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Direction of Cities

Guinther, John

13 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0670841986 / ISBN 13: 9780670841981
Published by Viking, Place_Pub: New York, 1996
Condition: very good, very good
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About this Item

320, illus., notes, index, DJ slightly worn, soiled, and sticker residue. Foreword by Edmund N. Bacon. Tracing the growth of America's cities from their beginnings to the present, John Guinther relates historical examples to modern principles of urban planning, illustrating the holistic philosophy of renowned urban planner Edmund Bacon. Illustrated with photographs, drawings and diagrams, Direction of Cities enables readers to appreciate the charm and resplendence of buildings and the cities that encompass them. The author expounds the nature of cities: how they grow, whom they are intended to serve, which forces harm them and which help them develop their true potential. Bookseller Inventory # 53223

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Direction of Cities

Publisher: Viking, Place_Pub: New York

Publication Date: 1996

Book Condition: very good, very good

Edition: First Edition. First Printing.

About this title

Synopsis:

The author of the authoritative urban study book Design of Cities collaborates with architect Edmund Bacon to embark on a thorough discussion of Bacon's holistic urban development philosophy related to the growth of American cities and the evolution of modern architecture. 12,500 first printing.

From Kirkus Reviews:

Much ado about cities, inspired by urban planner Edmund Bacon's uncontestable plea for holistic vision in design--which vision, of a coherent continuum of harmonious buildings and spaces, supplies a governing perspective but not the requisite trajectory. The result is a discursive series of uneven chapters. Guinther is a professional author who switches gears whenever he changes the subject, and his sense of proportion is as variable as his compass is broad. For instance, he sweeps through the major architectural movements of the 20th century, but reviews the PWA, the WPA, and the merits of machine politics intently (observing that, in contrast to welfare, the machine both empowered and valued the poor); and he focuses with tedious parochialism on everything to do with Philadelphia--his hometown and Bacon's too, and so the case-study locus of choice (Philadelphia Housing Association, downtown revitalization, good-enough former mayor Richardson Dilworth). Also singled out are New York (whose Central Park is extolled for recognizing and realizing a populist esthetic imperative and whose evil-empire-builder Robert Moses is vilified), colonial Savannah for its ``rhythmic'' cellular layout, contemporary Milwaukee and Minneapolis for their unifying ``skywalks,'' Chicago for the senior Daley's style of mayoring and for its public housing projects--the horrors of which last are part of a diatribe against failures of urban renewal. Guinther critically surveys program histories (then cynically projects a welfare-recipient network that warns newcomers to cover traces of employed men in the household when the welfare worker arrives). In search, ingenuously, of a ``cohesive approach to the problems presented by poverty,'' he endorses a community-based model admittedly unlikely to attract outside support, claiming that ``the merit of an idea is always more important then any immediate quantification of it.'' Overreaching by a generalist; of spotty appeal, perhaps, to fellow Philadelphians. (photos, not seen; diagrams) -- Copyright ©1996, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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