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1st Edition

Coffee, the Café and the 21st-Century City

ISBN 9781138367920
Published December 13, 2018 by Routledge
190 Pages

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Book Description

Café culture is flourishing in cities across the world. From London to Seoul, Melbourne to Shanghai and many cities in between, people are flocking to cafés. A recent phenomenon, café culture has made its reappearance only since the end of the 20th century. What is the appeal of the café for urban dwellers? And why now? ‘Having a coffee’ might be a daily ritual, yet it is more than coffee that draws us to the café. Cafés are vital social spaces, technically connected workspaces, and businesses that are forging design and food trends.

The café is the lens through which this book explores major changes occurring in everyday life in cities across the world. Urban regeneration has fuelled the growth of urban amenity and social consumer spaces. The impact of technology, social and workplace transformation, and the ascendency of the design and food industries all find expression in the spaces of the cafe. The specialty coffee movement is a thriving, global presence, uniting café staff and customers across geographical borders, with a shared commitment to the connoisseurship of coffee.

In the book’s global sweep, it examines the development of café culture in China, Japan and Australia as significant and interesting departures from traditional European café culture. Australia is a world leader and successful exporter of its unique style of coffee and food. Interviews with café patrons and staff illuminate why the café has become a meaningful place for many people in the 21st-century city.

Table of Contents


1. The Café and the City

2. The Café: Sociality and Community from Both Sides of the Counter

3. Coffee Business

4. The Exported Café: Australia

5. Cafés in Asia: Japan

6. Café Culture in Mainland China and Hong Kong

7. Ambience, Atmosphere and Design

8. Wired and Working: Technology, Work and the Café

Afterword: A Heady Brew

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Emma Felton is Senior Lecturer in the Creative Industries Faculty at Queensland University of Technology. She has written widely about urban experience from interdisciplinary perspectives, including gender and design approaches. She is co-author and editor of the book Design and Ethics: Reflections on Practice (Routledge, 2012).