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For the Love of Cities: The love affair between people and their places Paperback – March 1, 2011
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About the Author
- Item Weight : 9.9 ounces
- Paperback : 242 pages
- ISBN-13 : 978-0615430430
- ISBN-10 : 0615430430
- Dimensions : 5.25 x 0.61 x 8 inches
- Publisher : Creative Cities Productions; First Edition (March 1, 2011)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #344,931 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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I am fascinated by the idea of a city as an object of love, of communities so vital that they move their inhabitants to do extraordinary things to maintain and preserve their vibrance. Some great examples of this dynamic were examined in the book and there was food for thought about why some cities fail to reach this pinnacle of resident adoration. For example, Kageyama reminds us that "the pursuit of happiness" is written right into our national constitution. "For purposes of community/city building, happiness is a key aspirational goal. Social capital coming from social interactions and the resulting connections are the key to happiness."
But after an inspiring start, the author struggles with quantifying happiness and lovability. These are topics that have stymied great thinkers through the ages. I had trouble with some odd comparisons and conclusions.
Kageyama taps into a 2000 book <i>Bowling Alone</i> by Robert Putnam, which posits "the decline of such Eisenhower institutions as bowling leagues and Rotary Clubs and their corresponding impact on society." Supposedly as these 1950s-era institutions have declined, so too, have our interpersonal connections. But excuse me, that is a vast leap. My community may not have a lot of bowling leagues, but in the 1950s there weren't hordes of cycling, hiking, and community volunteer groups engaging community energy as there are now in my city. There also weren't coffee shops on every corner, and after-work community events in public spaces as there are now, so I find this a rather specious assumption. Heck in the 1950s, my town didn't even have trees and flowers planted downtown, with benches that invite resting of weary feet.
The author also includes lots of tables to illustrate his points. But interpreting those tables is bewilderingly. In one table, the data signifying hierarchal progressions is found in the furthest right column. The next table presents the progressive data in the 2nd or 3rd column. The author lists the Most Loveable Cities juxtaposed to Star Cities. What is the difference between Most Loveable and Star Cities? The list is different, but the differentiation is missing. One would expect the Star Cities to be the cities that appear at the top of the Most Loveable list, but for some reason they are not. The last half of Chapter 5, after getting past the inexplicable tables, held the most promising information about what elements make a city loveable and unforgettable.
Published in 2011, it is surprising how dated the information in this book already seems at the tail end of 2019. But that is a function of how fast our societies are moving and changing. Kageyama has tried to quantify complex emotional and relational issues that dance between individuals, communities, and communities the make up cities. It's no small task and merits more contemplation.