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Concrete Reveries: Consciousness and the City

3.56 of 5 stars 3.56  ·  rating details  ·  39 ratings  ·  6 reviews
An exploration of urbanism, personal identity, and how the space we live in shapes us

According to philosopher and cultural critic Mark Kingwell, the transnational global city—New York and Shanghai—is the most significant machine our species has ever produced. And yet, he says, we fail again and again to understand it. How do cities shape us, and how do we shape them? That
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Hardcover, 256 pages
Published August 14th 2008 by Viking Adult (first published 2008)
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Kristine Morris
I was inspired to read Concrete Reveries after seeing Mark Kingwell interviewed on TVO’s The Agenda. He talked about concepts that I am interested in knowing more about –how individuals experience space in the build environment or urban setting. Kingwell approaches these concepts from a philosophical level. In the introduction, he writes that unless you have a learned background in philosophy you will have difficulty with some of the concepts. He’s not exaggerating. I have never studied philosop ...more
Catherine
It's the kind of book that makes me want to get back into the study of philosophy. Kingwell covers all sorts of territory that is relevant to contemporary existence, always circling back to notions of the city and what it means to live in one. Non-philosophy types will prefer the two chapters providing portraits of cities (New York and Shanghai), but there are just so many cool ideas in here. I also really appreciate that Kingwell took the time to write a "Bibliographic Essay" rather than just p ...more
Eric
Maybe I expected too much of Concrete Reveries. It has several interesting passages such as, ways of walking in New York City and the hyperthyroid architecture of Shanghai. Kingwell also offers good descriptions of how human consciousness is necessarily embodied, not purely abstract and how our focus on private consumption of goods affects urban public spaces. I liked the direction the author was going, but I didn't feel like I'd gone anywhere new.
Matthew
It is hard to know what to make of this exactly. I am slowly coming around to a more open expression of urban cultural theory. Kingwell certainly has alot to say on the matter and I found it clearly explicated but it is hard to say in any shorter way what exactly was on offer. How would one summarize Whitman or Heidegger? Perhaps as I accumulate more I will be able to differentiate and clarify a bit.
Paddy
Too abstract for me.
Ellen
Nov 19, 2008 Ellen added it
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Mark Gerald Kingwell B.A, M.Litt, M.Phil, PhD, D.F.A. (born March 1, 1963) is a Canadian philosopher who is currently professor of philosophy and associate chair at the University of Toronto's Department of Philosophy. Kingwell is a fellow of Trinity College and a Senior Fellow of Massey College. He specialises in theories of politics and culture.

Kingwell has published twelve different books, most
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