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Cities in Civilization
Ranging over 2,500 years, Cities in Civilization is a tribute to the city as the birthplace of Western civilization. Drawing on the contributions of economists and geographers, of cultural, technological, and social historians, Sir Peter Hall examines twenty-one cities at their greatest moments. Hall describes the achievements of these golden ages and outlines the precise ...more
Hardcover, 1184 pages
Published November 17th 1998 by Pantheon
(first published November 9th 1998)
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A big book, but one that I found engaging. Sir Hall takes us on a journey through numerous world cities at the height of their importance in relation to world development (and a couple, like Elizabethain London and later World Financial Capital London, get two essays). A good, comprehensive - for essays anyway - overview of how these cities arrived at their particular golden ages, and how they faltered thereafter. Everything from Ancient Athens to 1950s Memphis and the Mississippi Delta (for the ...more
Very uneven. Early chapters focused on so-called "golden ages." (Elizabethan London, Renaissance Florence) Later chapters served as illustrations for developmental paths. (New York subways, Los Angeles highways) The last two chapters on modern cities, while interesting, seem to be more issue related. (Stockholm public housing, London Docklands)
Hall looks at cities from each of four perspectives: cultural crucibles; innovative milieu; a combination of art and technology; and establishing urban order and under each of these headings, profiles a number of cities for period when their flourishing from the perspective in question was at its greatest. So, for example, Athens between 500 and 400 BCE and Vienna between 1780 and 1910 are discussed for encouraging cultural flowering, Manchester and Berlin for being centres of technological inno ...more