Secret Cities by Göran Dahlberg


One of these days more than half of the world’s population is to be found in cities. So says the UN and many others. We’re approaching a historical moment, but it is obviously hard to know when it actually occurs. For one thing there is no common international definition of what a city is. The traditional cities are furthermore getting split up into rapidly growing secret city-like communities, which are drawn apart from one another.

There are two different types of secret cities: on the one hand cities that are kept secret, like slum areas or refugee camps, on the other hand cities keeping themselves secret, like gated communities. More and more people are moving to these kinds of cities: either those who do not want to be found or those who are for some reason not to be found.

Reading list

  • Agamben, G 2005, State of exception, University of Chicago Press. <>
  • Bagaeen, S & Uduku, O 2009, Gated communities: social sustainability in contemporary and historical gated developments, Earthscan.
  • Vladislavić, I 2006, Portrait with Keys: Joburg and What-what, Umuzi.
  • Judin, H. & Vladislavic, I. (eds) 2006, Blanc Architecture, Apartheid and After, Nai Publishers, Rotterdam Brunn, SD
  • Wahlström, M , Holgersson, H, Thörn, C & Thörn, H (eds) 2010, (Re)searching Gothenburg: Essays on a changing city. Glänta Produktion.
  • Bayat, A 2007, ‘The quiet encroachment of the ordinary’, Chimurenga Vol. 11: Conversations With Poets Who Refuse To Speak, Chimurenga, Kalakuta Trust.
  • Bayat, A 2010, ‘Det tysta inkräktandet’, Glänta 2/2010: Chimurenga. Glänta Produktion.
  • Global Persepctive: Islands of Security 2009, BBC World Service, 7 September. <>
  • Slavoj Zizek: The Reality of the Virtual 2004, Wright, B (Dir.), Zizek, S ( Writ.), Zizek, S (Pref.), Wright Film Productions.
  • Rao, V 2010, ‘Urbanism beyond Architecture – a conversation with Filip de Boeck & Abdou Maliq Simone’ African Cities Reader, Edjabe, N & Pieterse, E (eds), Africa Center for Cities & Chimurenga.

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