The Resilient City: How Modern Cities Recover from Disaster

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In 1871, the city of Chicago was almost entirely destroyed by what became known as The Great Fire. Thirty-five years later, San Francisco lay in smoldering ruins after the catastrophic earthquake of 1906. Or consider the case of the Jerusalem, the greatest site of physical destruction and renewal in history, which, over three millennia, has suffered wars, earthquakes, fires, twenty sieges, eighteen reconstructions, and at least eleven transitions from one religious faith to another. Yet this ancient city has regenerated itself time and again, and still endures.
Throughout history, cities have been sacked, burned, torched, bombed, flooded, besieged, and leveled. And yet they almost always rise from the ashes to rebuild. Viewing a wide array of urban disasters in global historical perspective, The Resilient City traces the aftermath of such cataclysms as: —the British invasion of Washington in 1814
—the devastation wrought on Berlin, Warsaw, and Tokyo during World War II
—the late-20th century earthquakes that shattered Mexico City and the Chinese city of Tangshan
—Los Angeles after the 1992 riots
—the Oklahoma City bombing
—the destruction of the World Trade Center
Revealing how traumatized city-dwellers consistently develop narratives of resilience and how the pragmatic process of urban recovery is always fueled by highly symbolic actions, The Resilient City offers a deeply informative and unsentimental tribute to the dogged persistence of the city, and indeed of the human spirit.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"...through the depth of the essays collected within it, The Resilient City far surpasses previous edited volumes on urban reconstruction."—H-NET

"Cities, like people, often show their deepest character under terrifying stress. This book brings together histories of fire, earthquake, terrorism, and war to demonstrate that the most traumatic urban disasters can then become the most dramatic urban recoveries. These horrifying and inspiring analyses reveal the resilient essence of urbanism itself."—Robert Fishman, Taubman College of Architecture and Planning, University of Michigan

"A fascinating collection."—Sir Peter Hall, author of Cities in Civilization

"If you are looking for an antidote to the depressing faree typical of the disaster literature, pick up The Resilient City... The book is also commendable for its vast geographic reach and long temporal arc, and for drawing from a variety of disciplines..."—Ari Kelman, Technology and Culture

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195175837
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 1/20/2005
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 392
  • Sales rank: 1,289,033
  • Product dimensions: 6.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Lawrence J. Vale is Professor of Urban Studies and Planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and author of From the Puritans to the Projects: A History of Public Housing in America, among other titles. Thomas J. Campanella is Assistant Professor in the Department of City and Regional Planning at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He is the author of Republic of Shade and Cities from the Sky.

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Table of Contents

Introduction : the cities rise again 3
1 Making progress : disaster narratives and the art of optimism in modern America 27
2 "The predicament of aftermath" : Oklahoma city and September 11 55
3 The city's end : past and present narratives of New York's destruction 75
4 Patriotism and the reconstruction of Washington, D.C., after the British invasion of 1814 97
5 Double restoration : rebuilding Berlin after 1945 117
6 Warsaw : reconstruction as propaganda 135
7 A delayed healing : understanding the fragmented resilience of Gernika 159
8 Resurrecting Jerusalem 181
9 Resilient Tokyo : disaster and transformation in the Japanese city 213
10 "Resist the earthquake and rescue ourselves" : the reconstruction of Tangshan after the 1976 earthquake 235
11 Reverberations : Mexico city's 1985 earthquake and the transformation of the capital 255
12 A vital void : reconstructions of downtown Beirut 281
13 After the unrest : ten years of rebuilding Los Angeles following the trauma of 1992 299
14 Cyborg agonistes : disaster and reconstruction in the digital electronic era 313
Conclusion : axioms of resilience 335
App Suggestions for further reading on urban disasters and recovery 357
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