The City: A Global History

Front Cover
Random House LLC, 2006 - History - 218 pages
27 Reviews
If humankind can be said to have a single greatest creation, it would be those places that represent the most eloquent expression of our species’s ingenuity, beliefs, and ideals: the city. In this authoritative and engagingly written account, the acclaimed urbanist and bestselling author examines the evolution of urban life over the millennia and, in doing so, attempts to answer the age-old question: What makes a city great?

Despite their infinite variety, all cities essentially serve three purposes: spiritual, political, and economic. Kotkin follows the progression of the city from the early religious centers of Mesopotamia, the Indus Valley, and China to the imperial centers of the Classical era, through the rise of the Islamic city and the European commercial capitals, ending with today’s post-industrial suburban metropolis.

Despite widespread optimistic claims that cities are “back in style,” Kotkin warns that whatever their form, cities can thrive only if they remain sacred, safe, and busy–and this is true for both the increasingly urbanized developing world and the often self-possessed “global cities” of the West and East Asia.

Looking at cities in the twenty-first century, Kotkin discusses the effects of developments such as shifting demographics and emerging technologies. He also considers the effects of terrorism–how the religious and cultural struggles of the present pose the greatest challenge to the urban future.

Truly global in scope, The City is a timely narrative that will place Kotkin in the company of Lewis Mumford, Jane Jacobs, and other preeminent urban scholars.


From the Hardcover edition.
  

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Review: The City: A Global History (Modern Library Chronicles #21)

User Review  - Mckinley - Goodreads

Basically descriptions of one city after another. A bit dry. Intro and conclusions more interesting. Premise is that a city's longevity rest of 3 things: scurity (safety), commerce (leading to better living) and sacredness. Not sure he proves these by the end. Read full review

Review: The City: A Global History (Modern Library Chronicles #21)

User Review  - GoodReadsAccount - Goodreads

This book's brevity and specificity is part of what made it so good. Rather than attempting to follow all of humanity's social engineering towards urban life, it follows particular cities and types of ... Read full review

Contents

S tRrD QRIGINS
3
Hr FIRST COMM RIl l I PT s
13
Rosu lus FIRST MEG CIlY
27
THE Ec us1 or THE CLASSICAL Inw
35
OIPORlUNllY LOST
58
I Rl llli
116
CHAIlIR IOURlElIZ THE SEARCH I0R A BIillliR Qll lll
137
NOTES
161
INDEX 207
206
THE ORIENTAL EPOCH
209
Copyright

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About the author (2006)

Joel Kotkin is an Irvine senior fellow with the New America Foundation, which is based in Washington, D.C. He is the author of five books, including Tribes and The New Geography, both published by Random House. Kotkin is a frequent contributor to The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Inc. magazine, The American Enterprise, and the Los Aneles Times “Opinion” section. He also serves as a senior fellow of the Newman Institute at Baruch College of the City University of New York and lectures at the Southern California Institute of Architecture. He lives in Valley Village, Los Angeles, with his wife, Mandy, and two daughters, Ariel and Hannah.


From the Hardcover edition.

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