Introduction to a Critique of Urban Geography  

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"Historical conditions determine what is considered “useful.” Baron Haussmann’s urban renewal of Paris under the Second Empire, for example, was motivated by the desire to open up broad thoroughfares allowing for the rapid circulation of troops and the use of artillery against insurrections. But from any standpoint other than that of facilitating police control, Haussmann’s Paris is a city built by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. Present-day urbanism’s main problem is ensuring the smooth circulation of a rapidly increasing number of motor vehicles. A future urbanism will undoubtedly apply itself to no less utilitarian projects, but in the rather different context of psychogeographical possibilities." --Introduction to a Critique of Urban Geography, Guy Debord, tr. Ken Knabb

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

"Introduction to a Critique of Urban Geography" is an essay by Guy Debord. It was originally published in French as Introduction a une critique de la géographie urbaine in Belgian journal, Les Lèvres nues, no.6, September 1955.

The essay was reprinted by Plasma in 1978 and by Allia in 1995; translated and published by Ken Knabb as "Introduction to a critique of urban geography," in Situationist International Anthology, Bureau of Public Secrets (Berkeley, 1981 and 1989).

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