Cities without Cities: An Interpretation of the Zwischenstadt

Cities without Cities: An Interpretation of the Zwischenstadt

Cities without Cities: An Interpretation of the Zwischenstadt

Cities without Cities: An Interpretation of the Zwischenstadt

Synopsis

This book investigates the characteristics of today's built environment: no longer a city but large numbers of development clusters, linked by transport routes. The book provides a better understanding of this new type of urban form.

Excerpt

'Zwischenstadt', the German title of this book, has become a common term in the public discussion of urban form and structure in German-speaking countries. The title is difficult to translate. Therefore, it might be helpful for the English-speaking reader to link the book to the Anglo-Saxon discussion of urban affairs. Essentially, the book deals with the discrepancy between urban reality and prevailing ideologies of what a European city should be. It calls upon the reader to take reality seriously and be careful with criticisms rooted in an ideological concept of the city.

In Britain, the discrepancy between new realities and old theoretical concepts is quite old. In 1902, more than a hundred years ago, H. G. Wells predicted the emergence of a new type of city in the second chapter, 'The Probable Diffusion of Cities', of his book Anticipations. His prediction meets our present reality in an astonishing way: 'these coming cities will not be, in the old sense, cities at all; they will present a new and entirely different phase of human distribution'. Towards the end of the chapter he predicts:

the city will diffuse itself until it has taken up considerable areas and many of the characteristics, the greenness, the fresh air, of what is now country, [and this] leads us to suppose also that the country will take to itself many of the qualities of the city. The old antithesis will indeed cease, the boundary lines will altogether disappear; it will become, indeed, merely a question of more or less populous. There will be horticulture and agriculture going on within the 'urban regions', and 'urbanity' without them. Everywhere, indeed, over the land of the globe between the frozen circles, the railway and the new

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