Urbanism without Guarantees is an ethnographic account of the contemporary everyday urban challenges of living in the far West Side of Midtown Manhattan in New York City, an area known as Clinton/Hell’s Kitchen.
It is based on over three years of intensive field work during which the author was entrenched within people's everyday lives, documenting in close detail their activities as they lived and worked on three and a half blocks along West Forty-Sixth Street, just one of the unsung streets in this neighborhood. The author accompanied people throughout the ebb and flow of their daily existence: commuting to work, running errands, walking dogs, sitting around the house, watching TV, going to church, going to community events and meetings, doing housework, playing in the park, relaxing and talking under shade trees, going to killing time between appointments, going out for drinks, and doing other ordinary things.
The book argues that the future holds no guarantees but if there is to be a more liveable world then this world will rest not on liberal individualist ideas such as liberty, property and gradualist improvement, but on people’s everyday collective capacities, labors, and forms of value that help to creative the conditions for collective thriving.
Anderson, Christian (2020) Urbanism without Guarantees: The Everyday Life of a Gentrifying West Side Neighborhood. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.