From Library Journal
In this heavily illustrated, multidisciplinary treatise, architect Whitaker, who also teaches at New York University, links American values of individualism, equality, freedom, community, and renewal to the nation's architectural patterns. Chapters deal with urban planning; the dichotomy between front and back, public and private; and grids, rows, pairs, and pauses and concludes with a mantra for common ground and wholeness. While major tenets, especially arguments for a cohesive set of identifiable American cultural values, are facilely expressed, Whitaker's choice and detailed analysis of individual architectural examples is first-rate. The work is extensively documented, and the bibliography is satisfactory. Recommended for architecture, urban planning, and American studies collections.?Russell T. Clement, Univ. of Tennessee, Knoxville
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Award-winning architect, city planner, and New York University professor Whitaker sets out to convince the reader that while the architecture and urban design in the U.S. appear to be totally chaotic, there is a direct correlation between our human-made environment and the values and ideals that we Americans hold so dear. These include equality, freedom of choice, and the right to express ourselves when, where, and how we see fit. Although Whitaker's book could be used as a textbook for a college course on urban design, the writing is not technical, and the ideas are presented in such a way, with references to easily recognizable features in our culture, that it is also interesting and accessible to the reader with only a casual interest in urban design. Each point made in the text is punctuated with at least one and in many cases a series of well-placed, black-and-white photographs, diagrams, and drawings. Randall Enos