A History of Future Cities

A History of Future Cities

Daniel Brook


One of The Washington Post's "Favorite Books of 2013"

A pioneering exploration of 4 towns the place East meets West and earlier turns into destiny: St. Petersburg, Shanghai, Mumbai, and Dubai.

each month, 5 million humans stream from the prior to the long run. Pouring into developing-world “instant towns” like Dubai and Shenzhen, those city newbies confront a latest international cobbled jointly from fragments of a West they've got by no means obvious. Do those fantastical boomtowns, the place blueprints spring to existence in a single day on virgin land, signify the dawning of a courageous new global? Or is their vaunted newness a mirage?

In a charming mixture of background and reportage, Daniel Brook travels to a chain of significant metropolitan hubs that have been as soon as themselves rapid towns― St. Petersburg, Shanghai, and Mumbai―to watch their “dress rehearsals for the twenty-first century.” figuring out today’s rising worldwide order, he argues, calls for comprehending the West’s profound and conflicted effect on developing-world towns over the centuries.

In 1703, Tsar Peter the good individually oversaw the development of a brand new Russian capital, a “window at the West” rigorously modeled on Amsterdam, that he believed could wrench Russia into the fashionable global. within the 19th century, Shanghai grew to become the fastest-growing urban in the world because it mushroomed into an English-speaking, Western-looking city that simply occurred to be within the a long way East. in the meantime, Bombay, the cosmopolitan hub of the British Raj, morphed right into a tropical London by the hands of its pith-helmeted imperialists.

Juxtaposing the tales of the architects and authoritarians, the artists and revolutionaries who seized the reins to remodel every one of those precociously glossy areas into avatars of the worldwide destiny, Brook demonstrates that the force for modernization was once firstly conflated with wholesale Westernization. He exhibits, too, the ambiguous legacy of that emulation―the delivery (and rebirth) of chinese language capitalism in Shanghai, the origins of Bollywood in Bombay’s American-style motion picture palaces, the flamable mixture of innovative tradition and politics that rocked the Russian capital―and the way it can be transcended today.

A interesting, vibrant glance from the previous out towards the horizon, A background of destiny Cities is either a very important reminder of globalization’s lengthy march and an inspiring inspect the chances of our Asian Century.

12 illustrations; four maps

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