Publicly Sited

The Mediated City 02: Print Urbanism

January 17, 2022

If you’ve ridden public transport over a number of years, you might think printed material is declining. You may have once been surrounded by people immersed in newspapers and books, but more and more people seem to be cradling smart phones, tablets or laptops. Playing video games, watching downloaded on-demand programmes, listening to music, using their camera as a mirror, or catching up on work. But if you look a little harder, you will see the material traces of an enduring print urbanism: a panoply of banal or ambient texts such as signage, labels and messages; some people still carrying on reading books, magazines or commuter papers; and as for the others, using digital devices to read online news or an ebook, are they not undertaking a practice intimately connected with urban print culture? Even the act of riding public transport itself depends on a huge amount of published and printed information informing the operators, bureaucracy and expertise running the system. The relationships of print and the city run deep. In this episode, we take a long view, exploring how these relationships of print and the city can highlight the most elemental features of mediated urbanism today.

Thinkers discussed: Shannon Mattern (Code + Clay … Data + Dirt: Five Thousand Years of Urban Media); Marshall McLuhan (The Gutenberg Galaxy: The Making of Typographic Man); Mario Carpo (Architecture in the Age of Printing: Orality, Writing, Typography, and Printed Images in the History of Architectural Theory); Aurora Wallace (Media Capital: Architecture and Communications in New York City); Benedict Anderson (Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism); David Henkin (City Reading: Written Words and Public Spaces in Antebellum New York); John Nerone (The Mythology of the Penny Press); James Carey (The Telegraph and Ideology); Carole O’Reilly (Journalism and the Changing Act of Observation: Writing about Cities in the British press 1880–1940); Scott Rodgers (The Architectures of Media Power: Editing, the Newsroom, and Urban Public Space); Walter Bagehot (Charles Dickens); Peter Fritzsche (Reading Berlin 1900); Rolf Linder (The Reportage of Urban Culture: Robert Park and the Chicago School); Robert Park (The Natural History of the Newspaper); Ursula Rao (News as Culture: Journalistic Practices and the Remaking of Indian Leadership Traditions); Jennifer Robinson (Ordinary Cities: Between Modernity and Development); Lev Manovich (The Language of New Media); Scott Rodgers (Digitizing Localism: Anticipating, Assembling and Animating a ‘Space’ for UK Hyperlocal Media Production).

Music: ‘The Mediated City Theme’ by Scott Rodgers License: CC BY-NC (

Podbean App

Play this podcast on Podbean App