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American Urban Form: A Representative History

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American urban form--the spaces, places, and boundaries that define city life--has been evolving since the first settlements of colonial days. The changing patterns of houses, buildings, streets, parks, pipes and wires, wharves, railroads, highways, and airports reflect changing patterns of the social, political, and economic processes that shape the city. In this book, Sa American urban form--the spaces, places, and boundaries that define city life--has been evolving since the first settlements of colonial days. The changing patterns of houses, buildings, streets, parks, pipes and wires, wharves, railroads, highways, and airports reflect changing patterns of the social, political, and economic processes that shape the city. In this book, Sam Bass Warner and Andrew Whittemore map more than three hundred years of the American city through the evolution of urban form. They do this by offering an illustrated history of "the City"--a hypothetical city that exemplifies the American city's transformation from village to merchant seaport, industrial city, multicentered metropolis, and, finally, regional metropolis that participates in both the local and the global. The book thereby offers a yardstick against which readers can measure the history of their city. Warner and Whittemore have constructed their hypothetical City from the histories of Boston, Philadelphia, and New York, focusing on commonalities that make up key patterns in American urban development. In an engaging text accompanied by Whittemore's detailed, meticulous drawings, they chart the City's changing boundaries, densities, building styles, transportation infrastructures, and population patterns. Planning for the future of cities, they remind us, requires an understanding of the forces that shaped the city's past; these are the tools of urban change. The city's protean, ever-changing nature offers each generation a fresh chance to reform (and re-form) it.


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American urban form--the spaces, places, and boundaries that define city life--has been evolving since the first settlements of colonial days. The changing patterns of houses, buildings, streets, parks, pipes and wires, wharves, railroads, highways, and airports reflect changing patterns of the social, political, and economic processes that shape the city. In this book, Sa American urban form--the spaces, places, and boundaries that define city life--has been evolving since the first settlements of colonial days. The changing patterns of houses, buildings, streets, parks, pipes and wires, wharves, railroads, highways, and airports reflect changing patterns of the social, political, and economic processes that shape the city. In this book, Sam Bass Warner and Andrew Whittemore map more than three hundred years of the American city through the evolution of urban form. They do this by offering an illustrated history of "the City"--a hypothetical city that exemplifies the American city's transformation from village to merchant seaport, industrial city, multicentered metropolis, and, finally, regional metropolis that participates in both the local and the global. The book thereby offers a yardstick against which readers can measure the history of their city. Warner and Whittemore have constructed their hypothetical City from the histories of Boston, Philadelphia, and New York, focusing on commonalities that make up key patterns in American urban development. In an engaging text accompanied by Whittemore's detailed, meticulous drawings, they chart the City's changing boundaries, densities, building styles, transportation infrastructures, and population patterns. Planning for the future of cities, they remind us, requires an understanding of the forces that shaped the city's past; these are the tools of urban change. The city's protean, ever-changing nature offers each generation a fresh chance to reform (and re-form) it.

30 review for American Urban Form: A Representative History

  1. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Horner

    This is another one of those kind of wonky books. If you're really into this subject matter, you'll love it. Warner and Whittemore combine common elements of Boston, Philadelphia, and New York into a single hypothetical example, "The City," and chart its growth, both physically and demographically, from founding to present day. The written component is fascinating/enlightening, but made even better by Whittemore's incremental sketches, showing The City from a bird's-eye view in each of the major This is another one of those kind of wonky books. If you're really into this subject matter, you'll love it. Warner and Whittemore combine common elements of Boston, Philadelphia, and New York into a single hypothetical example, "The City," and chart its growth, both physically and demographically, from founding to present day. The written component is fascinating/enlightening, but made even better by Whittemore's incremental sketches, showing The City from a bird's-eye view in each of the major periods of its existence. A few sketches of its architecture, or street-level layout are also included, and supplement certain sections well. If you're a big fan of this subject matter (the history of urban growth in the Northeastern United States), this is kind of a must read, in my opinion. Even if you're not into this sort of book, I think I'd recommend it anyway.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Luke

    A beautifully illustrated exemplary look at east coast urban development. For anyone who is casually interested in the organic development of and character of north-eastern american cities, you could do far worse than this slim, accessible book.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Laura Fauvor

    This book is only good for its physical representations of the architectural evolution via drawings of urban areas in America. Without those, the book is just filled with horribly written history about a fictitious city that uses the history of 3 separate cities as its make up, which is an awful choice considering the 3 cities have very different histories and often the authors contradict their own ideas. The authors also often refer to people- African Americans and Native Americans as objects. This book is only good for its physical representations of the architectural evolution via drawings of urban areas in America. Without those, the book is just filled with horribly written history about a fictitious city that uses the history of 3 separate cities as its make up, which is an awful choice considering the 3 cities have very different histories and often the authors contradict their own ideas. The authors also often refer to people- African Americans and Native Americans as objects. Over-all terrible read, but great art/drawings.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Josh

  5. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

  6. 4 out of 5

    John Ricco

  7. 5 out of 5

    Nora

  8. 5 out of 5

    Carl Lehnen

  9. 4 out of 5

    John McLean

  10. 4 out of 5

    Emily

  11. 5 out of 5

    Джейсон Клей

  12. 4 out of 5

    yirun_li

  13. 4 out of 5

    Elijah Ditchendorf

  14. 4 out of 5

    kath

  15. 4 out of 5

    Colin Mcfadden

  16. 4 out of 5

    Laura

  17. 5 out of 5

    ali

  18. 5 out of 5

    Trenton Bradley

  19. 5 out of 5

    Manal

  20. 4 out of 5

    Nicholas

  21. 4 out of 5

    Sabina

  22. 5 out of 5

    Basheer

  23. 4 out of 5

    Scott

  24. 4 out of 5

    Joseph Readdy

  25. 5 out of 5

    Michael

  26. 5 out of 5

    Ken Williams

  27. 4 out of 5

    Franklin Wong

  28. 4 out of 5

    Anouk Schmermbeck

  29. 4 out of 5

    Asela

  30. 5 out of 5

    J

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