Why Cities Look the Way They Do, Paperback / softback Book

Why Cities Look the Way They Do Paperback / softback


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 clich s 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.


  • Format: Paperback / softback
  • Pages: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Polity Press
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Politics & government
  • ISBN: 9780745691817

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