"Riots always happen when cities consider themselves to be at a high point in terms of their urban development," says Dutch architectural historian Wouter Vanstiphout, speaking to me from his home in Rotterdam. "We've studied riots in every decade since the 1960s, and every time you can see that the officials of the city felt that on a planning level they were doing the most fantastic things."
Vanstiphout is the Netherlands' first professor of architecture and politics, and has been studying the history of riots, and how they relate to the cities they take place in, for years. The events of last week in London are another grim chapter in a history that bodes ill for the development of the city in the future. (...)