City

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City

  • Photographer David Levene with text by Oliver Wainwright
  • ISBN 9781908457400
  • Hardback with printed cover
  • Colour: 270 x 290mm landscape + 168pp

Over half of the world’s population now lives in cities, but how do we live, what kind of places are we creating, and how are these stories being told?

From travelling with the nomadic herdsmen of the Mongolian plains to exploring the floating villages of the Lagos lagoon, award-winning Guardian photographer David Levene has spent the last two decades documenting how people live and work around the world in vivid detail. City, brings together 14 years of work across 62 cities, scanning the globe in a 360-degree journey from Tokyo in the east to San Francisco in the west, providing a startling snapshot of the diverse forms of urbanity that exist across all five continents.

Starting in the congested streets of Tokyo’s Shibuya crossing, bathed in glitzy bright lights of the most populous city on the planet, we discover how people make do in Japan’s largest slum on the outskirts of Osaka, before meeting women selling vegetables on the daily commute aboard Yangon’s circular railway, and finding out what life is like in the garment factories of Dhaka. We see the sprawling suburbs of Las Vegas, the homeless camps of San Francisco and how people survive at the northernmost tip of Alaska.

Arranged as a longitudinal journey, jumping from north to south as it travels through time zones, the book reveals surprising contrasts and startling juxtapositions. It takes us from the slums of Mumbai to the street gambling stalls of Osh, Kyrgyzstan, from the train carriage homes of Barda in Azerbaijan to the steaming baths of Budapest. The regimented grid of Barcelona’s Eixample neighbourhood meets the jumbled ad-hoc urbanism of the Calais Jungle refugee camp; the empty “ghost towers” of Panama City rhyme with vacant building lots in the American midwest; glimmers of hope emerge from the rubble in the ruins of post-earthquake Haiti, while troubled histories are told in the peace murals of Belfast.

Levene’s unique perspective tells a powerful story about people and place, revealing how we shape our habitat and how it, in turn, shapes us.

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