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The City in Mind: Notes on the Urban Condition By James Howard Kunstler,

  • Title: The City in Mind: Notes on the Urban Condition
  • Author: James Howard Kunstler
  • ISBN: 9780743227230
  • Page: 421
  • Format: Paperback
  • In The Geography of Nowhere, James Howard Kunstler declared suburbia a tragic landscape of cartoon architecture, junked cities, and ravaged countryside and put himself at the heart of a fierce debate over how we will live in 21st century America Now, Kunstler turns his wickedly mordant and astute eye on urban life both in America and across the world From classical RomIn The Geography of Nowhere, James Howard Kunstler declared suburbia a tragic landscape of cartoon architecture, junked cities, and ravaged countryside and put himself at the heart of a fierce debate over how we will live in 21st century America Now, Kunstler turns his wickedly mordant and astute eye on urban life both in America and across the world From classical Rome to the gigantic hairball of contemporary Atlanta, he offers a far reaching discourse on the history and current state of urban life.The City in Mind tells the story of urban design and how the architectural makeup of a city directly influences its culture as well as its success From the ingenious architectural design of Louis Napoleon s renovation of Paris to the bloody collision of cultures that occurred when Cortes conquered the Aztec capital Tenochtitlan, from the grandiose architectural schemes of Hitler and Albert Speer to the meanings behind the ludicrous spectacle of Las Vegas, Kunstler opens up a new dialogue on the development and effects of urban construction In his investigations, he discovers American communities in the Sunbelt and Southwest alienated from each other and themselves, Northeastern cities caught between their initial civic construction and our current car obsessed society, and a disparate Europe with its mix of pre industrial creativity, and war marked reminders of the twentieth century.Expanding on ideas first discussed in Jane Jacobs seminal work, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, Kunstler looks to Europe to discover what is constant and enduring in cities at their greatest, and at the same time, how a city s design can be directly linked to its decline In these dazzling excursions he finds the reasons that American got lost in its suburban wilderness and locates the pathways in culture that might lead to a civic revival here.
    The City in Mind Notes on the Urban Condition In The Geography of Nowhere James Howard Kunstler declared suburbia a tragic landscape of cartoon architecture junked cities and ravaged countryside and put himself at the heart of a fierce debate

    One thought on “The City in Mind: Notes on the Urban Condition”

    1. If you accept that Kunstler here has written meditations, which his subtitle asserts, rather than a book with an argument about how cities are and how they should be, supported by case studies, this book is perfectly serviceable It s a little flabby and unfocused, in contrast to his earlier work The Geography of Nowhere He covers eight cities Paris, Atlanta, Mexico City, Berlin, Las Vegas, Rome, Boston, and London each in different ways For Mexico City we get 23 pages of Aztec history including [...]

    2. I like this book because Kunstler s attitude about American cities is similar to mine exacerbated by my time living in Europe He does an excellent job of connecting the following urban planning oil cars public transportation health obesity architecture form, function, and everything in between unpredictable circumstance war, finance, natural disasters conflicting priorities of urban vs rural the stagnating effect of history clash of cultures political leadership Among others It s hard not to thi [...]

    3. Amazing, brilliant, funny, despondent book on the state of modern built America and suburban sprawl This was one of the first new Urbanism books that I read when I started to discover this movement in the mid 2000 s, and this book just blew my mind All these things I observed as a teenager and young adult living in suburban Boston, then when I moved into the old city proper of Boston, and why I felt so much better and healthier living in a old, proper, walkable city like Boston than I ever did g [...]

    4. Great book for anyone interested in urban archeology Explores why some cities work fantastically and why others built w out the thoughts of sustainability, community, and walkability are doomed to fail Highly recommended.

    5. This book is a bit different from most in the urban planning field The author uses much bombastic and colorful language than one might expect It s refreshing once one realizes and accepts the tone of the book.I like that architecture, aesthetic, and design are a sizable component of the book I think those components that tie into the subjective feel of a city are too often overlooked This is apparent when I look around at many of the new mixed use developments being built these days The general [...]

    6. Unfortunately, this novel and all its facts within it was written in the 2008 era, so reading this post 2016 wasn t as fulfilling due to certain societal, financial, and political circumstances inevitability changing with time Although, James Kunstler organizes his ideas in a well mannered function that leaves readers well acknowledged with specific urban conditions at its worst and its best allotments It s actually kind of interesting to digest the history Kunstler suggests and how it all affec [...]

    7. Not a fan at all Do I agree with some of his points about where urban planning has gone wrong, yes But I feel like he simplifies the social element of the urban order a bit too much He is extremely opinionated in a way that comes across as condescendinglet s just say you can imagine that he does a lot of mansplaining He totally lost me when he started citing psych research that indicated the Aztecs somehow had less psychological sophistication than the European invaders I stopped reading at that [...]

