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City on a Hill: Urban Idealism in America from the Puritans to the Present

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  25 ratings  ·  7 reviews
A sweeping history of American cities and towns, and the utopian aspirations that shaped them, by one of America's leading urban planners and scholars.

The first European settlers saw America as a paradise regained. The continent seemed to offer a God-given opportunity to start again and build the perfect community. Those messianic days are gone. But as Alex Krieger argues
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Hardcover, 464 pages
Published October 29th 2019 by Belknap Press
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Jared
Sep 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
An excellent introduction to American city development and ideology. Would recommend to anyone interested in understanding the forms of America better.
David
Dec 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I don't often get hooked on non-fiction books, but I found this one difficult to put down. It takes you on a journey through various parts of the U.S.'s history and around the country, really print into context a lot of the problems that urban planning faces today.
Katie
Feb 11, 2020 rated it liked it
This is a good, crisp, single volume that encapsulates a lot of other books, so for that reason it's a good one to have around for reference, or a good book to get started on urbanism or to teach from. But it also loses the thread of utopianism and sometimes reads a little more like an overview or historiographical essay than something making its own assertion or prescriptions for the future.
Bart Bickel
Apr 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
Let's get back to building beautiful, healthful and inspiring places America!
Kristin
Jan 24, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: smartypants
Started out painfully slow, but around chapter 5 or 6 it picked up and got interesting. Probably only of interest to planners or urbanists.
Jaclyn
Jun 27, 2020 rated it liked it
I learned many things (including the egregious reminder that The Woodlands is owned by the Howard Hughes Corporation) and found Krieger's writing very conversational. It aided the flow of each chapter / vignette. I sort of don't care about the thesis or whether each chapter advanced the argument, but it was an enjoyable read while sitting outside on my front stairs.
Alice
Jan 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
When Alex Krieger (full disclosure, I’ve been his student) talks about the book, he mentions that it has the wrong title but that he didn’t pick it. It’s true. This book is not about Boston (dubbed “a city upon a hill” by its founder John Winthrop) and for most of the book, it’s hardly about cities at all.

This is a book about successive waves of Americans believing that if they wanted a better life, a better society, something even mildly utopic, then they had to build a place from scratch, mak
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Alex Krieger is Professor in Practice of Urban Design at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, where he has been honored repeatedly as one of Harvard’s most outstanding teachers. Krieger is coeditor of Mapping Boston and Towns and Town-Making Principles and coauthor of A Design Primer for Cities and Towns. He is also a Principal at NBBJ, a global firm offering services in architecture, urban desi ...more

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