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Preserving the World's Great Cities: The Destruction and Renewal of the Historic Metropolis chapter 1 Preserving the World's Great Cities: The Destruction and Renewal of the Historic Metropolis, meaning Preserving the World's Great Cities: The Destruction and Renewal of the Historic Metropolis, genre Preserving the World's Great Cities: The Destruction and Renewal of the Historic Metropolis, book cover Preserving the World's Great Cities: The Destruction and Renewal of the Historic Metropolis, flies Preserving the World's Great Cities: The Destruction and Renewal of the Historic Metropolis, Preserving the World's Great Cities: The Destruction and Renewal of the Historic Metropolis 84f8e9db0f9fa Both Epic And Intimate, This Is The Story Of The Fight To Save The World S Architectural And Cultural Heritage As It Is Embodied In The Extraordinary Buildings And Urban Spaces Of The Great Cities Of Asia, The Americas, And Europe Never Before Have The Complexities And Dramas Of Urban Preservation Been As Keenly Documented As In Preserving The World S Great Cities In Researching This Important Work, Anthony Tung Traveled Throughout The World To Visit Remarkable Buildings And Districts In China, Italy, Greece, The US Japan, And Elsewhere Everywhere He Found Both The Devastating Legacy Of War, Economics, And Indifference And The Accomplishments Of People Who Have Worked And Sometimes Risked Their Lives To Preserve And Renew The Most Meaningful Urban Expressions Of The Human SpiritFrom Singapore S Blind Rush To Become The Most Modern City Of The East To Warsaw S Poignant And Heroic Effort To Resurrect Itself From The Nazis Systematic Campaign Of Physical And Cultural Obliteration, From New York And Rome To Kyoto And Cairo, We See The City As An Expression Of The Best And Worst Within Us This Is Essential Reading For Fans Of Jane Jacobs And Witold Rybczynski And Everyone Who Is Concerned About Urban Preservation From The Hardcover Edition

10 thoughts on “Preserving the World's Great Cities: The Destruction and Renewal of the Historic Metropolis

  1. says:

