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The City Shaped: Urban Patterns and Meanings Through History Reprint Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0821220160
ISBN-10: 0821220160
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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Kostof has done it again; in prolific fashion he has produced another standard textbook. This time his subject is cities rather than architecture, which he covered in A History of Architecture: Settings and Rituals ( LJ 6/1/85). This book will appeal especially to designers, architects, and planners, as it organizes its subject matter according to what form it takes (grids, diagrams, skylines, etc.) rather than chronologically, topically, or typologically, as do other surveys of urbanism. Kostof is a master tour guide, blessed with an easy writing style, a piquant, welcoming mind, and a worldwide mastery of his subject matter. This book is certain to become a classic in its field comparable to Lewis Mumford's Culture of Cities (1933) and Mark Girouard's Cit ies and People ( LJ 10/15/85).
- Peter Kaufman, Boston Coll.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Spiro Kostof (1936-1991) was a professor of Architectural History at the University of California at Berkley, and also taught at M.I.T., and at Yale, Columbia, and Rice universities. His many books include The Architect: Chapters in The History of the Profession (1977) and A History of Architecture: Settings and Rituals (1985), now a standard text. He edited America by Design (1987), the companion to a five-part television series that he presented. Kostof also published The City Shaped with Bulfinch Press in 1991.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Bulfinch; Reprint edition (May 4, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0821220160
  • ISBN-13: 978-0821220160
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 1 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #307,968 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Well written, consistently interesting and structured around the challenges of topography and the urban form demands invoked by market needs, political architectures and cultural expectations through history, this beautifully illustrated book delivers the promise of its title and a lot more.

Because the author, Spiro Kostof, organized his book by patterns and topological relationships, the text compresses history and geographies into a comparative perspective. This presents a disadvantage to the reader if he/she is interested in only one time, one culture or even just one architectural movement.

On the other hand, the comparative perspective lends authority to Kostof's overarching theoretical approach of connecting urban forms to content and how those relationships persist across the spectrum of the human experience. A must for any architect's or planner's library.
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Format: Paperback
Spiro Kostof's book is a fantastic and intelligent foray into urban form. What I found most appealing about the book was his approach in grappling with the WHY of things; in describing how certain urban forms have come to pass, he offers the requisite determined factors as any architect of the City ought to do and then manages the neat trick of gracefully acknowledging that these factors do not necessarily lead to a single outcome. But he is intrepid in his analysis and his approach. Beginners may find this book difficult because it does assume a basic understanding of cities and city planning; however, ambitious readers should give it a try. Mr. Kostof's cultural and historical references and his non-linear style are extremely appealing and intriguing, so much so that I will continue on to "The City Assembled", the companion piece, with great eagerness.
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Format: Paperback
Perhapes part of Kostof's category for urban patterns( as organic, grids, grand manner....) is arguable, but his wonderful ananlyses for each individual sample lead us into deeper understanding of urban patterns and social meanings behind. Many cities familiar to most of us (Siena, Paris, New Dehli....) appear refreshingly unfamiliar in his book.
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Extremely interesting and well documented book on the different methods humans have used in their quest to create the ideal city. Although not arranges chrinologically but tipologically, the book covers history's clearest examoles of the variety of urban design theory. A must for the urban / architecture proffessional and aficionado.
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I really like this book, there are a lot of made up cities and towns in some of the games that I play and I find it fasciniating how historical cities and fantasy cities are designed. The author lays out some different design styles for cities and then shows some examples of historical cities that match these styles. A good reference for anyone designing fantasy maps, or just students of architecture or history.
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The book is very illustrative, the author is clear and uses many examples. He foccuses on the physical shape of cities and how they have been altered throughout hostory. This is not a history book, this book is very architectural, if that is not your goal, you might reconsider it.
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Why buy when you can rent?
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no complaints
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