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Design of Cities: Revised Edition (Penguin Books) [Paperback]

Edmund N. Bacon
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

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Book Description

May 20, 1976 0140042369 978-0140042368 Revised
"The major contemporary work on urban design . . . Splendidly presented, filled with thoughtful and brilliant intuitive insights." —The New Republic

In a brilliant synthesis of words and pictures, Edmund N. Bacon relates historical examples to modern principles of urban planning. He vividly demonstrates how the work of great architects and planners of the past can influence subsequent development and be continued by later generations. By illuminating the historical background of urban design, Bacon also shows us the fundamental forces and considerations that determine the form of a great city. Perhaps the most significant of these are simultaneous movement systems—the paths of pedestrian and vehicular traffic, public and private transportation—that serve as the dominant organizing force, and Bacon looks at movement systems in cities such as London, Rome, and New York. He also stresses the importance of designing open space as well as architectural mass and discusses the impact of space, color, and perspective on the city-dweller. That the centers of cities should and can be pleasant places in which to live, work, and relax is illustrated by such examples as Rotterdam and Stockholm.

Frequently Bought Together

Design of Cities: Revised Edition (Penguin Books) + The City Shaped: Urban Patterns and Meanings Through History + The Death and Life of Great American Cities
Price for all three: $79.90

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Editorial Reviews


"Edmund Bacon had greater impact on the planning and development of his hometown [Philadelphia] than any individual except Robert Moses in New York and Daniel Burnham in Chicago. Like Burnham, he had created a noble, logical diagram that had the power to stir the blood."
—Alexander Garvin, The American City

"Stunning illustrations . . . extraoridinarily lucid plans . . . A breakthrough in beautiful art book making."
Architectural Forum

About the Author

Edmund N. Bacon was born in Philadelphia and studied architecture at Cornell University and at the Cranbrook Academy of Art, under Eliel Saarinen. In 1938, after two years as a city planner in Flint, Michigan, Mr. Bacon became managing director of the Philadelphia Planning Commission from 1949 until his retirement in 1970. Under his leadership Philadeplphia became engaged in a continuous program of restoration and rebuilding that has become famous around the world. In 1971 Mr. Bacon was awarded the American Institute of Planners Distinguished Service Award for his innovations and achievements as Director of the Philadelphia City Planning Commission.

Product Details

  • Series: Penguin Books
  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Revised edition (May 20, 1976)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140042369
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140042368
  • Product Dimensions: 0.7 x 7.8 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #323,797 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Quintessential book on Urban Design January 4, 2007
This is my favorite book on urban cities work, history of city design, and the key elements that make a city exciting, livable, and functional. A key insight of Mr. Bacon is the potential for the integration of various movement systems (train, car, pedestrian, etc.), and the vitality possible at the intersections and nodes of those systems.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book June 7, 2008
This book is an excellent introduction to the nature of urban design.

It illustrates, in a concise and simple way, most of the major interventions in urban design beginning with early settlements, and finishing with modern cities. E.G the route to the Acropolis, the extension of the garden of Versailles, the reorientation of Georgian London.

Every point is explained clearly using great plans, sections and photographs.

The book features many references to the conceptual sketches of artist Paul Klee, which Bacon uses as comparisons for urban concepts.

This book had a very positive effect on my understanding of architecture and urban design, and i would recommend it to anyone interested in the field.

Bear in mind that it is not a standard history book. It is more light-hearted but that is why i enjoyed it so much.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well designed book February 8, 2008
By Miles
A very informative and well designed book. I am currently a grad. student in architecture and the ideas presented in this book are very intriguing. It takes a very practical approach to urban design. If this book were coupled with Jane Jacob's The Death and Life of Great American Cities, one could get two different but relevant viewpoints regarding this very important debate, especially in the wake of Modernism.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
In this classic text on city design Edmund Bacon explains the elements of the new urbanism. I teach architecture and use this text as reference to explain a brief history of urban form and as a model for urban design concepts and drawings because many of its chapters are beautifully illustrated with refined and thoughtful conceptual diagrams that are rich examples for anyone who wants to understand how to design the urban dimension.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By Peter M
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A comprehensive review of historic and contemporary urban design strategies complete with wonderful hand drawn, pre CAD, diagrams and sketches with a compelling text written by former Philiadelphia city planner Ed Bacon and several younger urban designers.
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