In this sweeping study, one of the world's leading thinkers about the urban environment traces the anguished relation between how cities are built and how people live in them, from ancient Athens to twenty-first-century Shanghai. Richard Sennett shows how Paris, Barcelona and New York City assumed their modern forms; rethinks the reputations of Jane Jacobs, Lewis Mumford and others; and takes us on a tour of emblematic contemporary locations, from the backstreets of MedellYn, Colombia, to the Google headquarters in Manhattan.
Through it all, he shows how the 'closed city' - segregated, regimented, and controlled - has spread from the global North to the exploding urban agglomerations of the global South. As an alternative, he argues for the 'open city,' where citizens actively hash out their differences and planners experiment with urban forms that make it easier for residents to cope. Rich with arguments that speak directly to our moment - a time when more humans live in urban spaces than ever before - Building and Dwelling draws on Sennett's deep learning and intimate engagement with city life to form a bold and original vision for the future of cities.
About the Author
Richard Sennett's previous books include The Fall of Public Man, Flesh and Stone and Respect, as well as the two previous volumes in his Homo Faber trilogy, The Craftsman and Together. He was founder director of the New York Institute for the Humanities and now teaches urban studies at the London School of Economics and at Harvard University, and researches labor relations in Columbia University's Center for Capitalism and Society. He has won the Amalfi and Ebert prizes for sociology and in 2006 was awarded the Hegel Prize by the City of Stuttgart.
Constantly stimulating ... a lateish-life appraisal of what Richard Sennett has read, written and, most vitally, witnessed on the street or in the marketplace in the tradition of the sharp-eyed, sharp-nosed flaneur taking in every sensation -- Jonathan Meades * Guardian *
Sennett leavens the big ideas with snapshots of real life. ... It reads like a summation of a life lived in cities and is, ultimately, a paean to their unpredictability, a call for tolerance and a celebration of difference -- Edwin Heathcote * Financial Times *
He has brought to the study of urban life a perception that includes literature, philosophy, art, sociology and economics, as well as his personal experiences -- Rowan Moore * Observer *
Distils into a single volume his thoughts on how urban design shapes the ways in which we relate to one another ... Sennett is as passionate as ever about the richness and complexity of public life ... The nub of Building and Dwelling is that the open city is a demanding place ... one that requires us to embrace difference, even if we do not identify with it. Typically idealistic, typically urbane [it is] well-timed for the disputes of our day -- Justin McGuirk * New Yorker *
Richard Sennett is a thoughtful writer with far-ranging interests and a keen eye for hidden patterns and complex processes that may escape the casual observer. He has always been a pleasure to read. His first book, The Uses of Disorder, published almost 50 years ago (1970), was a reflection on the value of anti-authoritarian or anti-hierarchical "anarchy" in city life, and his new book, his 15th, is a more elaborate, and more sophisticated, take on his original insights. -- Shlomo Angel * Wall Street Journal *
No one knows more than he about cities and the efforts that have been made over the past two centuries to order and plan them to make them more liveable for their inhabitants. It is this eternally problematic relationship between the city's form - buildings, streets, highways, transport networks - and the quality of collective life it can offer its citizens, that has been at the heart of his life-long project as an urbanist and practising planner. -- Jerry White * Times Literary Supplement *
Brilliant ... Essential reading for all students of the city -- Anna Minton * Prospect *