Didactic prose and complex theorizing make for a tough slog, but it’s worth it for the author’s positive perspective on an...



Urbanist Brugmann (Business and Environment/Cambridge Univ.) proposes a transformation in the way we view our cities.

“The City,” as defined in this academic text, is “a single, complex, connected, and still very unstable urban system” spreading across the entire planet. Growing metropolitan areas will add two billion to their populations in the next 25 years. Many of their future inhabitants will be transients abandoning rural life to forge new opportunities. In these environments, all residents have the “urban advantage” of density, scale, association and extension. Using these variables, communities naturally form ecosystems of interrelation, affecting not only their immediate locales, but also the integrated whole: “The City.” Thus, migrant populations find ways to flourish regardless of public authority’s exclusion of them from the civic structure, and the effects of their contributions are felt far and wide. The author provides several examples to defend his theories, from Dharavi, a thriving slum of disenfranchised newcomers within Mumbai, to the spread of the Los Angeles gang MS-13 throughout the United States and into Central America. While these examples are pertinent and initially absorbing, the details often become exhausting after a few pages. At the heart of Brugmann’s text is his argument that we must shape urbanism for the new millennium by incorporating all of an area’s citizens. The book’s middle section outlines some common models that stall forward progress, including capitalist and political disjointedness (“Cities of Crisis”) and narrow, single-project planning that fails to account for the metropolis as a whole (“Great Opportunities Cities”). Finally, the author addresses his ideal scenario: “The Strategic City,” shaped by a common, steadily evolving vision. His examples are Chicago, Barcelona and Curitiba, Brazil. These organic “citysystems” employ different techniques to define their paths, from Curitiba’s progressive officials to Chicago’s bottom-up restructuring, but each succeeds in crafting all-encompassing tactics to take the metropolises in distinct new directions.

Didactic prose and complex theorizing make for a tough slog, but it’s worth it for the author’s positive perspective on an extremely broad and challenging issue.

Pub Date: May 1, 2009

ISBN: 978-1-59691-556-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2009

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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