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Book Cover for: What Cities Say: A Social Interpretation of Urban Patterns and Forms, Emily Talen

What Cities Say: A Social Interpretation of Urban Patterns and Forms

Emily Talen

Cities come in all shapes and sizes, with different patterns and forms. Streets might be strictly gridded or curvilinear. Buildings might be tightly packed or spread out. Patterns and forms might reflect the highest aspirations, or they might simply be responses to mundane, utilitarian needs. So what do cities "say" about a society? What do patterns and forms reveal about social priorities and cultural preferences, or about who has power and who does not?

In What Cities Say, Emily Talen provides a wide-ranging yet concise synthesis of the fundamental drivers of built form, its social and cultural meaning, and how we should interpret it. Including thirty-five distinct city patterns and forms, Talen develops a language of interpretation to understand the motive and meaning behind the city and its elements. Talen argues that meaning is often implicit, and even if it's more explicit, it is woven in haphazardly through city planning texts in often contradictory ways. To cut through the noise and ambiguity, she focuses on the persistent themes that inhere in built pattern and form, whether for complete cities or individual places. She makes ample use of digital resources to render these interpretations in explicit terms. By exposing these meanings, Talen asserts that we will be in a stronger position to articulate, and argue for, the kinds of cities we want. Richly illustrated and tightly presented, What Cities Say is essential reading for anyone interested in the values and ideas that serve as the foundation of how we construct our cities.

Book Details

  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publish Date: Jul 23rd, 2024
  • Pages: 352
  • Language: English
  • Dimensions: 0.00in - 0.00in - 0.00in - 0.00lb
  • EAN: 9780197647776
  • Categories: Public Policy - City Planning & Urban DevelopmentHistory & Theory - GeneralSociology - Urban

About the Author

Emily Talen is Professor of Urbanism at the University of Chicago, where she teaches urban design and directs the Urbanism Lab. She is a Fellow of the American Institute of Certified Planners, and the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship. Talen has written extensively on the topics of urban design, New Urbanism, and social equity. Her books include New Urbanism and American Planning; Design for Diversity; Urban Design Reclaimed; City Rules; and Neighborhood.

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