The expansive catalogue of recent books on global urbanization covers an array of approaches, from the political and social to the technological and environmental. Urbanization and its central object, the city, claim a priority in analyses of the modern condition, whether optimistic or pessimistic. The city also appears as a central protagonist in any number of works of architectural history, having captivated the attention of architects and architectural discourse for the past two centuries. In Designing the Modern City: Urbanism since 1850, Eric Mumford aims to acknowledge both of these views—the city as the conceit of architects and the city as the embodiment of modernity—with a broad...

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