Security practices stand in complex relations with democratic politics – and defy easy representation. How can (in)security be visualized? This selection of photos taken on fieldwork highlights select aspects of urban security production, as engaged by very diverse state and non-state actors.

Marrakech: The Moroccan city is secured by different strategies, ranging from high-tech governmental surveillance along New Town avenues, and strong police presence in public space to low-tech and plain cloth security personnel in the Médina. The images shown were taken during fieldwork in late 2016-early 2017.

Kathmandu: The sprawling Nepali capital faces tremendous challenges in terms of water and electricity supply, structural building resilience and road security. It also features a poorly equipped and trained security apparatus, defunct security technologies, and an ineffective and highly politicized public administration. The photos and interviews were recorded in fall 2017.

Cape Flats: Southeast of Cape Town’s central business district, Apartheid-era townships house hundred of thousands urban dwellers. The poverty stricken communities live with poor access to basic infrastructures – water, electricity, transportation, education, health -, and struggle with pervasive gang violence. Photos taken during ETH Zürich Winter School in early 2018.

Montevideo: In the capital of Uruguay, crime and homicide rates are rapidly increasing and private security solutions abound. A strong sentiment of personal insecurity developed among the citizenry in recent years, and also political debates became highly polarized. In the meantime, profound police and justice reforms created a considerably more sophisticated, accountable and technology-oriented public security system. Pictures taken in late 2018.