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Author David Scobey paints a remarkable panorama of New York's uneven development, a city-building process careening between obsessive calculation and speculative excess. Envisioning a new kind of national civilization, "bourgeois urbanists" attempted to make New York the nation's pre-eminent city. Ultimately, they created a mosaic of grand improvements, dynamic change, and environmental disorder. Empire City sets the stories of the city's most celebrated landmarks—Central Park, the Brooklyn Bridge, the downtown commercial center—within the context of this new ideal of landscape design and a politics of planned city building. Perhaps such an ambitious project for guiding growth, overcoming spatial problems, and uplifting public was bound to fail; still, it grips the imagination.
Author Biography: David M. Scobey is Associate Professor of Architecture and Director of the Arts of Citizenship Program at the University of Michigan.
|Introduction: Can a City be Planned?||1|
|1||Metropolis and Nation||15|
|2||The Midcentury Boom||55|
|3||The Rule of Real Estate||89|
|4||The Frictions of Space||134|
|5||Imagining the Imperial Metropolis||158|
|6||The Politics of City Building||189|
|8||The Failure of Bourgeois Urbanism||251|
|App.: Statistical Tables||269|
Posted September 19, 2010
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