Wednesday, October 27, 2010

the city

The locals of San Fransisco call their city "the city. We want to keep our city "weird." There is a definite appeal to cities. but problems are created with rapid urbanization, such as health challenges, conflict, development and conservation. The City of Austin is now trying to plan for how Austin should grow, the Imagine Austin survey continues through December 3.

Here are 5 new book recommendations on cities - their meaning, history, and future.

The City and the City by China MiƩville
A police detective is assigned to the murder of a young woman found in a park on the edge of Beszel, an old decaying city, situated in an unspecified area on the southeastern fringes of Europe. But Beszel does not exist alone; it shares much of the same physical space with Ul Qoma. Each city retains a distinct culture and style, and the citizenry of both places has elaborate rules and rituals to avoid the dreaded Breach, which separates the two across space and time. What the two cities share, and what they don't, is the evocative conundrum at the heart of The City & The City, a unique blend of fantasy, social consciousness, and a deep look into the meaning of cities. One staff member had trouble driving while he listened to the cd version.

The Great Cities in History by John Julius Norwich
This fascinating book devotes a few pages, between 2 and 6, to describe the lay-out and history of each of 70 important urban settlements from Antiquity to the 21st century, from Uruck to Shanghai.

Naked city: the Death and Life of Authentic Urban Places by Sharon Zukin
As cities have gentrified, educated urbanites have come to prize what they regard as "authentic" urban life: aging buildings, small boutiques, upscale food markets, neighborhood old-timers, funky ethnic restaurants, and family-owned shops. But the author argues that the emphasis on neighborhood distinctiveness has become a tool of economic elites to drive up real estate values and effectively force out the neighborhood "characters".

The Next Hundred Million: America in 2050 by Joel Kotkin
The United States is growing at a record rate and, according to census projections, will be home to four hundred million Americans by 2050. This projected rise in population is the strongest indicator of our long-term economic strength, Kotkin believes, and will make us more diverse and more competitive than any nation on earth; however, he sees the growth in the suburbs and, increasingly in the Internet-connected world, to small towns and rural areas.

Welcome to the Urban Revolution: How Cities are Changing the World by Jeb Brugman
Urbanist Brugmann draws on two decades of fieldwork and research to show how the city is now a medium for revolutionary change. Cities are becoming laboratories for solving major challenges of the twenty-first century: poverty, inequality, and environmental sustainability.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I listened to an audio book version of The City and the City last month. I enjoyed it very much. I look forward to reading the other titles recommended in this posting.