Bootleg Edition Urban China (C-Lab)

Things Will Get Worse Before They Get Better

America's new administration has brought about a palpable sense of optimism. There are high hopes for the agency of government. There is confidence that people will mobilize for a worthy cause. There is belief that economic recovery could begin sooner rather than later. In architecture there is a newfound feeling that the profession can improve cities. But optimism is a fragile thing. Unfavorable events are likely to occur which could dash any such hopes. One way to prevent ourselves from overreacting, and subsequently falling into despair, is to appreciate the nature of crisis. Understanding crisis may help us to judge the unfolding situation and maintain a realistic measure of faith. In this issue you will find wide-ranging examples of crises: how they begin, unfold and, despite attempts at their management, spin out of control. Everything is fluid at the moment and our basic assumptions of how to fix things have proven ineffective. So prepare for things to get worse before they get better. Hopefully, even this helps to cushion the fall.

As the second installment in an ongoing editorial project between Urban China and Volume, we have produced this limited edition publication on the occasion of the exhibition Informal Cities at the New Museum. Inspired by the unofficial compilations sold by fans at music concerts, we offer a bootleg issue of Urban China. The bootleg is a DIY format for assembling and disseminating work within a circle of hardcore fans, typically consisting of live work recorded, sequenced and edited by the concertgoer. Unlike a pirated copy or fake which tries to assume the identity of an authorized product and is motivated by a desire for profit, a bootleg announces itself as an improvised, illegitimate work and is largely motivated by a wish to share. Given the urgency of the topic, C-Lab has borrowed the bootleg format to quickly distribute observations, initiated in dialogue with Urban China, on the crisis and its management.
-Jeffrey Inaba

Space In Crisis
Mark Wigley

Design for the Apocalypse
John McMorrough

From 9/11 To 5/12
Jiang Jun


Haifa Zangana

International Style Heritage

Lucia Allais

Rebirth Brick
Liu Jiakun

Re–Tumu After Wenchuan
Huang Weiwen

Humanitarian Intervention
Eyal Weizman

The World’s Last Colony: The Refugee Camps of Western Sahara
Manuel Herz

Stephen Graham interviewed by Gavin Browning

Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Mark Hansen, Laura Kurgan and Ben Rubin

Paper–Tube House
Shigeru Ban

Unfriendly Skies


Systems Gone Wild: Infrastructure After Modernity
Kazys Varnelis

Cory Booker
Interviewed by Volume

Confronting Crisis Through a Social Infrastructure

Omar Freilla interviewed by Jeffrey Inaba

Ultimate Infrastructure
Jiang Jun

Obama Urbanism
Jeffrey Inaba, Geoff Manaugh, Christopher Hawthorn, Josef Grima and Sam Jacob

Situational Awareness
James McConnell interviewed by Gavin Browning

Erin Aigner interviewed by Gavin Browning

Tripping The Light Rail Fantastic

C–Lab with labRAD

Dispatches From an Anaheim 9-1-1 Operator

Anonymous as told to Laura Hanna

Ginger Nolan

David Gissen and Rachel Schreiber

The Tour

Gavin Browning

Steven Hart

Go Bags
Jean J. Choi

Upset Ethics
Aaron Davis and Leah Meisterlin

Shopping For Go Bags

Crisis Devices


Keller Easterling

Celebrity Mobilization
Martha Rosler

Public Relations

Ina Howard–Parker

Crisis in Crisis: Biosphere 2’s Contested Ecologies
Janette Kim and Erik Carver

Etopia’s “Utopia” for Green Reconstruction
Su Yunsheng


Jason Zuzga

Jorge Otero–Pailos

Where The Wild Things Went

Light Steel Construction
Hsieh Ying–chun

Rogue States of Mind

Exclusion Zone
Oleg Yavorsky interviewed by Gavin Browning

More is Less

Foreclosed Homes
Geoff Manaugh


Volume 20
Bootleg Edition Urban China (C-Lab)
Volume 18
Volume 17
Volume 16
Volume 15
Volume 14
Volume 13
Volume 12
Volume 11
Volume 10
Volume 9
Volume 8
Volume 7
Volume 6
Volume 5
Volume 4
Volume 3
Volume 2
Volume 1
Volume Magazine
News & Events
Purchase Bootleg Edition Urban China (C-Lab)
Urban China Magazine
Informal Cities
New Museum