Lifehouse: Taking Care of Ourselves in a World on Fire

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Verso Books, Jul 9, 2024 - Social Science - 272 pages
A manifesto and guide for building mutual aid groups and reclaiming power in a time of perpetual crisis

We are living through a Long Emergency: a near-continuous train of pandemics, heatwaves, droughts, resource wars and other climate-driven disasters. In Lifehouse, Adam Greenfield asks what might happen if the tactics and networks of care that spring up in response to these times might be brought together in a single, coherent way of life?

Using examples from the Black Panthers’ “survival programs,” the astonishingly effective Occupy Sandy disaster-relief effort and the neighborhood-based mutual aid groups that sustained many during COVID lockdowns to the large-scale, self-organised polities of municipalist Spain and Kurdish Rojava, Greenfield argues for rethinking local power as a bulwark against despair — a way to discover and develop the individual and collective capacities that have gone underutilized during all the long years of late capitalism, and a means for thriving in the face of impending catastrophe.

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About the author (2024)

Adam Greenfield has spent the past quarter-century thinking and working at the place where technology, design and politics intersect with everyday urban life. Formerly Senior Urban Fellow at the LSE Cities research center of the London School of Economics, and an instructor in urban design at both New York University and the Bartlett, University College London, his books include the best-selling Radical Technologies: The Design of Everyday Life (2017), Against the Smart City (2013) and Everyware: The Dawning Age of Ubiquitous Computing (2006).

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