Cities and Design (Paperback) book cover

Cities and Design

By Paul L. Knox

© 2010 – Routledge

282 pages | 69 B/W Illus.

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About the Book

Cities, initially a product of the manufacturing era, have been thoroughly remade in the image of consumer society. Competitive spending among affluent households has intensified the importance of style and design at every scale and design professions have grown in size and importance, reflecting distinctive geographies and locating disproportionately in cities most intimately connected with global systems of key business services. Meanwhile, many observers still believe good design can make positive contributions to people’s lives.

Cities and Design explores the complex relationships between design and urban environments. It traces the intellectual roots of urban design, presents a critical appraisal of the imprint and effectiveness of design professions in shaping urban environments, examines the role of design in the material culture of contemporary cities, and explores the complex linkages among designers, producers and distributors in contemporary cities, for example: fashion and graphic design in New York; architecture, fashion and publishing in London; furniture, industrial design, interior design and fashion in Milan; haute couture in Paris and so on.

This book offers a distinctive social science perspective on the economic and cultural context of design in contemporary cities, presenting cities themselves as settings for design, design services and the ‘affect’ associated with design.


'At last, a book that analyses the many ways in which design, in all its manifestations, shapes cities and the ways they are experienced. Rich in historical and contemporary examples and theoretically astute, Knox’s text provides a nuanced and informative critique that will be plundered by students and lecturers from a wide range of academic fields.' Professor Guy Julier, Leeds Metropolitan University

'Paul Knox’s book provides a comprehensive and thoughtful look at how design, in its many forms, is not just a physical but also a social and economic force shaping our cities. Drawing from a wealth of historical and contemporary material, he conveys this thesis coherently and convincingly. Knox unpacks the many diverse players and variables that symbiotically interact to produce our 21st century design and consumption oriented cities. He demonstrates that this increased emphasis on design has produced a distinctly new urban form.' Professor Elizabeth Currid-Halkett, University of Southern California

Table of Contents

Part 1: Introduction 1. Cities, Design and Urban Life 2. Design, Designers and the Resurgent Metropolis Part 2: The Intentional City 3. Better by Design? Historical Antecedents 4. The City Redesigned: Modernity, Effeciency and Equity 5. Design for New Sensibilities Part 3: Designer Cities 6. Design and Affect in Urban Spaces 7. Design Services and The City 8. Conclusion: Towards Liveability and Sustainability

About the Author

Paul Knox is University Distinguished Professor and Senior Fellow for International Advancement at Virginia Tech, where he was Dean of the College of Architecture and Urban Studies from 1997 to 2006. He has published widely on urban social geography and economic geography.

About the Series

Routledge Critical Introductions to Urbanism and the City

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
ARCHITECTURE / Design, Drafting, Drawing & Presentation
ARCHITECTURE / Urban & Land Use Planning
SCIENCE / Earth Sciences / Geography
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Human Geography
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / Urban