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Cities by Design: The Social Life of Urban Form




Cities by Design: The Social Life of Urban Form

Fran Tonkiss

ISBN: 978-0-745-64898-9 December 2013 Polity 224 Pages

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Who makes our cities, and what part do everyday users have in the design of cities? This book powerfully shows that city-making is a social process and examines the close relationship between the social and physical shaping of urban environments.

With cities taking a growing share of the global population, urban forms and urban experience are crucial for understanding social injustice, economic inequality and environmental challenges. Current processes of urbanization too often contribute to intensifying these problems; cities, likewise, will be central to the solutions to such problems. Focusing on a range of cities in developed and developing contexts, Cities by Design highlights major aspects of contemporary urbanization: urban growth, density and sustainability; inequality, segregation and diversity; informality, environment and infrastructure.

Offering keen insights into how the shaping of our cities is shaping our lives, Cities by Design provides a critical exploration of key issues and debates that will be invaluable to students and scholars in sociology and geography, environmental and urban studies, architecture, urban design and planning.

Acknowledgements vii

1 Introduction: Cities by Design 1

2 The Social Life of Urban Form: Size, Density, Diversity 26

3 Unequal Cities, Segregated Spaces 60

4 The Contradictions of Informality 91

5 Urban Environments: Ecology, Inequity, Mobility 113

6 Infrastructure as 'Design Politics' 138

7 Afterword: The Possible City 159

References 178

Index 201

"She brings to the fore a wealth of research from design, planning, and development studies and offers for her own part a compelling view of urban form and place making that complicates common assumptions—in sociology and planning alike—about the nature of cities in the 21st century."
American Journal of Sociology

"A momentous work of uncommon intelligence and clarity that packs a powerful political punch."
Morning Star

''Finally, a book on urban design that gets close to the formal and informal practices, the material, social and virtual matter, and the deliberate and deliberative impulses that make and unmake cities. Fran Tonkiss offers a whole new repertoire of possibilities to help fashion the liveable and democratic city.''
Ash Amin, University of Cambridge

''Tonkiss is among the most insightfully spatial of urban sociologists and uses this social-spatial acuity to re-design urban design as “the social life of urban form”. Cities by Design re-opens the old claim that urban design can become a convergent focus for critical thinking and effective practice across all disciplines and professions. Tonkiss applies her expanded vision of design to such controversial issues as density and sprawl, inequality and injustice, segregation and diversity, ordinary urbanism and informality, environmental racism and sustainability, never losing touch with practical, political, and policy implications.''
Edward Soja, UCLA

Very clearly written textbook that explores the social design of cities
Covers the key aspects of contemporary urbanization that are shaping this field of study, such as sustainability and urban growth
Highlights the crucial role cities play in addressing current concerns such as environmental challenges, economic inequality and social injustice
Uses insightful examples from around the globe to ground the discussion in real-world situations