Cities Made Differently


By David Graeber

cover image of Cities Made Differently

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Full of playful graphics, provocative questions, and curious facts, this book asks what makes a city and how we might make them differently.
What makes a city a city? Who says? Drafted over decades out of a dialogue between artist and author Nika Dubrovsky, the late anthropologist David Graeber, and Nika’s then four-year-old son, this delightful and provocative book Cities Made Differently opens a space for invention and collaboration. Fusing anthropology, literature, play, and drawing, the book is essentially a visual essay that asks us to reconsider our ideas about cities and the people who inhabit them. Drawing us into a world of history and myth, science and imagination, Graeber and Dubrovsky invite us to rethink the worlds we inhabit—because we can, and nothing is too strange or too wonderful to be true.
With inspired pictures and prompts, Cities Made Differently asks what a city is, or could be, or once was. Sleeping at the bottom of the ocean? Buried in lava? What were those cities of long ago, and what will the cities of the future be? They might be virtual, ruled by AI, or islands of beautiful architecture afloat in seas of greenery. They might be utopian places of refuge or refugee camps as far as the eye can see. On land, underground or aloft, excavated or imagined, cities, this book tells us in provocative and funny ways, can be anything we want them to be—and what we want them to be can tell us something about who we are, what it is to be human, and what’s possible when we make way for wonder.
Cities Made Differently exists in two versions, one for reading and thinking, the other, downloadable at, for drawing and dreaming.
Cities Made Differently