    8. I know, I know Calling it just OK is harsh But a good non fiction work shouldn t preach to the choir This one does, and by the end, makes this choirboy briefly question whether he even belongs in the fold.Kunstler s opening salvo at least, the one I read first was The Geography of Nowhere The Rise and Decline of America s Man Made Landscape, an eye opening book that had me nodding my head and that I happily rated at the four star level.Nearly two decades later, though, I have this sense that Kun [...]

    9. i was really excited to read this bookties can differ from each other widely, and in many ways aside from their languages, economies, densities, and architecture, i find that the culture that permeates a city is in many ways what effectively defines it the trouble with this however, is that it s often difficult to pin such a thing down without sweeping generalizations, anecdotal evidence, or personal experience, which of course will vary from person to person some places are just simply vibrant [...]

    10. City in Mind is an eclectic set of essays on the best and worst the world s cities Like his earlier books Geography of Nowhere and Home from Nowhere , this book too offers up hard hitting attacks on American manifest destiny culture of consumerism, corporate greed, suburbanization, and its eventual role in what will be our civilization s decline.When I first read this book as university student, I shared the view of many of his critics, that he was overly cynical and exaggerating the dangers of [...]

    11. The City in Mind continues in the same vein as Kunstler s previous non fiction works Geography of Nowhere, etc with criticism of the oil dependent modern American city and praise for classicism Kunstler examines the histories and current as of 2001 predicaments and successes of eight cities Paris, Atlanta, Mexico City, Berlin, Las Vegas, Rome, Boston, and London Kunstler s wit for the tragic suburban landscape is insightful and biting as he describes Atlanta as one big ass parking lot under a to [...]

    12. While providing stinging criticism of some the the world s leading urban places, Kunstler reviews the unique histories and his insights from eight cities in Europe and North America Published in 2003, his predictions of a repo economy that we now know as the sub prime mortgage crisis have largely come to past The smashing denunciation of the American suburban economy Kunstler pioneered in The Geography of Nowhere 1993 has finally gained mainstream traction.I enjoyed the histories of great men in [...]

    13. Exactly what it says it is on the cover, notes on the urban condition Incoherent notes though, they are marshelled to build a case for the authors disparate theory of urbanism A theory he either deliberately ignores to articulate or fails to articulate There is no method in his examinations of urbanism, in times reducing the examination to a single feature on a column and in times detailing in one too many pages, and in an almost hubris manner, the link and relation of Aztec social and political [...]

    14. This book offers descriptions and analysis of the style and character of eight cities in Europe and North America, focusing on how each city came to be as it is as well as how the structure of the city affects the lifestyle of those who live there In earlier books, Kunstler has talked about how urban design can help give meaning to urban life, and in this book he examines if and how it has been accomplished in several of the world s great cities While the automobile is not the only wrench in the [...]

    15. Excellent historical read on the development and state of cities in the world, taken city by city The chapter on the history and state of Mexico City is mind boggling Cities are the product of human reasoning applied to our environment So too can cities be judged according to reasonable criteria There are reasons why some cities are great and others suck Read on to know why

    16. More good stuff from JHK This is the history of the western world as told through the stories of Paris, Atlanta, Mexico City, Berlin, Las Vegas, Rome, Boston and London Where we went right and where we re going wrong Mexico City, Atlanta, Las Vegas no surprise there Worth reading but not up to the level of his The Geography of Nowhere and Home from Nowhere.

    17. Informative and irreverent, textbook and editorial at the same time Kunstler has the ability to concisely describe the strengths and weaknesses of various types of urban form His grasp of world history allows him to link physical traits of a city with its historic events or periods If I could choose one person to trade brains with, I would choose Kunstler.

    18. Interesting tidbits, biting commentary, exaggerated prose Snapshots of some cities through the lens of a very biased mind but not really a balanced perspective of city life Also, the author has an annoying tendency to assume I know about architecture than I do

    19. The third book an unofficial trilogy by Kunstler This book is the perfect closing statement to both of his Nowhere titles This book has a historical perspective which only serves to educate us further about these great living organisms we call Cities.

    20. A stimulating and enjoyable commentary on the not so good state of urbanism in the US and beyond, how we find ourselves here, and what we might do about improving our lot Highly recommended for anyone caring about cities and their impact on our quality of life.

    21. This book is hilarious This guy can smack talk cities like no ones business Read his comments on Atlanta and Las Vegas for some good laughs And he has some pretty interesting things to say about the history of certain major cities as well as what works and what he thinks are their tragic flaws.

    22. Parts of this were so funny I laughed out loud Other parts were so offensive I was embarrassed to be reading it in public I d say it started strong and got less and less interesting as it went along.

    23. Tells us where we ve been and maybe even where we re going as far as our cities are concerned Very candid and well researched.

    24. Basically the planning history of some famous cities Kunstler gives us insights into the consequences of our actions Who knew so much was at stake in those boring city council meetings

    25. Best in his discussion of Paris which he clearly loves His history is a bit weak when it comes to Aztec cities Not up to the standards of some of his other books on the urban environment.

    26. i d like to thank james howard kustler, the academy, buddha, mohammed and jove that i don t live in america.

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