The Secret Lives of Cities: Adventures from Beneath the Metropolis

The Secret Lives of Cities: Adventures from Beneath the Metropolis

by Alex Marshall
     
 

The pulse of great cities may be most palpable above ground, but it is below the busy streets where we can observe their rich archaeological history and the infrastructure that keeps them running. In The Secret Lives of Cities journalist Alex Marshall investigates how geological features, archaeological remnants of past civilizations, and layered networks

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Overview

The pulse of great cities may be most palpable above ground, but it is below the busy streets where we can observe their rich archaeological history and the infrastructure that keeps them running. In The Secret Lives of Cities journalist Alex Marshall investigates how geological features, archaeological remnants of past civilizations, and layered networks transporting water, electricity, and people, have shaped these cities through centuries of political turbulence and advancements in engineering — and how they are determining the course of the cities' future. From the first-century catacombs of Rome, the New York subway system, and the swamps and ancient quays beneath London, to San Francisco's fault lines, the depleted aquifer below Mexico City, and Mao Tse-tung's extensive network of secret tunnels under Beijing, these subterranean environments offer a unique cross-section of a city's history and future. Stunningly illustrated with colorful photographs, drawings, and maps, The Secret Lives of Cities reveals the hidden worlds beneath our feet, and charts the cities' development through centuries of forgotten history, political change, and technological innovation.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Independent journalist Marshall (How Cities Work) presents a unique and colorful view of the subterranean environments of 12 world cities. The comparatively recent settlements of New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Sydney are joined here by the modernizing conurbations of Mexico City, Paris, Rome, London, Moscow, Cairo, Tokyo, and Beijing. Marshall occasionally draws parallels to other cities, such as Venice, Montreal, and Boston. Utilizing interviews with architects, engineers, and planners, as well as print sources, web sites, and some on-site visits, the author details the meandering underground networks that have evolved to convey people, water, electricity, effluvia, and telecommunications. Each city has faced obstacles imposed by its geology, archaeological history, and political and social constraints. Relying on either current or past watercourses, most did not make much use of underground potential before 1800, except for Rome with its catacombs. Thereafter, alternatively cooperating and competing public and private actors constructed these cities' underground elements. Lavishly illustrated, not footnoted but with a bibliography, this volume is aimed at the general reader. Recommended for public libraries, for urban enthusiasts and armchair travelers. Frederick J. Augustyn Jr., Library of Congress Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780786718641
Publisher:
Running Press Book Publishers
Publication date:
09/28/2006
Pages:
240
Product dimensions:
7.32(w) x 10.28(h) x 0.81(d)

Meet the Author

Alex Marshall, an independent journalist in New York City, is the author of How Cities Work: Suburbs, Sprawl and The Roads Not Taken, and is a Senior Fellow at the Regional Plan Association in New York City. His work has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Metropolis Magazine, Salon, Slate and many other publications. A former staff writer for The Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk, Marshall was a Loeb Fellow at Harvard University in 1999-2000. Marshall holds a master's degree in Journalism from Columbia University in New York, and a bachelor's degree in Political Economy and Spanish from Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh. Marshall lives in Brooklyn with his wife, the documentary film editor Kristin Barlow, and their son Max.

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