Monday, August 24, 2009

the city shaped, the city assembled (books #10)

The City Shaped:Urban Patterns and Meanings Through History
The City Assembled: The Elements of Urban Form through History.

Urban design theory through urban history

For a guy like me who is allergic to structured theories of urban design where for most of the time we try to understand our cities through dissecting the city into nodes, paths and landmarks etc. these two books are like manna from heaven.

True that there is also structured segmentation of the urbanity within these two books, but it is used as a means of organizing the books rather than an end by itself. These two books are definitely not about sorting and re-sorting of city elements and sifting through the leftovers. They are about how cities are ‘formed’ and ‘shaped’ throughout the history. While bulk of the discussion is based around examples from the western hemisphere it is no coincidence that the author has also brought in to his argument examples from the east such as Beijing and some cities of India.

Anybody who is worth his urban design salt, if not read; at least should have look at these two books. But be warned, both these two books could be hard reading at the beginning.

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