Variations on a Theme Park: The New American City and the End of Public Space

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Macmillan, 1992 - Architecture - 252 pages
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America's cities are being rapidly transformed by a sinister and homogenous design. A new Kind of urbanism--manipulative, dispersed, and hostile to traditional public space--is emerging both at the heart and at the edge of town in megamalls, corporate enclaves, gentrified zones, and psuedo-historic marketplaces. If anything can be described as a paradigm for these places, it's the theme park, an apparently benign environment in which all is structured to achieve maximum control and in which the idea of authentic interaction among citizens has been thoroughly purged. In this bold collection, eight of our leading urbanists and architectural critics explore the emblematic sites of this new cityscape--from Silicon Valley to Epcot Center, South Street Seaport to downtown Los Angeles--and reveal their disturbing implications for American public life.


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VARIATIONS ON A THEME PARK: The New American City and the End of Public Space

User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

What's in store for American cities? The eight authors of the essays written for this powerful cautionary volume have seen the future—and it's worse than you think. According to project-leader Sorkin ... Read full review

Variations on a theme park: the new american city and the end of public space

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

This book offers eight leading architectural critics' views of the sameness that invades our public architecture and public space. Whether we live in California or Boston, shopping malls, office ... Read full review


The World in a Shopping Mall
Silicon Valley Mystery House
The Lower East Side
Scenes from Orange County
Building the Analogous City
The Militarization
Merchandising History
See You in Disneyland
The Contributors

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About the author (1992)

Michael Sorkin, an architect and writer, teaches at Cooper Union and Yale, and is the author of The Exquisite Corpse. For ten years, he was the archtecture critic of The Village Voice.

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