Imaginary Cities: A Tour of Dream Cities, Nightmare Cities, and Everywhere in Between

Imaginary Cities: A Tour of Dream Cities, Nightmare Cities, and Everywhere in Between Author Darran Anderson
ISBN-10 022647030X
ISBN-13 9780226470306
Year 2017-04-06
Pages 576
Language English
Publisher University Of Chicago Press
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For as long as humans have gathered in cities those cities have had their shiningor shadowycounterparts Imaginary cities potential cities future cities perfect cities It is as if the city itself its inescapable gritty reality and elbow to elbow nature demands we call into being some alternative yearned for better place This book is about those cities Its neither a history of grand plans nor a literary exploration of the utopian impulse but rather something different hybrid idiosyncratic Its a magpies book full of characters and incidents and ideas drawn from cities real and imagined around the globe and throughout history Thomas Mores allegorical island shares space with Soviet mega planning Marco Polo links up with James Joyces meticulously imagined Dublin the medieval land of Cockaigne meets the hopeful future of Star Trek With Darran Anderson as our guide we find common themes and recurring dreams tied to the seemingly ineluctable problems of our actual cities of poverty and exclusion and waste and destruction And thats where Imaginary Cities becomes more than a mereif ecstatically entertainingintellectual exercise for as Anderson says If a city can be imagined into being it can be re imagined Every architect philosopher artist writer planner or citizen who dreams up an imaginary city offers lessons for our real ones harnessing those flights of hopeful fancy can help us improve the streets where we live Though it shares DNA with books as disparate as Calvinos Invisible Cities and Jane Jacobss Death and Life of Great American Cities theres no other book quite like Imaginary Cities After reading it youll walk the streets of your cityreal or imaginedwith fresh eyes

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