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Why cities look the way they do

Author: Richard J Williams
Publisher: Cambridge, UK ; Medford, MA, USA : Polity Press, 2019.
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
When we think about how cities look, we tend to focus on architecture and design. But the character of a city is not just the result of planners and designers: it is also the result of the many ways in which people use, appropriate and repurpose its spaces in the everyday life of the city. The city is not built; it is lived. Architectural criticism invariably stops at the moment construction is completed. Richard  Read more...
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Additional Physical Format: Online version:
Williams, Richard J., 1967-
Why cities look the way they do.
Cambridge, UK ; Medford, MA, USA : Polity Press, [2019]
(DLC) 2018060070
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Richard J Williams
ISBN: 9780745691800 0745691803 9780745691817 0745691811
OCLC Number: 1057629012
Description: xix, 224 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm
Contents: Money --
Power --
Sex --
Work --
War --
Culture.
Responsibility: Richard J. Williams.

Abstract:

When we think about how cities look, we tend to focus on architecture and design. But the character of a city is not just the result of planners and designers: it is also the result of the many ways in which people use, appropriate and repurpose its spaces in the everyday life of the city. The city is not built; it is lived. Architectural criticism invariably stops at the moment construction is completed. Richard Williams instead takes that moment not as the end but the beginning, tracing the social and cultural processes that produce the look of contemporary global cities. It is the story of how financial capital spawns empty towering skyscrapers and hollowed-out ghettoes; how the zoning of once-illicit sexual practices in marginal areas of the city result in the reinvention of culturally vibrant gay villages; how abandoned factories are repurposed as creative hubs in an increasingly precarious post-industrial economy. It is also a story of how popular urban clichés and the portrayal of cities in films and other media powerfully shape how we read and see the bricks, concrete and glass that surround us. Thought-provoking and original, this book will appeal to anyone interested in urban spaces and will shed new light on one of humanity's greatest collective inventions.

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"Fascinating."The Guardian "Williams is an affable guide, breezy and smart. And brave. 'I hate Venice, ' he declares in the first sentence." The Spectator'Why Cities Look the Way They Do is a great Read more...

 
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