The Conscience of the Eye: The Design and Social Life of Cities
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The Conscience of the Eye: The Design and Social Life of Cities

3.92 of 5 stars 3.92  ·  rating details  ·  59 ratings  ·  4 reviews
From the assembly halls of Athens to the Turkish baths of New York's Lower East Side, from eighteenth-century English gardens to the housing projects of Harlem—a study of the physical fabric of the city as a mirror of Western society and culture.
Paperback, 288 pages
Published August 17th 1992 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published 1990)
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I wish I'd written this immediately after I finished this instead of a couple weeks later, because this book is thick with abstract theory. The thesis, in essence, is that aesthetics of a city matter and speak to its vitality. Bullet points in lieu of transitions:

-The grid pattern of streets favored in the Midwest is a tyrannical form of city planning that holds no respect to natural landscape. "Our vision of the city will go wherever we please!" I grew up and lived in a series of gridded street...more
Sennett conveys through the medium of city planning and architecture compelling evidence of how our deepest attitudes are conditioned by patterns. In analytical psychology there is a parallel of this structure which is evidenced by patterns in mythology and stories. In history and art similarly, the patterns of golden age, bronze, iron and decay reveal fundamental patterns.

What this book has to offer is a keen insight into fundamental structures of cognition and perception that escape ordinary a...more
I enjoyed this so much, I decided to read it again...a few years later (and a few years ago). Sennett presents a amazingly tactile reading of "The City" based on numerous social, architectural, and spatial aspects. His writing is very nuanced in this regard - especially where he outlines his long walk through the island, showing off his "city reading" skills as my friend Sean would have it. Highly recommend!
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Richard Sennett has explored how individuals and groups make social and cultural sense of material facts -- about the cities in which they live and about the labour they do. He focuses on how people can become competent interpreters of their own experience, despite the obstacles society may put in their way. His research entails ethnography, history, and social theory. As a social analyst, Mr. Sen...more
More about Richard Sennett...
The Craftsman The Corrosion of Character: The Personal Consequences of Work in the New Capitalism The Fall of Public Man The Culture of the New Capitalism Flesh and Stone: The Body and the City in Western Civilization

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