BABYLON TO BRASILIA: The Challenge of City Planning by Carl E. Hiller

BABYLON TO BRASILIA: The Challenge of City Planning

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KIRKUS REVIEW

This is the best introduction yet to the complex and controversial topic of city planning. A photographic essay on urban ills and a brief review of ""factors which must be considered by planners"" (land use, circulation, recreation, aesthetics, etc.) preface a series of more or less visionary designs ranging from L'Enfant's plan for Washington, D.C. to Buckminster Fuller's dream of a mile high dome over midtown Manhattan. The selection of plans tends to emphasize grand projects such as Le Corbusier's Chandigarh and the new towns of Tapiola, Finland and Reston, Virginia, but urban renewal projects -- including Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and New York's Battery Park -- are represented. Plans which demonstrate diametrically opposed approaches are treated with even-handed optimism; there is no incisive criticism (of Brasilia, we are told only that it needs to develop ""that lived-in 'look that can spell the difference between a handsome shell and a human organism""). Hiller's main concern is not with practical complexities but with the basic theory of urban design, and he has compiled a diverse and stimulating sampling of conceptual approaches.

Pub Date: April 20th, 1972
Publisher: Little, Brown