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Neo-Catastrophism

Eric Klinenberg: Sinful Cities?, 9 October 2003

The Unfinished City: New York and the Metropolitan Idea 
by Thomas Bender.
New Press, 287 pp., $30, September 2002, 1 56584 736 9
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Dead Cities: and Other Tales 
by Mike Davis.
New Press, 448 pp., $16.95, October 2003, 1 56584 844 6
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... In the 1990s New York was the capital city of America’s economic boom: now it is the epicentre of urban insecurity. The city is familiar with crisis, however, and no one could say it had surrendered to the new and old dangers it faces. Although disaster experts warn that a dirty bomb could result in the evacuation of millions of panicked residents and require the demolition of contaminated buildings and streets, the demand for real estate continues to escalate and housing prices are higher than they were in 2001 ...

Summer Simmer

Tom Vanderbilt: Chicago heatwaves, 22 August 2002

Heat Wave: A Social Autopsy of Disaster in Chicago 
by Eric Klinenberg.
Chicago, 305 pp., £19.50, August 2002, 0 226 44321 3
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... as well all be living in Corpus Christi then. The implications of these changes are elucidated in Eric Klinenberg’s revealing and provocative ‘social autopsy’ of the heatwave that struck Chicago in the summer of 1995, resulting in more than seven hundred deaths – the worst heat disaster in Illinois history. Chicago, exposed on the plains and ...

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