- Paperback: 256 pages
- Publisher: Scribner (October 10, 1996)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0684825295
- ISBN-13: 978-0684825298
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 13 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,038,172 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ Free Shipping
+ Free Shipping
City Life Paperback – October 10, 1996
See the Best Books of 2018
Looking for something great to read? Browse our editors' picks for the best books of the year in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
From Publishers Weekly
Rybczynski presents a historical survey of the development of American cities.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
About the Author
Witold Rybczynski has written about architecture and urbanism for The New York Times, Time, The Atlantic, and The New Yorker. He is the author of the critically acclaimed book Home and the award-winning A Clearing in the Distance, as well as The Biography of a Building, The Mysteries of the Mall, and Now I Sit Me Down. The recipient of the National Building Museum’s 2007 Vincent Scully Prize, he lives with his wife in Philadelphia, where he is emeritus professor of architecture at the University of Pennsylvania.
Try the Kindle edition and experience these great reading features:
Showing 1-7 of 13 reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
The book focuses mostly upon the development of cities in the United States and Canada. European cities are occasionally mentioned and discussed, but only in how they compare to their North American cousins. It's a history of cities, which combines modern-day thoughts on their development as well as some historical comments from what the people of the time thought of how their cities were emerging. Rybczynski also manages to touch on the roles of commercialism, art, and the unique qualities of North America that have helped to define our cities. Cities did not spring fully-formed, nor were they all laid out at the same time, and the author takes time to explore how different approaches to city planning created vastly differing results. He compares the many different approaches, from the organized and structured to the evolving and improvised.
The absolute biggest flaw with this text is that it is indeed just a text. Outside of the cover (featuring a sketching of a 19th Century street-scene and a poignant pre-9/11 photograph of the New York City skyline), there are no illustrations. No pictures, no diagrams, no maps, no charts, no blueprints, no photos -- nothing. Like Alice, I couldn't understand why someone would write a book such as this without including pictures. Rybczynski, therefore, spends far too much time describing city layouts, maps, street diagrams and other visual artifacts, leaving the reader without a pictorial aid. Photographs and maps are described rather than included. It's very frustrating. A picture is worth a thousand words, and in a book that is this heavily involved concerned with what things look like, some pictures would have been invaluable.
Rybczynski's writing style is relatively engaging, though he does have an unfortunate tendency to lapse into dry lists of various items (usually one word mentions of various architects and city planners). This can be infrequently distracting, leading one to wonder if perhaps some of the information could have been conveyed in a more interesting way. Still, the history of cities as well as the philosophy behind their growth makes for fascinating subjects, so whatever faults may lie in the book, it is still well worth reading.