Sustaining Cities: Urban Policies, Practices, and Perceptions

By Linda Krause | Go to book overview

INTRODUCTION

Linda Krause

In one of my favorite Gary Larson cartoons, a distant mushroom cloud looms and cars jam the street as people flee the conflagration. Unfazed, a dog focuses on what’s in front of his nose. “And then Jake saw something that captured his attention.”1 From my experience with selectively attentive canines, this rings true. And it is also true for the many human Jakes for whom urban matters are at best peripheral. But this human inattention is changing. Now that cities are facing the combined disasters of failing infrastructure, devalued housing, and high unemployment, the question arises: how can cities survive? Sustaining Cities offers a collection of essays that focus our attention on current urban problems while suggesting how they can be solved. And the essays reveal how urban planners, architects, novelists, and filmmakers tap the unique and complex character of cities in these tumultuous times.

In 2003, the Global Cities volume in this series examined globalization’s effect on cinema, architecture and urbanism.2Sustaining Cities likewise views cities through a multidisciplinary lens. The intervening years have provided a lengthened perspective with which to judge the impact of global phenomena. Here, the essays are grouped in sections covering urban policies, practices, and perceptions, respectively, yet the volume encourages readers to create new cross-disciplinary connections. Indeed, forging new

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