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Dream Cities: Seven Urban Ideas That Shape the World by [Graham, Wade]
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Dream Cities: Seven Urban Ideas That Shape the World Kindle Edition

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Length: 336 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
Page Flip: Enabled Language: English

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Product description

Product Description

Dream Cities is a lively, unique and accessible cultural history of modern cities which allows us to view them through the planning, design, architects and movements that inspired and built them. It explores our urban areas in a new way – as expressions of ideas, often conflicting, about how we should live, work, play, make, buy and think – and tells the stories of the people who imagined the cities that became the blueprints for the world we live in.

Starting in the nineteenth century and continuing to today, what began as visionary concepts – sometimes utopian, sometimes outlandish, always controversial – were gradually adopted and constructed on a massive scale in cities around the world, from Dubai to Ulan Bator, London to Los Angeles. Our leafy suburbs, city skyscraper districts, infotainment-driven shopping malls and ‘sustainable’ eco-developments are seen here as never before, from the fantasy villages of Bertram Goodhue to the superblocks of Le Corbusier and Frank Lloyd Wright’s Broadacre City.

In this elegantly designed and illustrated book, Graham uncovers the original plans of brilliant, obsessed and sometimes megalomaniacal designers, revealing the foundations of today’s varied urban environment. Dream Cities is nothing less than a field guide to our modern world.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 4736 KB
  • Print Length: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Amberley Publishing (19 May 2016)
  • Sold by: Amazon Australia Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #353,076 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program) 4.3 out of 5 stars 8 reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So many books of this type get lost in boring and academic prose 3 February 2016
By Michael Falk - Published on
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I just devoured this book. I read a lot of books on history and architecture and I must say this one really stands out for a couple of reasons. First, it is just plain well written. So many books of this type get lost in boring and academic prose. It is the opposite of a tome – just a nicely proportioned book that is easy to dig into. Second, it is well documented and researched without bogging down in references. (I like the use of end notes rather than footnotes.) Obviously we turn to a book like this with the expectation that the topics are well researched and no fancy writing can substitute for that. Finally, it is fun to apply the concepts outlined in the book to the place where you grew up, where you live now or where you are visiting. I have had the book sitting on my desk at work and everyone who asks me about it seems genuinely taken with the premise.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating look at features of urbanism... 15 February 2016
By Jill Meyer - Published on
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"Dream Cities: Seven Urban Ideas That Shape The World", by Wade Graham, is a dream book for armchair urbanists. The book is not long, but Graham covers the seven architectural concepts that he claims have influenced the development of cities over the years. His seven, "Castles", "Monuments", "Slabs", "Homesteads", "Corals", "Malls", and "Habitats" , are fleshed out by giving the prime architects who either conceived the ideas or were leading practitioners of them.

Let's take "Slabs". These are those rows of tall buildings designed to house people on masse. Think Robert Moses - city planner of New York City - who proposed these buildings as both offices and apartments. As Wade Graham writes, "Building slabs has been a collective exercise, or at least a widespread one...Many tens of thousands of different agents - architects, planners, developers, governments - have built them to supply new housing for growing populations, and to accommodate new modes of transportation, especially cars. In this sense, slabs were a "rational" choice made by many people in many places, in response to actual modern conditions". The reader might ask, "what WERE these conditions that required these soulless pieces of concrete?

Well, in the 1930's and on, when Robert Moses was charged with modernising the city of New York and the boroughs, he proposed these building to house the growing population. They were to house people whose neighborhoods had been destroyed by both urban blight and the roads and highways Moses was proposing to slash though the city. Graham writes about how many of Moses' plans were never built - the LOMEX through lower Manhattan, for instance - many in response to community protests at the destruction of their settled neighborhoods. Jane Jacobs - author of "The Death and Life of Great American Cities" - was a foremost opponent of Moses' lofty plans. In the relatively short chapter on "Slabs", Wade Graham goes into detail about slabs, Robert Moses, and Swiss architect Le Corbusier.

Now, maybe you're not interested in "Slabs"; there are plenty of other sections in Graham's book to curl up with. His book is wonderful, because it is a book that spurs the reader on to investigate further. Reading the book on an Ipad is perfect because I can flip to Wiki to look up a term or person I was unfamiliar with. Graham also gives pictures and a lexicon at the end of each chapter. I really did love this book and all I learned from it.
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting perspective on architecture 30 June 2016
By Jeri L. Miller - Published on
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Fascinating book, very well written, clever and insightful review of seven different architectural concepts, complete with photos.
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars 9 December 2016
By LRS - Published on
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Received the book and holding for Christmas.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I found more focused books more satisfying 13 July 2016
By algo41 - Published on
It is not clear what Graham was attempting. In the intro he says the book is intended to provide the reader with a “field guide” to the architecture around him/her, but also to narrate the dreams and intentions behind the modern city, and in doing the latter there is significant discussion of projects never built. I found more focused books more satisfying: Jane Jacobs, “The Death and Life of Great American Cities”, and William H. Whyte, “City: Rediscovering the Center”. In some chapters Graham devotes much space to professional biographies (cf. “Monuments”), and in other, more satisfying chapters he concentrates on architectural ideas (cf. “Corals”). Graham has done much research, but in some chapters the enumeration of architects gets tedious.

The best aspect of this book is the chapter ending summaries and photographs; because of limitations of weight and production expense the photographs are best used as a guide to what to look up in Google images. In retrospect I am sorry I did not try reading each summary before the chapter. It was often difficult for Graham to provide unity to everything covered in the chapter, but this is made clear in a reading of the summary, and reflects the diversity of architecture.

A remarkable statistic (p.222): “The time shoppers spent in malls declined by half from 1980 to 1990”. Is that per capita, per visit? I assume the former, but regardless this was before Amazon.

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