- Series: The Kenneth Nebenzahl Jr. Lectures in the History of Cartography
- Hardcover: 196 pages
- Publisher: University of Chicago Press; 1 edition (July 6, 1998)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0226079937
- ISBN-13: 978-0226079936
- Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.7 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 1 customer review
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,872,883 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Envisioning the City: Six Studies in Urban Cartography (The Kenneth Nebenzahl Jr. Lectures in the History of Cartography) 1st Edition
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From the Inside Flap
Churchman or merchant, soldier or sanitary engineer, everyone who lives in a city sees it differently. Envisioning the City explores how these points of urban view have been expressed in city plans from various times and places. Ranging from vertical plans to bird's-eye views, profiles, and three-dimensional models, these diverse maps all show cities "the way people want to see them".
The type of plan chosen and its focus reflect the aspects of a city that the map's creators wished to highlight. For instance, the earliest city plans known -- Chinese vertical plans from the first millennium B.C. -- reflected the Chinese ideal of the city, regardless of whether the actual cities depicted were so precisely planned, whereas bird's-eye view plans appended to a fifteenth-century edition of Ptolemy's Geography offered a different attitude toward urban space, one shaped by an aesthetic appreciation of classical and ecclesiastical buildings. City maps in early modern Spain served the ideological needs of churchmen and royal officials, but the military objective of deterring potential attackers led to the creation of different plans from the same time period, which depicted cities as impregnable fortifications. Military concerns were also reflected to some extent in the city models constructed for Louis XIV of France; the shrewd strategist Napoleon praised these highly detailed models as "the best maps that we have". And Daniel Burnham's famous 1909 Plan of Chicago used a distinct representational style to "sell" his version of the new Chicago.
Although city plans are among the oldest maps known, few books have been devoted to them. Historians of cartography and geography, architects, andurban planners will all enjoy this profusely illustrated volume.
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The opening and closing papers in Envisioning the City extend its temporal and geographical reach considerably. In "Mapping the Chinese City: The Image and the Reality", Nancy Steinhardt presents some examples of early Chinese city plans and traces their connections with other aspects of culture, notably with calligraphy and painting. "Mapmaking in premodern China was not a technical exercise striving toward accuracy but an art among elite arts in which service of state and associated lofty purpose of virtue can supersede truth." And Gerald Danzer describes Burnham and Bennett's 1909 Plan of Chicago, sketching the background of its authors and then analysing some aspects of its layout.