PD Smith

A Burglar’s Guide to the City

25 June 2016 | architecture, cities, Reviewing | Post a comment


I've just reviewed Geoff Manaugh's new book, A Burglar's Guide to the City, for the Guardian.

Here's a passage from my review:

Burglary, Manaugh writes, is “topology pursued by other means: a new science of the city, proceeding by way of shortcuts, splices and wormholes”. Burglars don’t see the city we see. They see a city full of vulnerabilities to be used for breaking and entering. They see lift shafts that can be shimmied up, thermal cameras that can be disabled with hair spray, and doors that can be easily opened with lockpicks. They see plaster-board walls that can be cut through in an instant with the right tool: “like clouds, apartment walls are mostly air”. According to Manaugh, burglars understand the architecture of the city better than anyone. They are the “dark wizards of cities and buildings, unlimited by laws that hold the rest of us in”.

The book is full of wonderful anecdotes and insights, both into architecture and the city. If, like me, you're a fan of Geoff's website then you'll love this book. It offers a delightfully playful and subversive view of the built environment, fizzing with ideas and new ways of looking at the spaces we inhabit. Read the review here and I hope you enjoy the book.

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