The City of Collective Memory: Its Historical Imagery and Architectural Entertainments

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MIT Press, 1996 - Architecture - 560 pages

Christine Boyer faces head-on the crisis of the city in the late twentieth century, taking us on a fascinating journey through theaters and museums, panoramas and maps, buildings and institutions that are used to construct a new reading of the city as a system of representation, a complex cultural entity. Boyer brings together elements and concepts from geography, critical theory, architecture, literature, and painting in a synthetic and readable work that is broad in its reach and original in its insights. What finally emerges is a sense of the city reinvigorated with richness and potential.

The City of Collective Memory describes a series of different visual and mental models by which the urban environment has been recognized, depicted, and planned. Boyer identifies three major "maps": one common to the traditional city--the city as a work of art; one characteristic of the modern city--the city as panorama; and one appropriate to the contemporary city--the city as spectacle. It is a richly illustrated and documented study that pays considerable attention to the normally hidden and unspoken codes that regulate the order imposed on and derived from the city. A wide range of secondary historical literature and theoretical work is considered, with evident debts to structuralist analysis of urban form represented by Aldo Rossi, as well to much post-structuralist criticism from Walter Benjamin to the present.

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Contents

The City and the Theater
73
The Art of Collective Memory
129
Topographical Travelogues and City Views
203
Invented Traditions and Cityscapes
293
se v
368
Manhattan Montage
421
The City as Radical Artifice
479
Notes
495
Inder
549
Copyright

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About the author (1996)

M. Christine Boyer is William R. Kenan Jr. Professor in the School of Architecture at Princeton University and the author of Dreaming the Rational City, The City of Collective Memory (both published by the MIT Press), Le Corbusier: Homme de Lettres, and other books.

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