    In March of 1995 author Anthony M Tung journeyed to 22 of the world s greatest cities in order to study how architectural preservation had failed and succeeded in some of the most artistically and historically significant urban areas around the globe Having served for many years as a member of New York City s Landmarks Preservation Commission, Tung sought to understand how the complex issue of urban conservation was handled around the world and to gather in one book a body of very basic information about this practice.Until the 20th century, each new stage of architecture and construction referred substantially to previous stages in Western culture, there was a direct aesthetic line connecting the architecture of classical Greece, imperial Rome, the Romanesque period, the Renaissance, the Baroque, the Rocco, and all forms of classical revival that followed, with even divergent traditions like French Gothic or English Tudor making use of common architectonic elements Cities tended to be harmonious, each new generation of buildings blending with older buildings to a great degree.In the 20th century however, many age old aesthetic traditions were abruptly discarded by a modern, new, jarring architecture, built often at vastly different scales than older buildings, of completely different materials, built with new methods, buildings that were consciously designed to have a complete lack of relationship with the previous continuum of form In Cairo for instance skylines once dominated by domes and minarets of mosques are now ruled by looming massive hotels Massive gray residential slabs now dominate the remaining parts of historic Moscow In some cases, as in New York, new buildings were built over and around preserved historic buildings, making them appear toy like and ridiculous Further, these buildings of alien scale and design often hopelessly fractured any urban architectural harmony, often forever, as what was destroyed can either never be replaced or only replaced at great financial, legal, political, and economic cost.Older cities of handcrafted buildings, made of natural materials from the immediate environment of the city, reflecting the historical values and physical characteristics of unique urban cultures Tung wrote now constitute a finite resource from a closed period of human cultural evolution Much of the unique architecture of the world s great cities ancient Roman ruins, the cross cultural traditions of Singaporean pernanakan architecture, buildings that show a great specialness of place is still in danger in many places of being replaced by a global monoculture, of older unique buildings being replaced by comparatively poorly constructed structures that are generic in design and that differ little in response to local environmental and social surroundings.Why were older buildings replaced War certainly plays a factor as might be expected, though by and large Tung feels that city residents themselves are responsible for building replacement Sometimes older handcrafted buildings are replaced for what were laudable reasons, such as slum clearance, attempts to give the poor a better quality of life, though often irreplaceable but fixable buildings were demolished rather than rehabilitated Some cities, such as Vienna, Charleston, and Amsterdam which are detailed at length , bucked this trend, either saving old buildings or constructing new public housing with a conscious effort to maintain local architectural traditions More often than not though making money was the goal speculative real estate and construction in the name of progress fractured urban landscapes, as out of scale skyscrapers thrust into the London skyline and ugly hotels of poor artistry were erected in Cairo.Sometimes destruction or replacement of older handcrafted buildings seemed nearly unavoidable Kyoto for instance, largely spared bombing in World War II, for centuries a city with buildings comprised of shoji sliding walls of light wood frames covered by translucent paper and tatami rectilinear straw mats of standardized dimensions that covered the floors , were rapidly being replaced post war by modern Western buildings that could easily accommodate such innovations as modern plumbing and electricity Tung related how this culture of destruction is being reversed, efforts in this regard aided by uniquely Asian views of preservation often times ancient buildings are wood and are partially or wholly rebuilt periodically, the emphasis often in China and Japan on preserving the original form not as in Europe or America the original material and permanence Japanese buildings were traditionally built to withstand natural disasters and wars by being flexible and if destroyed by being easily rebuilt.Sometimes architectural preservation or destruction was dictated not by war or by progress but by ideology The Third Reich demolished the landmarks of Warsaw as a punitive action against the Poles, Nazi architects purposely identifying key Warsaw buildings and purposefully destroying them additionally many were destroyed in actual combat As an act of defiance, Polish architects risked their lives and quite a few perished for their efforts to document this heritage before it was destroyed, hiding plans and documents during the Nazi occupation and then completely rebuilding the city as an act of remembrance.Tung recounted many successes in his book as well as failures What are the common denominators in successful preservation Clearly economic underdevelopment causes decay and destruction of historic assets In a detailed chapter on Cairo, Tung discussed how the city s massive problems posed by skyrocketing population growth, extensive poverty, and an endemic culture of illegal settlement and corrupt, byzantine bureaucracy have caused residents to perceive conservation as a lesser priority and have created unique environmental challenges to the city s priceless Muslim architecture thanks to air pollution and a rising water table Citizens of cities have to have in addition to the means of preserving the city a will to do so while many of the historic districts of New York were listed and are protected thanks to the efforts of the residents of those areas, Venice, despite widespread international support, is decaying as fewer and fewer Venetians actually live in the historic city, not only affecting city politics and budgets as residents of the historic city lose clout to those outside the historic city but by simply not being present to provide such upkeep.

  2. says:

    Very interesting and carefully executed look at the rise, fall, and resurrection of the worlds cities The parts I found most interesting are the eternal tensions between economic growth and displacement, especially when it comes to cities still dealing with the legacies of imperialism Super fascinating.

  3. says:

    When I first showed this book to my Dad, he asked if Delhi or Lahore were covered in the book Surprised, I promptly went through the index to find they weren t My Dad expressed his surprise which is when I started reading the book, a few weeks ago In between reading about history of Bombay as the premier British colonial administrative city, I was constantly looking for comparison between any other cities mentioned in this book Sure enough, architecture and heritage preservation of cities don t just exist without their cultural and social histories This is a great resource book I immensely loved reading the historical and anthropological details I could sense the painstaking research done by the author Here in India, we don t have such a book that documents conservation of our ancient cities I am inspired and wish to write one now after reading Mr Tung s massive documentation.

  4. says:

    Each chapter focuses on a city or pair of cities, such as Moscow Bejing It starts with a concise historical background of the city, and weaves the architectural discussion into the history Major changes are described up to the present day.Tung makes a well reasoned plea for historical preservation, and grapples with difficult questions such as the competition between preservation and livability A remarkable book for anyone interested in the history of cities, or architecture, or any of the cities covered in the book.

  5. says:

    Preserving the World s Great Cities is a remarkable overview of how the architectural patrimony of cities is shaped Tung weaves history and social analysis to examine what people preserve, or, perhaps often, do not preserve A book of this scope necessitates broad strokes, but Tung s analysis is consistently pointed and revealing.

  6. says:

    Anthony M Tung has done something for which I don t think he received credit or reviews He has incisively summarized the ways in which the 19th 20th Centuries slammed into centuries of urban history He shows the destruction, loss, and upheaval Each city he considers is represented a capsule history It s the best thing that I ve read about preservation around the world.

  7. says:

    my bible

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