City: A Guidebook for the Urban Age

City: A Guidebook for the Urban Age

by P.D. Smith


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City: A Guidebook for the Urban Age by P.D. Smith

For the first time in the history of our planet, more than half the population-3.3 billion people-is now living in cities. City is the ultimate guidebook to our urban centers-the signature unit of human civilization. With erudite prose and carefully chosen illustrations, this unique work of metatourism explores what cities are and how they work. It covers history, customs and language, districts, transport, money, work, shops and markets, and tourist sites, creating a fantastically detailed portrait of the city through history and into the future.

The urban explorer will revel in essays on downtowns, suburbs, shantytowns and favelas, graffiti, skylines, crime, the theater, street food, sport, eco-cities, and sacred sites, as well as mini essays on the Tower of Babel, flash mobs, ghettos, skateboarding, and SimCity, among many others. Drawing on a vast range of examples from across the world and throughout history, City is extensively illustrated with full-color photographs, maps, and other images. Acclaimed author and independent scholar P. D. Smith explores what it was like to live in the first cities, how they have evolved, and why in the future, cities will play an even greater role in human life.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781608196760
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Publication date: 06/19/2012
Pages: 400
Product dimensions: 7.00(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.50(d)

About the Author

P. D. Smith is an independent researcher and writer. He has taught at University College London where he is an Honorary Research Fellow in the Science and Technology Studies Department and has contributed to the Guardian and writes for other publications including The Times, Independent and the Times Literary Supplement and regularly contributes to the acclaimed website 3 Quarks Daily. His books include Doomsday Men: The Real Dr Strangelove and the Dream of the Superweapon.

Author's website:

Table of Contents

Introduction xi

1 Arrival

The City in the Lake 1

The Golden Door 8

Skyline 13

The Central Station 18

2 History

Origins 29

The Ideal City 37

New Town 44

Necropolis 50

The City Wall 60

3 Customs

Writing 73

Street Language 78

'Kilroy was here' 82

The Voice of the Street 86

Carnival! 93

The House of God 102

4 Where to Stay

Downtown 115

Chinatown, Little Italy and the Ghetto 124

Slum City 132

From Garden Suburbs to Boomburbs 141

The Hotel 152

5 Getting Around

Walking 163

Traffic 171

Going Underground 181

The Skyscraper 192

6 Money

Markets 207

The Jewel Box of the World 216

Got to Pick a Pocket or Two 223

The Department Store 234

7 Time Out

The City and the Stage 247

City of the Mind 255

Street Food 261

Gladiators and Marathon Runners 269

The Park 280

8 Beyond the City

The Wired City 293

Eco-Cities 302

Futuropolis 312

The Ruins 324

Afterword 337

Notes 340

Further Reading 368

Picture Credits 374

Acknowledgements 375

Index 376

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