Urban Theory – John Rennie Short


It’s hard to find good books about the city and urbanism. The market is saturated with popular glossy-looking books, dealing with interesting subjects such as globalization, terrorism, new media and so and so forth. However, they generally fail to put these developments in a historical and theoretical perspective.

So I was quite thrilled to find Urban theory, a critical assessment, by John Rennie Short. The book doesn’t dig deep into any issues, its strong point is the discursive overview of urban theories. Rennie describes the most important discussions regarding the city, starting with theorists such as Benjamin, Simmel and Howard in Modernism, and Soja, Lefebvre and Dear in Postmodernism and further discusses issues such as globalization, immigration, control and politics in the city.

It’s a pleasant and easy read; a must-have hand book on the city, comprehensive and gripping. So please, don’t judge this book by its cover, because that requires some critical assessment as well…

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