Makeshift Metropolis: Ideas About Cities (Paperback)

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In this new work, prizewinning author, professor, and Slate architecture critic Witold Rybczynski returns to the territory he knows best: writing about the way people live, just as he did in the acclaimed bestsellers Home, A Clearing in the Distance, and Now I Sit Me Down. In Makeshift Metropolis, Rybczynski has drawn upon a lifetime of observing cities to craft a concise and insightful book that is at once an intellectual history and a masterful critique.

Makeshift Metropolis describes how current ideas about urban planning evolved from the movements that defined the twentieth century, such as City Beautiful, the Garden City, and the seminal ideas of Frank Lloyd Wright and Jane Jacobs. If the twentieth century was the age of planning, we now find ourselves in the age of the market, Rybczynski argues, where entrepreneurial developers are shaping the twenty-first-century city with mixed-use developments, downtown living, heterogeneity, density, and liveliness. He introduces readers to projects like Brooklyn Bridge Park, the Yards in Washington, D.C., and, further afield, to the new city of Modi’in, Israel—sites that, in this age of resource scarcity, economic turmoil, and changing human demands, challenge our notion of the city.

Erudite and immensely engaging, Makeshift Metropolis is an affirmation of Rybczynski’s role as one of our most original thinkers on the way we live today.

About the Author

Witold Rybczynski has written about architecture and urbanism for The New York Times, Time, The Atlantic, and The New Yorker. He is the author of the critically acclaimed book Home and the award-winning A Clearing in the Distance, as well as The Biography of a Building, The Mysteries of the Mall, and Now I Sit Me Down. The recipient of the National Building Museum’s 2007 Vincent Scully Prize, he lives with his wife in Philadelphia, where he is emeritus professor of architecture at the University of Pennsylvania. 

Praise For…

“Impressive… [Rybczynski] writes with disarming ease… Our finest architecture critic.”—Francis Morrone, Wall Street Journal

Makeshift Metropolis is a deceptively slender distillation of some of the best thinking of one of the best thinkers about cities and urban planning. It’s a terrific meditation on the past, present, and future of cities—a critical subject now that human life, increasingly, is urban life.”—David Owen, author of Green Metropolis

“Rybczynski offers a glimpse of an urban future that might very well serve as a template for cities around the world… Instructive and always engaging… He not only writes about what people want from their cities, he inspires the reader to imagine the possibilities.”—Publishers Weekly

"Makeshift Metropolis is a wonderful book. It shows us how cities have been shaped by an unplanned dance between urban planners and the demands of ordinary consumers. Rybczynski is the ideal expositor of urban design, blessed with an abundance of inside knowledge."--Edward Glaeser, Fred and Eleanor Glimp Professor of Economics, Department of Economics, Harvard University

Product Details
ISBN: 9781416561262
ISBN-10: 1416561269
Publisher: Scribner
Publication Date: September 2nd, 2011
Pages: 256
Language: English