Customer Review

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars thought provoking, 31 Oct. 2010
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This review is from: The Endless City (Paperback)
This is a paperback reprint of the hardback published in 2007. Based on an extensive series of events, it focuses on six cities to discuss urbanism in the 21st century.

Phaidon have done a superb job with this book, it is printed on good quality paperstock, I only spotted a couple of minor typos, the book is easy to read, no jarring changes of style or terminology, the use of photos and graphics to support the underlying points is exemplary. All in all, this is a very classy book that is worth paying for.

There are a couple of minus points, whenever I buy a large book from Amazon these days it always arrives a bit battered, the book still talks about Ken Livingstone as London mayor and the forthcoming Beijing Olympics, and predates the current credit crunch. It does stick to a single narrative about cities, the long term sustainability of cities is not really covered, while environmentalism feels a bit tagged on and out of date. It does not really touch on failed cities, like Detroit. The contributions by Rem Koolhas and Herzog and de Meuron are interesting, but very short, not enough to justify a purchase.

Similarly it is not really a book about Coventry or Dagenham, this is about the real big cities, cities that dominate a continent. The thesis being that in the 21st century the major actors will not be people, but cities, and if you can get the city right, then everything else will follow.

There are probably better introductions to urbanism, The City Reader (Routledge Urban Reader) (Routledge Urban Reader Series) and of course Death and Life of Great American Cities (Modern Library) that provide a more rounded view of the topic. However I have scarcely been able to put this book down since I got it. It is consistently thought provoking, even when I don't agree with it, alarming at times, this book may not be right, but it asks a lot of the right questions.

I am looking forward to the next title, Living in the Endless City though I might just order it direct from Phaidon and hope that I don't get a battered copy.
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