How To Build An Imaginary City

Dream cities, nightmare cities and everything in between... 
A series of talks with author and urbanist Darran Anderson


For writers, artists, game developers, filmmakers, architects, flâneuses, urbanists, those interested in exploring cities, and those interested in creating them, this series of interactive talks will focus on imaginary cities in both fiction and non-fiction.

Spanning the imagined and the real, the built and unbuilt, we’ll explore a variety of different approaches to the creation of urban space. Beginning with London, but expanding globally, we’ll delve into fantastical cities in books, films and games, and learn what it takes to invent a city that is so convincing we could actually inhabit it. Equally, we’ll examine how crucial the imagination is to urban development and how metropolitan success and failure depend upon it.

Part-lecture, part discussion, over three sessions we will focus on the following themes:

•    History - exploring the layers of what once was and the hidden pasts that surround us
•    Vernacular - diverse visions of the future that escape cliche
•    Contingency - the 'could have been' and the 'yet to come'

By the end, we’ll have established a series of pathways and explored a number of integral themes that will provide a foundation for creating believable cities of the future.

Where: Ink@84 Books, 84 Highbury Park, London N5 2XE



Cost: £75+VAT

About the tutor:

Darran Anderson is the acclaimed author of Imaginary Cities, chosen as a Book of the Year in The Guardian, (“dizzying and brilliant”), New Scientist, Irish Times, Financial Times and others, as well as the memoir Inventory. He has written on urbanism for a variety of publications including The Atlantic, The Guardian, Architectural Review, Frieze, Disegno and Wired, among others, and lectured at the Venice Biennale, the V&A, the Bartlett, the LSE, and dozens of universities from Amsterdam to Australia. Learn more about his work here:


Suggestions for further reading:

Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino

Wanderlust by Rebecca Solnit

Open City by Teju Cole

London Clay: Journeys In The Deep by Tom Chivers

Invisible Planets by Ken Liu

Iconicon by John Grindrod

Islands of Abandonment by Cal Flynn

Curiocity: An Alternative A-Z of London by Henry Eliot

Mudlarking by Lara Maiklem

Imaginary Cities by Darran Anderson: please note this book is currently out of stock though there are a small number of copies available from online sellers.