The City: A Global History

Front Cover
Modern Library, 2005 - Social Science - 218 pages
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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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - kimberwolf - LibraryThing

Very informative history of The City, from the first recorded city of Ur through the cities of each developing country on each continent, and spreading to America -- NY, Detroit, Chicago, etc. Ended ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - gregorybrown - LibraryThing

Pretty good, but not about cities in the way you'd imagine. Instead of looking at the nitty gritty of cities, Kotkin instead takes a historical overview, looking at the macro factors that have caused ... Read full review

Contents

CITIES OF THE MIDDLE KINGDOM 5
5
PROJECTIONS of PowerTHE RISE
9
THE GREEK ACHIEVEMENT 9
27
THE ECLiPSE of THE CLASSICAL CITY
35
PART THREE
41
PART FOUR
63
PART FIVE
83
PART
109
THE SEARCH for A BETTER CITY
181
QUEENs of THE FURTHER EAST
189
SUGGESTED READING 99
199
INDEx
207
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About the author (2005)

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, includingTribes and The New Geography, both published by Random House. Kotkin is a frequent contributor toThe 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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