marycatelli (marycatelli) wrote,

City Life

City Life by Witold Rybczynski

Being a look at the history of how American cities came to be built the way they are -- unlike European ones.

It touches on everything from the three basic ways of laying out a city -- cosmic, where the structure is thought to mirror the universe in some way, and where you are bound to put important things on hills even if you build the hills as well as the structure; practical, with a neat grid pattern (though the intrusion of existing geography can often make it look less neat); and organic, where the streets are narrow and winding because they weren't planned, they just grew -- to the rise of shopping malls in modern America.

In between it discusses the impact of streets, why the parks in American cities are so much larger, the effect of the car, the history of the garden suburb, the importance of the elevator, and much more.
Tags: history reviews: across eras, world-building: buildings

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