk as data

The almost lawyerly emphasis on being with other people is so divorced from the physical experience of feeling comfortable with someone who’s not you, who’s unlike you.

That’s a difference I have with Hannah Arendt, who had a very verbalistic understanding of the city as a place where people interact. A lot of the urbanism in my book is focused on the non-verbal, on the bodily

beyond words .. embodiment


2 min video

Here is a short film John and I have made about the work of Theatrum Mundi:

Original Tweet:

1/2 of purpose of Theatrum Mundi is to get artists sensitive to the places they’re working.. other 1/2 is to get people w overly technical training.. to be more imaginative.. t..- richard

if we have a city that is dominated by spaces for display and there isn’t a possibility for people to find these infras that enable them to produce new forms.. then danger the city becomes politically/culturally stagnate.. t.. city should be something you can use to do something not just something you consume.. – john @public_culture

from site:


Theatrum Mundi helps to expand the crafts of city-making through collaboration between artists and urbanists.


from Srećko Horvat‘s radicality of love:


from richard sennett’s classic book the fall of public man, cafes usually have – or at least had or could have – a subversive role..  during the ancien regime, political groups often arose from the parisian cafes.. coffeehouses became not only social centers, but also the prime info centers in london and paris of the early 18th cent.. so when khomeini decided to close the cafes and cabarets, it was because he was fully aware that they might be sued as means for (counter) revolutionary activity


cities for housing


jul 2020 – panel on commoning – The Commons is Dead. Long Live the Commons! Panel 1: Commoning the City – []

1:03 – on commoning children and family being center.. to commoning a shared washing machine.. to using a space for something other than it’s intention and unlikely people sharing it.. no territorialness.. a space of non verbal commoning.. strangers being together.. sharing a space to a point.. open, flexible, and indeterminate..

1:05 – a bodily commoning .. nonverbal .. physical commoning.. in a space which is unfixed.. one of reasons it works politically as well as economically.. relevant for us.. a lot of challenges in commoning we face now are how people can share physical space w/o territorial (ness).. or w/o verbally assigning an id to it..t

1:06 – when we say this space belongs to whites/blacks.. we’ve already inflicted a wound on that space.. it’s not longer a space for commoning.. the non verbal and the indeterminate are ways in which we can bring a lot of public spaces we have back to life.. create the grounds for some kind of social peace..t

1:22 – (how can we sustain commons) huge question.. one part.. there is a real separation between life world and the world of social movements.. people are just struggling to survive.. trying to make the life world work.. we would imagine that sharing community would be a way to make it work.. basic level of survival.. a great error to politicize entirely commoning.. other side.. of simply making life work.. the act of treating a family as property is something that can be provoked by a threat ie: covid.. that’s not a direct line of capitalism to property.. what i’m trying to say.. i think it would be a great error to reduce the subject to a set of strategies.. it’s a set of social practices.. and some pose really difficult questions.. i get very uncomfortable about the notion that .. ie: certainly collective action part of commoning.. but lot of other ways that are simpler.. and more complicated.. because there isn’t a connection between capitalism and protection of your family.. my gut reaction is that there’s something wrong about the question..



1\ undisturbed ecosystem (common\ing) can happen

2\ if we create a way to ground the chaos of 8b free people

we have to go all in.. has to be across the board.. otherwise.. we’re just perpetuating tragedy of the non common

agree.. no capitalism.. we have to let go of any form of measuring/accounting

1:34 – i don’t look at commoning as an activity of cooperation only.. ie: how to get white/black people to share same space physically.. that has to do w commoning not cooperation.. an activity that is much more fundamental.. foucalt – ‘how can care of self be something which puts you one among many’..  and the notion that you have to cooperate w somebody else to be able to be one among many .. which seems to be the most fundamental way to common.. it’s just wrong.. it’s not one or the other..t

yeah.. we’ll never get to the dance if we focus on coop first.. that’s like the harm/passivity decision making creates

‘in undisturbed ecosystems ..the average individual, species, or population, left to its own devices, behaves in ways that serve and stabilize the whole..’ –Dana Meadows

1:35 – but we’re so reductive about what we mean by commoning.. ie: shared endeavor, cooperative interaction, and so on.. this is to make this very profound notion of being in the midst of other people.. to trivialize/instrumentalize it..t

as a practical planner.. i would be much happier if i made a space which makes people comfortable in the presence of people who’s skins are different than if i org’d a social movement that made demands on city govt.. we have to deal w what commoning is.. commoning is that you are one among many and that you recognize that.. t.. it’s not a tactic in that sense.. that’s part of it.. but it’s much too narrow..

ie: cure ios city

1:51 – how to informalize very rigid/formalized structures.. tactic i’m interested in is how to work on edges of public space.. more porous.. there are ways to informalize.. we’ve just published a book called designing disorder..t

carhart-harris entropy law et al

[] – suggested to library for purchase