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Cities under Fire: The Urbanisation of War

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Cities under Fire: The Urbanisation of War by Coward; Martin, 9780415461306
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  • ISBN: 9780415461306 | 0415461308
  • Cover: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 1/6/2026
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This book provides the first comprehensive analysis of urban destruction. It argues that it is necessary to address the widespread and deliberate destruction of buildings as a distinct form of political violence. In this sense it is productive to see this phenomenon as 'urbicide', or the destruction of urbanity. The book proposes that the destruction of urbanity comprises a pattern that is aimed at the destruction of the shared spaces that are constituted by buildings. These shared spaces are precisely what fosters heterogeneous communities. The author argues that the destruction of heterogeneous communities is a strategy deployed by exclusionary regimes (such as ethnic nationalist forces in the former Yugoslavia) in order to create homogeneous communities. Understanding the dynamics of such violence is vital if we are to grasp precisely what is at stake in widespread and deliberate violence against the built environment.

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