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The City Shaped

Urban Patterns and Meanings Through History

Spiro Kostof

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A fascinating resource for the historical development of urban fabrics around the world - essential reading for architects and town planners


Published to overwhelming critical acclaim, this classic study of cities explains how and why cities — among the most enduring and remarkable of all human artefacts — took the shape they did.

Professor Kostof focuses on a number of themes — organic patterns, the grid, the city as diagram, the grand manner, and the skyline — and interprets the hidden order of urban patterns.

Photographs, historical views and specially commissioned drawings vividly depict a global mosaic of citybuilding: the shaping of medieval Siena; the creation of New Delhi as the crown of the Raj, the remodelling of Moscow as the self-styled capital of world socialism and the transformation of the skyline as religious and civic symbols yield to the towers of corporate business. This is an enthralling book, of vital interest to architects, planners and social historians.

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'Magnificent… a formidable task indeed but one that Kostof proves he is equal to'
Landscape History

'Splendidly illustrated, vividly written'
Architects Journal

Product Information

Book Details

Format: Paperback

Size: 25.4 x 22.8 cm

Extent: 352 pp

Illustrations: 352

Publication date: 8 March 1999

ISBN: 9780500280997

About the Author

Spiro Konstantine Kostof was a leading architectural historian, and professor at the University of California, Berkeley. His books continue to be widely read and many are routinely used in collegiate courses on architectural history.

List of Contributors

Richard Tobias