Sabina Andron

Feb 4, 2024

Urban Surfaces, Graffiti, and the Right to the City

Routledge 2023

Sabina Andron's book Urban Surfaces, Graffiti, and the Right to the City (Routledge, 2024) focuses on urban surfaces, on exploring their authorship and management, and on their role in struggles for the right to the city.

Graffiti, pristine walls, advertising posters, and municipal signage all compete on city surfaces to establish and imprint their values on our environments. It is the first time that the surfacescapes of our cities are granted the entire attention of a book as material, visual, and legal territories. The book includes a critical history of graffiti and street art as contested surface discourses and argues for surfaces as sites of resistance against private property, neoliberal creativity, and the imposition of urban order. It also proposes a seven-point manual for a semiotics of urban surfaces, laying the ground for a new discipline: surface studies.

Page after page and layer after layer, surfaces become porous and political and emerge as key spatial conditions for rethinking and re-practicing urban dwelling and spatial justice. They become what the author terms the surface commons.

The book will appeal to a wide readership across the disciplines of urban studies, architectural theory and design, graffiti, street art and public art, criminology, semiotics, visual culture, and urban and legal geography. It will also serve as a tool for city scholars, policy makers, artists, and vandals to disrupt existing imaginaries of order, justice, and visibility in cities.

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Victoria Oana Lupașcu is an Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature and Asian Studies at University of Montréal. Her areas of interest include medical humanities, visual art, 20th and 21st Chinese, Brazilian and Romanian literature and Global South studies.

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