Return to the Center
Culture, Public Space, and City Building in a Global Era
Publication Year: 2006
Published by: University of Texas Press
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Scholars and practitioners of urban design, planning, or urban studies are united today in their attempt to grapple with a dramatic revolution in the relationship between people and urban space. The buzzwords in urban theory—globalization, postmodernity, cyber-space, deconstruction, simulation1—evoke a spirit of change in the ...
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CHAPTER ONE. Culture, Public Space, and Cities
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Every new century begins with a kind of soul-searching. As North Americans, the entrée into the twenty-first century compels us to confront the critical place where most of us live—the metropolis. Several broad trends that ushered the close of the last century—glo- ...
CHAPTER TWO. The City and Public Space in Spain
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I am walking through the narrow streets of downtown Madrid, a few blocks from the Plaza Mayor. It is a cool, late afternoon in early December. The sun has already slipped behind the wall of six-story buildings, and this particular street is nearly dark. ...
CHAPTER THREE. Modernity and Public Space in Crisis: Contemporary Madrid
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Urban design was inspired by the modern architecture movement in post–World War II European cities. That movement, for all its aspirations of urban social improvement through design, left behind a legacy of placeless communities. ...
CHAPTER FOUR. “City of Architects”: Public Space and the Resurgence of Barcelona
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Two decades ago the city of Barcelona was in a state of disarray. Freeways choked the downtown with traffic, while rows of high-rise block apartments and factories blanketed the placeless suburbs in a manner similar to the Madrid experience described in the previous chapter. The Gothic Quarter and nearby historic districts were in a ...
CHAPTER FIVE. Spain Meets Mesoamerica: The City and Public Space in Mexico
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In the early sixteenth century Spain was the most powerful nation in the world; the king of Spain, Carlos V, crafted an imperial strategy for colonizing the territories of the Americas. One of his representatives, the Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés, landed his fleets on the eastern coast of present-day Mexico, ...
CHAPTER SIX. Revitalizing Historic Centers in Urban Mexico: Politics and Public Space
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During the twentieth century traditional Mexican public spaces were bombarded by the political and economic forces of modernization. Yet plazas, gardens, parks, and promenades were still capable of becoming powerful cultural anchors. Mexicans embrace their past; the modern Mexican political system built its power base in part around ...
CHAPTER SEVEN. The Globalization of Urban Form: Transcultural Public Spaces along the Mexico-United States International Border
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Globalization will significantly alter Mexico’s city-building practices in the twenty-first century. The question is: How will global forces reconfigure urban public spaces? In the new century, Mexico’s cities will also be partly defined by their interactions with the culture, economy, and built environment of the United States, its all-impor- ...
CHAPTER EIGHT. Return to the Center? Politics, Latino Culture, and Public Space
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Even in cultures with deeply entrenched traditions of public life—like those of Spain and Mexico—conditions in the new millennium will not be favorable to the preservation of historic public space. City life will increasingly become more nonspatial and virtual. Some public spaces—like the plazas, promenades, and town squares examined in ...
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Page Count: 299
Illustrations: 67 b&w photos, 5 maps
Publication Year: 2006
Series Title: Roger Fullington Series in Architecture