In the Life of Cities

What is it that gives places their individual qualities and defines the life of a city? Architects and urbanists are accustomed to describing and creating the organizational structures, the layouts and physical attributes of our cities. But what are the relations between the design of a city—its form—and the life engendered by that form? Responding to that question is the inspiration for In the Life of Cities, edited by Mohsen Mostafavi and published by Lars Müller Publishers (October 2012).

The book is punctuated with portfolios of contemporary photography that assert the layered realities of urban life today. Shown here are selections from these portfolios. Taken from a range of vantage points, and using a variety of photographic techniques, they document lived experience in cities around the world, from Bucharest, to Dakar, to Tokyo. Inherent in the photographs are the interrelated themes of density, mobility, and migration, and their relationship to the city. It is in the tension between form and human experience where city life is lived.