A Blog About Urbanism in North America and Western Europe
This blog presents the views and insights of the author on urbanism in North America and Europe. Reviews focus on the urban history of key urban sites, including: Greenwich Village, London, Paris, Rome, Vancouver and beyond.
The reader is invited to read the posts as either urban theory, or tips on what to see and do when visiting any of these destinations.
Principles in Urbanism
In the last decade of the 20th century attention among the city design professionals in the west returned to issues of quantifying or coding urbanism and community design.
In the U.S. the first steps gave shape to the Ahwanee Principles.
In western Canada we are still lost at sea seeming oblivious to the direct connection linking good places to live and good government.
In this rubric one soon realizes that Europe and the regions in the Americas settled before 1800 march to a different beat.
There is no comparison in the urbanism of the western provinces and states, for example, and western Europe. What works and is most enjoyable to experience in one place feels completely out of place in the other.
Yet, in the words of Claude Lévi-Strauss quoted by Milanese architect and town planner Aldo Rossi in the early 1960s: urbanism is the defining process of human consciousness (la chose humaine par excellence).
Hence the challenges of looking at the cities of western civilization in particular, and western urbanism in general, multiply when we move across the Atlantic and up and down the cordilleras.
Yet, a growing literature presents a more comprehensive landscape of sustainable urbanism and its connections to long traditions in western culture that extend as far as Greece and Rome probably originating in Egypt and Mesopotamia.
A list of books is not always a useful thing. Sometimes it helps to know why the titles are being recommended.
The annotated pages of this bibliography are listed in chronological order. They include titles that are currently of interest professionally, or because they explain the subject matter of urbanism, and the making of the city. Read it here.
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