NONFICTION

The Language of Cities

Allen Lane. Oct. 2017. 240p. photos. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780241188040. $39.95; ebk. ISBN 9780241188057. ARCH
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This title by design historian (B Is for Bauhaus; The Language of Things) and director of London's Design Museum Sudjic is the most celebratory book about cities to come along for years. Though it could use expansion, emendation, and some editing, it would be greatly transformed into an educational film or TV series devoted to the global growth of urban life over the past 50 years. Social, economic, and political factors are the subjects as the book follows the primum mobile of postmodernism. For cities, it consists of making places, but in the postmodern world, capitalist celebrity takes precedence. In fact, the star of this book is Walt Disney, who built Celebration, FL, near Disney World. It could have covered more cities than the author studies and presents here (e.g., Mexico City, Beijing, London, Paris, Los Angeles, New York City, Tokyo, and Siena, Italy, where the book was written). The author addresses a great deal since the last epoch of urban writing in the 1960s, featuring Jane Jacobs and John Reps, among others.
VERDICT Highly recommended to public libraries of all sizes.

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