1st Edition

The Routledge Companion to Twentieth and Early Twenty-First Century Urban Design A History of Shifting Manifestoes, Paradigms, Generic Solutions, and Specific Designs

By Jon Lang Copyright 2021
    448 Pages 413 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    448 Pages 413 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    The Routledge Companion to Twentieth and Early Twenty-First Century Urban Design is a fully illustrated descriptive and explanatory history of the development of urban design ideas and paradigms of the past 150 years. The ideas and projects, hypothetical and built, range in scale from the city to the urban block level. The focus is on where the generic ideas originated, the projects that were designed following their precepts, the functions they address and/or afford, and what we can learn from them.

    The morphology of a city—its built environment—evolves unselfconsciously as private and governmental investors self-consciously erect buildings and infrastructure in a pragmatic, piecemeal manner to meet their own ends. Philosophers, novelists, architects, and social scientists have produced myriad ideas about the nature of the built environment that they consider to be superior to those forms resulting from a laissez-faire attitude to urban development.

    Rationalist theorists dream of ideal futures based on assumptions about what is good; empiricists draw inspirations from what they perceive to be working well in existing situations. Both groups have presented their advocacies in manifestoes and often in the form of generic solutions or illustrative designs. This book traces the history of these ideas and will become a standard reference for scholars and students interested in the history of urban spaces, including architects, planners, urban historians, urban geographers, and urban morphologists.

    Prologue: The Nature of Urban Design

    Part One: Antecedents of Twentieth-Century Urban Design

    Chapter 1. Religious Canons and Prescriptions

    Chapter 2. The Classical and Beaux Arts Tradition

    Chapter 3. Social and Philanthropic Urban Design

    Chapter 4. The Garden Suburb

    Chapter 5. The Urbanist Tradition

    Part Two: Early Twentieth-Century Manifestoes, Paradigms, Generic Concepts, and Specific Designs

    Chapter 6. The City Beautiful

    Chapter 7. Modern Empiricism

    Chapter 8. The Rationalist Response

    Part Three: Post-World War Two Pragmatic Urban Design and The Rationalist and Empiricist Responses

    Chapter 9. The Post-World War Two Rationalists

    Chapter 10. The Post-World War Two Empiricists

    Chapter 11. The Postmodernist and The Deconstructivist Response

    Part Four: Urban Design in an Age of Corporate Financial Capital

    Chapter 12. Modernist, Neo-Modernist, and Hyper-Modernist Urban Design

    Chapter 13. Hyper-Modernism, Parametricism, and Urban Design

    Chapter 14. The Empiricist Responses

    Chapter 15, Sustainable Urbanism and Urban Design

    Chapter 16. Smart Cities and Urban Design

    Epilogue: Looking Back to Look Forward

    Chapter 17. A Critique of Twenty and Early Twenty-First Century Urban Design

    Chapter 18. The Way Forward: Toward Compact Cities


    Jon Lang, Emeritus Professor, is the principal of his own consulting firm and formerly the director of urban design for ERG in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His consultancy work has taken him to all the continents of the world, except Antarctica. Born in India, he was educated in that country, England, South Africa, and the United States. He received his architectural degree from the University of the Witwatersrand and city planning from Cornell, where he also obtained his doctorate. Before settling in Australia in 1990, he headed the joint MArch/MCP Program in Urban Design at the University of Pennsylvania. At the University of New South Wales, he headed the School of Architecture and was the associate dean for research in the Faculty of the Built Environment in the 1990s and early 2000s. He has served as a visiting professor at universities in North and South America and Asia and has authored books on architectural theory, on urban design, and on modern architecture in India. His writings on urban design include Urban Design: The American Experience (1994), Urban Design: A Typology of Procedures and Products (2005; 2017), and, with Nancy Marshall, Urban Squares as Places, Links, and Displays (Routledge 2016). His book with Walter Moleski, Functionalism Revisited (2010), provides the intellectual basis for this endeavor. He has been a juror on several international urban design competitions. In 2010, he received the Reed and Malik Medal from the Institution of Civil Engineers in London.

    "Jon Lang firmly situates Urban Design as a discipline and discerns with great clarity a compelling narrative about its influence as a practice in shaping our cities and their physical manifestations over the last 150 years. His argument foregrounds architecture at scale – its compulsions, ambitions as well as aspirations in understanding how it has historically propelled the protocols for Urban Design."

    —Rahul Mehrotra, Professor of Urban Design and Planning, Graduate School of Design, Harvard University

    "This is a comprehensive book on the history and theory of urban design, focusing on the paradigms that have transformed the built environment, in a rich combination of theory and practice from around the world. It is written by a leading urban design scholar and would be valuable for all urban students."

    —Ali Madanipour, Professor of Urban Design, School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape, Newcastle University,

    "Focusing on urban design paradigms, Lang establishes the much-needed generative history of our discipline in the 20th and early 21st centuries, connecting urban design to its roots across space, time, and cultures. More than a historical a narrative, Lang’s critical perspective highlights the various ideologies that have shaped urban design practice and projects. This book should become a standard text for anyone interested in the contemporary built environments."

    —Ali Modarres, Director of Urban Studies and the Assistant Chancellor for Community Engagement at University of Washington Tacoma