THE HIGHWAY AND THE CITY by Lewis Mumford

THE HIGHWAY AND THE CITY

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KIRKUS REVIEW

There should, perhaps, be a subtitle -- And Other Essays- for this provocative volume of pieces, some dating back to 1953, many of which have appeared in The New Yorker-but never before brought together in book form. While the motor car as a major problem in modern city planning is a recurrent factor, it serves very loosely to hold together essays which cover a wide range of related subjects on architecture, rehabilitation of Europe's bombed- areas, war monuments, the direction of modern design (or more precisely its lack of direction), and so on. For this reader Part I, on what is happening in various sections of Europe, was more interesting than Part II- the U.S. The London County Council gets full recognition for some of their creative thinking, particularly on the New Towns project; Rotterdam is credited with spirited resourceful planning; the weaknesses in both areas are ""borrowed"" from the U.S. and both have much to teach us. Le Corbusier is a recurrent factor in modern architecture, and his right about face is specifically noted. Again he turns to England- with enlightening analysis of Coventry's extraordinary achievement in preserving historical continuity while creating a culturally rich, modern city. Some of the architects of today are given close attention -- their achievements noted -- the dangers in the pressures of today's cities indicated. In the part devoted to U.S. A. There seems to be more attention given to our shortcomings than to fresh concepts, tragic performance (Guggenheim Museum, our Embassy buildings, the ""destruction"" of the Pennsylvania Station, the Narrows Bridge project and so on)- than to the achievements. All in all, worth reading in its special field.

Pub Date: April 10th, 1963
ISBN: 0313227470
Publisher: Harcourt, Brace & World