"This is a book about the making of cities and the buildings that compose them. It is about the conditions under which an architect engaged in those activities now works, how those conditions evolved and why they are changing. It is about the qualities of life that are threatened by the ways cities are built at the beginning of the 21st century and intelligent response to those threats. It is about why the city planning ideas and the cultural cuisinart that came in the box with modern architecture are a lingering menace." -- from Global City Blues.
Much of the architecture and town planning of the past fifty years has been based on an unsubstantiated optimism about the promise of modernity. In our rush to embrace the future, we invented new ways of building that rejected the past and sent people headlong into a placeless limbo where they are insulated from each other and cut off from such basic experiences of location as the weather and the time of day. Despite calamitous results, many architects and planners remain enamored of the modernist ideals that underlie these changes.
In Global City Blues, renowned architect Daniel Solomon presents a perceptive overview and an insightful assessment of how the power and seductiveness of modernist ideals led us astray. Through a series of independent but linked essays, he takes the reader on a personal picaresque, introducing us to people, places, and ideas that have shaped thinking about planning and building and that laid the foundation for his beliefs about the world we live in and the kind of world we should be making.
As an alternative, Daniel Solomon discusses the ideas and precepts of New Urbanism, a reform movement he helped found that has risen to prominence in the past decade. New Urbanism offers a vital counterbalance to the forces of sprawl, urban disintegration, and placelessness that have so transformed the contemporary landscape.
Global City Blues is a fresh and original look at what the history of urban form can teach us about creating built environments that work for people.