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Unruly Places: Lost Spaces, Secret Cities,…
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Unruly Places: Lost Spaces, Secret Cities, and Other Inscrutable… (2014)

by Alastair Bonnett

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
A tale of unclaimed spaces from man-made floating islands to unclaimed green islands in highway patterns. Unclaimed or secret or unwanted (like Chernobyl). Interesting premise, the exotic and unusual hiding in plain sight. I enjoyed the trip. ( )
  NickHowes | Dec 2, 2017 |
A fascinating little book that gives the curious layman a wonderfully readable rundown of geographical oddities, theory relating to cartography and place, and historical and current thinking about what the concept of "place" might mean to us. The author writes in a style that is both accessible and precise: he packs a lot of big ideas into these little essays, which don't run to more than a handful of pages each. And it's obvious he loves his subject: he seems to have gone to considerable expense to visit and provide first-hand accounts of many of the places he discusses here. And many of them are truly fascinating. They range from an Italian "museum" of unfinished construction projects to a chunk of Sudan nobody wants to a gigantic cruise ship whose owners seem to have forsaken land entirely. The book is littered with failed utopias, potential futures, and unconventional thinking about the space we inhabit.

But what "Unruly Places" really useful to the reader who's just getting into this subject is the the author's talent for contrast and paradox. Do borders trap or free us? Does place mean more or less than it used to? How "real" are the borders we draw? These essays could be read as a series of arguments and counter-arguments, and, therefore, give the reader a lot of food for thought. I get the idea that many professional geographers or map fans would consider this to be a bit of a sensationalistic, surface-level treatment of their discipline, but I wouldn't be surprised if it turned a few readers on to this. I've had a bit of an interest in the theory urban planning ever since I read Greil Marcus's "Lipstick Traces," so "Unruly Places" was a great fit for me. Fortuitously, the book has an extensive and promising bibliography for anyone who wants to delve deeper into theories of place. ( )
2 vote TheAmpersand | Oct 8, 2017 |
Great premise, but surprisingly boring, and I found the punctuation practices distractingly annoying. ( )
  JBD1 | Aug 31, 2017 |
This book was intriguing and captivating cover to cover. The author flits around the globe briefly profiling places that don't "fit" our standard ideas of geography, from an island that was in the map for years but never existed to the enclaves of the Netherlands and Bangladesh, places where the edges of two countries intermingle. The author brings in history, geography and philosophy while never letting the book settle into a plod. A fun, informative read that makes me want to learn more about these places.
( )
  kaitanya64 | Jan 3, 2017 |
I thought this was going to read more like a travel log but it ended up being a very good series of geo-political essays. I thought the book was a little European/African-centric and could've done more to be inclusive of North America, South America, Asia and Australia. The highlights for me were, Sandy Island, Zheleznogorsk, North Sentinel Island, Kijong-dong, Camp Zeist, Hobyo, Sealand, and the Floating Maldives. ( )
  bbrams17 | Jun 8, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Alastair Bonnettprimary authorall editionscalculated
Nassef, LaurenIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 054410157X, Hardcover)

The real-life answers to Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities, Unruly Places explores the most extraordinary, off-grid, offbeat places on the planet. Alastair Bonnett’s tour of the planet’s most unlikely micro-nations, moving villages, secret cities, and no man’s lands shows us the modern world from surprising new vantage points, bound to inspire urban explorers, off-the-beaten-trail wanderers, and armchair travelers. He connects what we see on maps to what’s happening in the world by looking at the places that are hardest to pin down: inaccessible zones, improvised settlements, multiple cities sharing the same space.

Consider Sealand, an abandoned gun platform off the English coast that a British citizen claimed as his own sovereign nation, issuing passports and making his wife a princess. Or Baarle, a patchwork city of Dutch and Flemish enclaves where crossing the street can involve traversing national borders. Or Sandy Island, which appeared on maps well into 2012 despite the fact it never existed.  

Illustrated with original maps and drawings, Unruly Places gives readers a new way of understanding the places we occupy.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:46 -0400)

"The real-life answers to Italo Calvino's Invisible Cities, Unruly Places explores the most extraordinary, off-grid, offbeat places on the planet. Alastair Bonnett's tour of the planet's most unlikely micro-nations, moving villages, secret cities, and no man's lands shows us the modern world from surprising new vantage points, bound to inspire urban explorers, off-the-beaten-trail wanderers, and armchair travelers. He connects what we see on maps to what's happening in the world by looking at the places that are hardest to pin down: inaccessible zones, improvised settlements, multiple cities sharing the same space. Consider Sealand, an abandoned gun platform off the English coast that a British citizen claimed as his own sovereign nation, issuing passports and making his wife a princess. Or Baarle, a patchwork city of Dutch and Flemish enclaves where crossing the street can involve traversing national borders. Or Sandy Island, which appeared on maps well into 2012 despite the fact it never existed. Illustrated with original maps and drawings, Unruly Places gives readers a new way of understanding the places we occupy. "--… (more)

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