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American Urban Form: A Representative History (Urban and Industrial Environments) Hardcover – February 24, 2012

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Editorial Reviews


"With its rich narrative and outstanding visual representation of urban form changes, this concise book succeeds in making the reader experience the American city through time and understand the forces behind its evolution. The hypothetical city becomes real through engaging and detailed accounts of events, spaces, and social interactions."--Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris, Professor of Urban Planning, UCLA

" American Urban Form -- assaying Boston, New York, and Philadelphia -- merits acclaim. Imagining our urban past, present, and future, Sam Bass Warner and Andrew Whittemore frame their lively narrative with twenty-first century sensibilities as they plumb the near and more distant past. Assembling chronologically organized big-picture views, the co-authors explain the shaping forces which created assorted urban forms. This superb book, to its credit, features Whittemore's hand-crafted and sumptuously detailed urban landscapes, best thought of as a luminous historical exhibition. A wide range of readers -- architects, artists, planners, historians, journalists, lawyers, mayors, legislators, policy makers, and general readers -- surely will learn much from this book."--Michael H. Ebner, Lake Forest College

"This book represents a fresh approach to a perennial problem -- arguably the perennial problem -- in urban history. It will surely be, as the authors intend, a very useful and enlightening book for planners and design professionals seeking to learn from a single volume the most important elements of American urban history. The range of detailed, accurate, and insightful knowledge the authors display from the colonial city to the present is simply astonishing. And I believe the book will generate much useful comment and debate among urban historians about how to conceptualize and to present our field." --Robert L. Fishman, Professor of Architecture and Urban Planning, Taubman College, University of Michigan

"In this illuminating book, Warner and Whittemore have teamed to produce a richly visual, extraordinarily conceptual view of urbanization in the US."--J.F.Bauman, Choice

"… American Urban Form stands out as a concise narration of the various dynamics that shaped the physical form of the American metropolis…The book is highly engaging in its technical descriptions, which are supported by excellent hand drawings by Whittemore."--Garyfalia Palaiologou, The Journal of Space Syntax

About the Author

Sam Bass Warner, noted urban historian and Visiting Professor of Urban History at MIT, is the author of The Urban Wilderness: A History of the American City and other books.

Andrew H. Whittemore is Assistant Professor in the Department of City and Regional Planning at the University of Texas Arlington.

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Product Details

  • Series: Urban and Industrial Environments
  • Hardcover: 200 pages
  • Publisher: The MIT Press (February 24, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0262017210
  • ISBN-13: 978-0262017213
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 0.4 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,384,942 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Sam Bass Warner, Jr. formerly of the Department of Urban Studies and Planning of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is a citizen scholar active in urban reform. In numerous books and articles about U.S. cities, suburbs, neighborhoods and metropolitan regions, he invites readers to address today's problems by summoning shared memories of our American urban experience. Showing how our social relationships, cultural values and economic choices have been expressed in actions ranging from land management and development to community gardens and government planning, Warner describes the process of city building and the social consequences it has produced. Here in "American Urban Form," Warner and his artist coauthor, Andrew Whittemore use an imagined city representing the past of major U.S. cities over 400 years, to reveal how cities have changed our landscapes, buildings, houses, the environment and the way we live.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is a very good broad overview of how many Eastern coastal cities developed in the United States. The scope is fairly large and there seems to be a nice balance of objective, distanced observation, and more of a finer grit perspective. The generic city described throughout is actually pretty brilliant as it removes many of the pre-imposed connotations that come packaged in any study of history, allowing one to look only at the broader forces that shape the city. There is likely nothing in here that will blow your mind, but the clarity of development might just change the way you read the history of some cities.
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful By IzziesMom on February 1, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
What a gem for us to have on our bookshelf. We have also shared with many of our friends, too.
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