49 Cities

2009
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Throughout history architects and planners have dreamed of ‘better’ and different cities – more controllable, more defensible, more efficient, more monumental, more organic, taller, denser, sparser or greener. With every plan, radical visions were proposed, ones that embodied not only the desires but also, and more often, the fears and anxieties of their time. Today, with the failure of the suburban experiment and the looming end-of-the world predictions – from global warming and waste to post-peak oil energy crises and uncontrolled world urbanization – architects and urbanists find themselves once more at a cross-road, fertile for visionary thinking. Today’s meeting of intensified environmental fears with the global break down of laissez-faire capitalism has produced a new kind of audience, one that is ready to suspend disbelief and engage in flights of the imagination to radically rethink the way we live.

Recognizing the recurrent nature of our environmental preoccupations and their impact in shaping utopias of the past, 49 cities inscribes our time within a larger historical context, rereading seminal projects and visionary cities of the past through an ecological lens of the present that goes beyond their declared ideology to compare and contrast their hypothetical ecological footprint.

49 cities is a call to re-engage cities as the site of radical thinking and experimentation, moving beyond ‘green building’ towards an embrace of ideas, scale, vision and common sense combined with delirious imagination in the pursuit of empowering questioning and re-invention.

49 CITIES IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT.
LOOK FOR A 3RD EDITION IN 2014