Remaking Cities (Routledge Revivals): Contradictions of the Recent Urban Environment (Hardback) book cover

Remaking Cities (Routledge Revivals)

Contradictions of the Recent Urban Environment

By Alison Ravetz

© 2013 – Routledge

364 pages

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Paperback: 9780415855952
pub: 2014-11-13
Hardback: 9780415844444
pub: 2013-04-12
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This book, published in 1980, is an iconoclastic account of one of the pillars of the welfare state, British town and country planning, between 1945 and 1975. Always a fine balance between central control and market forces, it was challenged by strains within and between the environmental professions and protest by people dispossessed or alienated by re-shaped urban environments. Remaking Cities critiques the export of western-style planning to the developing world and reviews initiatives rooted in different understandings of ‘growth’ appearing in those years.

Nearly forty years on, many of the same issues beset us, notably the depressingly familiar inner city problem, despite countless reports, funds and ‘programmes’. But now our infrastructure and services, once publicly owned, are privatised and fragmented, and local government progressively relegated. The very core of planning, development control, is being pared in a struggle to regain the ‘growth’ which led to our current crisis. This gives fresh importance to the need for new modes of creating liveable, sustainable environments, emphasised in this important work.


'Alison Ravetz has written an epitaph to contemporary planning theory and building technology and anyone remotely concerned with these professions is unlikely to sleep peacefully again after reading her indictment' New Scientist

'It is with a sense of admiration and no little relief that one reads Alison Ravetz's work about the remaking of the British urban environment. With this book she has confirmd her earlier reputation of a careful scholar, a sharp observer and meticulous writer; her book is penetrating, balanced and richly rewarding. It is a trenchant criticism of things gone wrong, but finally creative rather than destructive' - Built Environment

'… a highly original and thought-provoking text and one which furthers our understanding of planning in a most useful way' - Planning

'… a remarkably lucid and well-organised history, illuminated and extraordinary nuggets of illustration from what planners and politicians actually said at the time … The book is highly recommended, it is eminently readable, and it deserves to be read widely by students and practitioners of planning' - Town and Country Planning

'As a critique of what has been happening to the built environment since the last war this is one of the best books I have encountered: readable, suitably synoptic and devastatingly accurate in its analysis … It ought to be required reading in the redoubts of the planning and architectural professions' - Municipal Journal

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements; List of Abbreviations; Introduction; Part I: The Creation of a Style of Planning 1. Phoenix Rising: the Creation of Statutory Planning in the 1940s 2. Principles and Images of Statutory Planning: the Inevitability of the Style; Part II: The Application of the Style: the Segregated City 3. The Failure of the 1940s Planning System: the Contradiction of Land Values and Development 4. Restructuring the City in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s: the Parameters 5. The Segregated City; Part III: Agents and Agencies of the Built Environment 6. The Technology of the Built Environment: the Crisis in Building After 1945 7. Controlling the Environment: the Environmental Professions and Their Crises 8. The Export of Planning: Western Planning in the Ex-colonial World 9. Experiencing the Environment: People, Place and Space; Conclusions to Parts Two and Three: Criticism of a Style of Planning: the Transition to a New Consciousness; Part IV: Cities in Crisis: Coping with the Contradictions 10 The Urban Crisis, the Planning Crisis, and Alternatives to Development 11. Coping with the Contradictions: the World in a New Light; Bibliography; Index

About the Series

Routledge Revivals

Are there elusive titles that you need and have been trying to source for years but thought that you would never be able to find?

Well this may be the end of your quest – here is a fantastic opportunity for you to discover past brilliance and purchase previously out of print and unavailable titles by some of the world’s most eminent academic scholars.

Drawing from over 100 years of innovative, cutting-edge, publishing Routledge Revivals is an exciting new programme whereby key titles from the distinguished and extensive backlist of the many acclaimed imprints associated with Routledge will be re-issued.

The programme draws upon the illustrious backlists of Kegan Paul, Trench & Trubner, Routledge & Kegan Paul, Methuen, Allen & Unwin and Routledge itself.

Routledge Revivals spans the whole of the Humanities and Social Sciences, and includes works by some of the world’s greatest thinkers including Emile Durkheim, Max Weber, Simone Weil, Martin Buber, Karl Jaspers and Max Beloff.

If you are interested in Revivals in the Behavioral Sciences, please visit

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Human Geography
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / Urban