`An ambitious study of the forms and ideas of the contemporary city.' -- New York Times `An excellent and novel exploration of key ideas behind city spaces ... Mr Graham is as masterly as a novelist ... He contends that the seven ideas that he considers are ones that "shape the world" ... with a continuing influence on the way our cities look and function today. Urban life may occasionally appear to be chaotic, but it in fact possesses an order that a thoughtful man like Mr Graham can see.' -- Wall Street Journal
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.