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

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Macmillan, Mar 1, 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

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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

Contents

The World in a Shopping Mall
3
Silicon Valley Mystery House
31
The Lower East Side
61
Scenes from Orange County
94
Building the Analogous City
123
The Militarization
154
Merchandising History
181
See You in Disneyland
205
Notes
233
The Contributors
251
Copyright

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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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