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The classic work on the evaluation of city form. What does the city's form actually mean to the people who live there? What can the city planner do to make the city's image more vivid and memorable to the city dweller? To answer these questions, Mr. Lynch, supported by studies of Los Angeles, Boston, and Jersey City, formulates a new criterion--imageability--and shows its potential value as a guide for the building and rebuilding of cities. The wide scope of this study leads to an original and vital method for the evaluation of city form. The architect, the planner, and certainly the city dweller will all want to read this book.
Criticism on the textual and iconographic construction of the city is extensive, yet the problem of historical change in representations of "the urban" has received little attention. Believing traditional accounts are limited by their reflection of a specific historical moment, Joan Ramon Resina and Dieter Ingenschay focus, by contrast, on transition. In essays written for this volume, scholars of literary and visual studies, the history of architecture, cultural theory, and urban geography explore the ways perceptual or conceptual paradigms of the city supersede or replace others, while at the same time retaining the "after-image" of what went before. The writers touch on a wide variety of issues related to contemporary urban cultures as they journey through cities including New York, Barcelona, Madrid, Paris, Tijuana, Berlin, and London. Drawing on the work of Roland Barthes, Walter Benjamin, Camilo José Cela, Honoré de Balzac, and Alfred Stieglitz, their approach is broadly cultural rather than technical. After-Images of the City takes into account the intrinsic instability of the image and reveals that representations of the modern metropolis cannot be fixed in time and history.
When Williams died in 1945 there remained a number of essays which had appeared in periodicals and elsewhere, many of which contain important statements of his ideas. A selection of these is compiled in this volume. (Christian)

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