Mutations Paperback – 15 Mar 2001
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The acceleration of the phenomenon of urbanization constitutes one of the challenges of our time. In a world redefined by communication networks and by the progressive erasure of borders lead by economic forces, "Mutations" reflects on the transformations that the acceleration of these processes inflicts on our environment, and on the space left for architecture to operate. Introduced by charts and statistics on global urbanization and a series of essays describing the nature of the changes operating in our cities and in our economies, the book is organized as a highly illustrated atlas/survey of contemporary urban landscapes. The Pearl River Delta in southeast Asia (by Rem Koolhaas and the Harvard Project on the City) exemplifies the extreme speed of urbanization of former rural areas and highlights the role played by traditional infrastructures in this process. Europe (Uncertain States of Europe, a project by Stefano Boeri and Multiplicity) would describe the end of traditional urban models, the reality of a new configuration of European cities and of the states that evolved from them.A survey of American cities (by Sanford Kwinter and Daniela Fabricius) adds to this vision the reconsideration of the notion of infrastructure and of the powers that define urbanization. Lagos (a study by Rem Koolhaas and the Harvard Project on the City) is an unfamiliar territory that gives indications of new forms of globalizing modernity, and possibly of things to come elsewhere. This title is also available in French (ISBN 84-95273-53-5) and Spanish (84-95273-54-3).
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The Pearl River Delta investigation is impecable. For the "reasonably intelligent person" that wrote a comment above, it is a shame that you overlooked the whole analysis on shopping, perhaps because you are so immersed in it in the USA that you cannot see the forest for the trees.
I agree that the language is dense and often martian-like. This is the case of the introductory essay "Telegram from nowhere". But read between the lines. Reading is re-reading said Joyce. You will find a very smart concept regarding the architecture built for the media.
This book is all about cities in different parts in the world. It helps a lot if you are a culturally aware person. If you have had contact with diverse forms of living and thinking, may I highly suggest you get hold of this book. If you are not, you may either feel that the text is just wobbling on things you cannot be empathic with, or you may be on your way to becoming a more educated human being. And do not think by any means that this is a meek and mild pro-globalization text. This book is just rasing questions and proposing concepts, like all masterpiece limit themselves to do.