Building and Dwelling: Ethics for the City (Paperback)

Building and Dwelling: Ethics for the City By Richard Sennett Cover Image

Building and Dwelling: Ethics for the City (Paperback)


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A reflection on the past and present of city life, and a bold proposal for its future
“Constantly stimulating ideas from a veteran of urban thinking.”—Jonathan Meades, The Guardian

In this sweeping work, the preeminent sociologist Richard Sennett traces the anguished relation between how cities are built and how people live in them, from ancient Athens to twenty-first-century Shanghai. He shows how Paris, Barcelona, and New York City assumed their modern forms; rethinks the reputations of Jane Jacobs, Lewis Mumford, and others; and takes us on a tour of emblematic contemporary locations, from the backstreets of Medellín, Colombia, to Google headquarters in Manhattan.
Through it all, Sennett laments that the “closed city”—segregated, regimented, and controlled—has spread from the Global North to the exploding urban centers of the Global South. He argues instead for a flexible and dynamic “open city,” one that provides a better quality of life, that can adapt to climate change and challenge economic stagnation and racial separation.
With arguments that speak directly to our moment—a time when more humans live in urban spaces than ever before—Sennett forms a bold and original vision for the future of cities.
Richard Sennett is the Centennial Professor of Sociology at the London School of Economics and former University Professor of the Humanities at New York University. He is also a senior fellow of the Center on Capitalism and Society at Columbia University. His many books include The Culture of the New Capitalism, The Craftsman, and Together.
Product Details ISBN: 9780300269833
ISBN-10: 0300269838
Publisher: Yale University Press
Publication Date: August 22nd, 2023
Pages: 352
Language: English
“The sociologist and urbanist Richard Sennett is a thoughtful writer with far-ranging interests and a keen eye for hidden patterns and complex processes that may escape the casual observer. . . . His first book, The Uses of Disorder, published almost 50 years ago (1970), was a reflection on the value of anti-authoritarian or anti-hierarchical ‘anarchy’ in city life, and his new book, his 15th, is a more elaborate, and more sophisticated, take on his original insights.”—Shlomo Angel, Wall Street Journal

“[Building and Dwelling] distills into a single volume [Sennett’s] thoughts on how urban design shapes the ways in which we relate to one another. . . . Sennett is as passionate as ever about the richness and complexity of public life. . . . [He] needles Google’s New York headquarters, which he finds to be an island frat house, introspective and infantile, ‘in the city but not of it.’ . . . Part of the charm of Building and Dwelling is its intimacy. . . . There is an extraordinary account of ethnic relations in the Hatton Garden community of London where Sennett lives. . . . Well-timed for the disputes of our day.”—Justin McGuirk, New Yorker

“[Building and Dwelling] reads like the summation of a life lived in cities and is, ultimately, a paean to their unpredictability, a call for tolerance and a celebration of difference.”—Edwin Heathcote, Financial Times

“Constantly stimulating ideas from a veteran of urban thinking.”—Jonathan Meades, The Guardian

“Thank god for Richard Sennett. . . . Essential reading for all students of the city.”—Anna Minton, Prospect

“An intellectual romp.”—Los Angeles Review of Books