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Publishers WeeklyStarred Review.
The continuing growth of many major cities worldwide-already very, very big-is an exciting prospect for many reasons but, if left unchecked, is sure to inflict social, economic and environmental trauma. This book focuses on six cities-New York, Shanghai, Mexico City, Berlin, Johannesburg and London-to address, from an urban planning and design perspective, how best they can deal. Loaded with data and vivid images, the authors present essays from a number of sources looking at key social issues in each city (Shanghai's rapid urban transformation, Apartheid's legacy in Johannesburg) and compare the six cities across a number of axes, including areas of relative social disadvantage and subway length. Sudjic's impressive "Governing the Ungovernable" sees in London's building boom "a unique opportunity to see the tensions and fault lines between... a centralized vision and laissez-faire." Some essays are a bit less enlightening, but the tome coheres beautifully around a plethora of photos with extended captions, finding both chaos and potential in a blissfully green park in Shanghai, an endlessly repeating housing project in Mexico City and a busy corner in the Sourth Bronx. This sprawling introduction to the challenges of contemporary urban planning should fascinate students and technically-minded city dwellers. 1,500 color and 400 b/w illustrations.
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