Designing the Modern City


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Urbanism Since 1850

Eric Mumford


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A comprehensive new survey tracing the global history of urbanism and urban design from the industrial revolution to the present.

Written with an international perspective that encourages cross-cultural comparisons, leading architectural and urban historian Eric Mumford presents a comprehensive survey of urbanism and urban design since the industrial revolution. Beginning in the second half of the 19th century, technical, social, and economic developments set cities and the world’s population on a course of massive expansion. Mumford recounts how key figures in design responded to these changing circumstances with both practicable proposals and theoretical frameworks, ultimately creating what are now mainstream ideas about how urban environments should be designed, as well as creating the field called “urbanism.” He then traces the complex outcomes of approaches that emerged in European, American, and Asian cities.
This erudite and insightful book addresses the modernization of the traditional city, including mass transit and sanitary sewer systems, building legislation, and model tenement and regional planning approaches. It also examines the urban design concepts of groups such as CIAM (International Congresses of Modern Architecture) and Team 10, and their adherents and critics, including those of the Congress for the New Urbanism, as well as efforts toward ecological urbanism. Highlighting built as well as unbuilt projects, Mumford offers a sweeping guide to the history of designers’ efforts to shape cities.

Eric Mumford is Rebecca and John Voyles Professor of Architecture at Washington University in St. Louis.

“Urbanization and the form that it takes is once again at the center of debates and agendas, and Eric Mumford’s long-needed survey will provide students and practitioners with an informed historical base for approaching contemporary urban conditions.”—Alan Plattus, Yale University

“Mumford’s book is a refreshing and much-needed alternative to previous surveys of modern urbanism that have foregrounded architecture at the expense of planning, and Europe and the United States at the expense of everywhere else.”—Gabrielle Esperdy, New Jersey Institute of Technology

“Readers will need to fasten their seatbelts as they follow Mumford’s concise history of more than 150 years of urbanism. This is a magisterial work that will serve as an ideal text for a course on the topic.”—Mosette Broderick, New York University

“Eric Mumford deserves credit for the scale and ambition of this major new survey of modern urban thought and practice. No other book compares.”—Simon Gunn, University of Leicester

“Of first importance to students of urban design and architecture, this essential narrative of the modern city gives pioneering works their proper place in a global history.”—Seng Kuan, Harvard GSD and Chinese University of Hong Kong

Designing the Modern City is, in fact, something new and worthwhile, an impressive achievement in both synthesis and narrative, making the sorts of connections that reveal relationships rather than ascribe them academically.”—Kathy Edwards, ARLIS/NA

“The book is well written, and the author provides thorough, worldwide historical background on each chapter’s topic. Mumford allows readers to assess the successes and failures of urbanism and note patterns.”—L. B. Allsopp, Choice

Winner of the Outstanding Academic Title for 2018 award sponsored by Choice
ISBN: 9780300207729
Publication Date: May 15, 2018
360 pages, 7 x 10
125 b/w illus.
Josep Lluís Sert

The Architect of Urban Design, 1953-1969

Edited by Eric Mumford and Hashim Sarkis; With contribution

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Defining Urban Design

CIAM Architects and the Formation of a Discipline, 1937-69

Eric Mumford

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The Writings of Josep Lluís Sert

Edited by Eric Mumford; Foreword by Mohsen Mostafavi

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Reassessing Rudolph

Edited by Timothy M. Rohan; With contributions by Kazi K.

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