Making visible concrete’s shadow places: Mixing environmental concerns and social inequalities into building materials

Pryor Placino

This paper critically examines the dominant role of concrete in the modernization of Asian cities since the mid twentieth century. While builders, architects, planners and citizens have long praised the advantages of concrete, we argue that concrete can no longer be seen as socially and environmentally neutral in the Anthropocene. When concrete cracks, it does so literally and metaphorically. The cracks manifest not only in the actual material but as socioecological concerns. We employ the concept of “shadow places” to explore the underside of concrete production where those cracks emerge.