Kenny Cupers is associate professor of history and theory of architecture and urbanism at the University of Basel, where he co-founded and leads its new division of Urban Studies. His publications include The Social Project: Housing Postwar France, Use Matters: An Alternative History of Architecture, and Spaces of Uncertainty: Berlin Revisited.
Architecture and urbanism have contributed to one of the most sweeping transformations of our times. Over the past four decades, neoliberalism has not only been a dominant paradigm in politics, but a process of bricks and mortar in everyday life. Rather than to ask what a neoliberal architecture looks like, or how architecture represents neoliberalism, this volume examines the multivalent role of architecture and urbanism in geographically variable yet interconnected processes of neoliberal transformation across scales—from China, Turkey, South Africa, Argentina, Mexico, the US, Britain, Sweden, and Czechoslovakia. Analyzing how buildings and urban projects in different regions since the 1960s have served in the implementation of concrete policies such as privatization, fiscal reform, deregulation, state restructuring, and the expansion of free trade, contributors reveal neoliberalism as a process marked by historical contingency. Neoliberalism on the Ground fundamentally reframes accepted narratives of both neoliberalism and postmodernism by demonstrating how architecture has articulated changing relationships between state, society, and economy since the 1960s.