City: A Guidebook for the Urban Age

By P D Smith

For the first time in the history of our planet, more than half the population-3.3 billion people-is now living in cities. "City" is the ultimate guidebook to our urban centers-the signature unit of human civilization. With erudite prose and carefully chosen illustrations, this unique work of metatourism explores what cities are and how they work. It covers history, customs and language, districts, transport, money, work, shops and markets, and tourist sites, creating a fantastically detailed portrait of the city through history and into the future.

The urban explorer will revel in essays on downtowns, suburbs, shantytowns and favelas, graffiti, skylines, crime, the theater, street food, sport, eco-cities, and sacred sites, as well as mini essays on the Tower of Babel, flash mobs, ghettos, skateboarding, and SimCity, among many others. Drawing on a vast range of examples from across the world and throughout history, "City "is extensively illustrated with full-color photographs, maps, and other images. Acclaimed author and independent scholar P. D. Smith explores what it was like to live in the first cities, how they have evolved, and why in the future, cities will play an even greater role in human life.

"Half a century ago, Lewis Mumford published "The City in History," a hugely influential and in some ways controversial book that has been the Bible for students and lovers of city life. But that was half a century ago, and around the world the cityscape has undergone enormous changes. A new look at this great subject has for some time been needed, and in "City: A Guidebook for the Urban Age," P.D. Smith provides it. A British scholar connected to University College London, Smith is less philosophical and more empirical than Mumford, but if anything this is welcome, as "City" is wholly accessible to the serious general reader."--Jonathan Yardley, "Washington Post

""[A] richly packed, colourful and well-written primer on the role the city plays in our lives."--"Guardian" (UK)

"It's a wonderful book: BldgBlog meets Italo Calvino. Gorgeous, smart, fun, and full of surprises, like wandering all the world's great cities at once ... Irresistible"--David Dobbs,

"The a rich kaleidoscope celebrating urban life in all its aspects ... consistently well-written and researched - and impressively eclectic ... a hugely enjoyable read and an inspiring vision to aim for."--"The Spectator" (UK)"The result is a sort of high-quality, unusually rigorous coffee-table book, designed to be dipped into rather than read from beginning to end ... Mr. Smith's book serves as an excellent introduction to a vast subject."--"Economist"

"Smith is an engaging and curious docent to the museum of urban history"--"Irish Times"

"An energetic tribute to the city""--Icon

""Smith is especially adept at capturing the incessant human interaction which characterizes city life, from carnivals to street demonstrations and graffiti. Readers can virtually smell the pho sold by a street vendor in Hanoi, or marvel at acrobatics of skateboarders along the Thames. An absorbing and timely book."--"The Plain Dealer

""Impressively comprehensive...Smith's book is a fascinating l


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About the Hardcover

Publisher Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Publish date 06/19/2012
Pages 383
ISBN-13 9781608196760
ISBN-10 1608196763
Language English