Jack P. Kruf
Improving the new city, restoring the old city, reshaping the region.
Book by Jonathan Barnett
Designing cities is not that easy, especially when it is the goal to keep it working as a cohesive whole. The city as an ecosystem with one functioning society, happy citizens and a perfect governmental stewardship, it would be great. But it is a dream scenario, and actually a not existing one. Jonathan Barnett – emeritus Professor of Practice in City and Regional Planning, and former director of the Urban Design Program, at the University of Pennsylvania – describes how political fragmentation has lead to the emerging of the image of the city as a fractured organism.
This book is an in-depth look into the fibres of the city, leading to a thorough understanding of the city as living organism. Rich, sometimes painful. The best thing about Barnett is, that he above all is honest, that he gives us a crystal clear analysis of historical paths and above all enriches our hopes with guidelines how to restore and work from here. It is must read for every public leader and city manager.
Targeted at architects, students, urban designers and planners, landscape architects, and city and regional officials, The Fractured Metropolis provides a thorough analysis of not only cities but also the entire metropolitan region, considering how both are intrinsically linked and influence one other. Jonathan Barnett, an urban designer and architect who has worked for cities throughout the United States, teaches architecture and urban design at City College.
American cities are splitting apart. Traditional downtowns still have their ring of old urban neighborhoods, but nearby suburban villages and rural counties have been transformed into a new kind of city, where residential subdivisions extend for miles and shopping malls and office parks are strung out in long corridors of commercial development…. The old city is fighting for its life: its tax base is in danger; its schools are in trouble; its streets are unsafe. Although the development boom of the 1980s has subsided, the new city is still prosperous and peaceful, except where its sprawling growth has enveloped older communities with problems of their own.Jonathan Barnett
“I think this book is an outstanding original interpretation of urban political and social fragmentation. The argument is elegantly expressed and tailored to its place in existing theory with exceptional clarity and skill. The field of urban politics has frequently been characterized as lacking coherent political and social theory, except perhaps, for that contributed by economists. This book runs squarely in the other direction giving considerable form to an explicit information processing theory of mass behavior in which fundamental political institutional arrangements, such as political boundaries, play not just a role, but are decisive in explaining commonly observed patterns in racial distributions. Seldom have undeniably political factors been assigned such a central role in explaining widespread social phenomena.”Carol W. Kohfeld, University of Missouri, St. Louis
“In his latest book Jonathan Barnett explores the new realities and opportunities for the design of the metropolitan region. Architect, teacher, and urban designer, Barnett cites specific examples from around the country demonstrating how bypassed areas in the old city can become real estate opportunities, how new types of zoning can facilitate development at metropolitan edges without destroying the landscape, and how metropolitan planning can repair our environment and communities. The book describes ways to write effective urban and suburban planning guidelines; methods for making highways and transportation systems further overall planning goals; designs that make conservation areas and public places create more value for development; techniques for promoting successful historic districts; and much more, including the basic elements of city design and a national agenda for action. There are 152 plans, diagrams, and photographs integrated with the text.”Jacket
“The accomplished urban designer Jonathan Barnett devotes his latest book to exploring ways of ameliorating the split between the ‘old city’, which used to be the center of things, and the ‘new city’ on the metropolitan periphery. Barnett discusses an impressively broad variety of recent plans and designs for controlling sprawl, improving urban centers and edge cities, and fitting new buildings in with old. One of the best available overviews of how urban and metropolitan design issues are currently being dealt with.”Progressive Architecture
“Because Jonathan Barnett is a gifted practitioner, an experienced and knowing urban designer, as well a distinguished teacher and author his books on urban design and history, theory and practice are extraordinarily useful for both lay persons and professional readers.”Journal of the American Planning Association
Barnett, Jonathan (1995) Fractured metropolis. 1st ed. New York: IconEds., HarperCollins.