November 15, 1995
Available for the first time in paperback, this is a history of the European city from the early Middle Ages until the present. It is also an account of the relationship between urban life in the history of ideas and culture.
The author begins by discussing the survival of urban culture following the collapse of the Roman and Byzantine empires and then examines the great period of urban expansion between the eleventh and fourteenth centuries. The years following the formation of the first European states brought concentrated power and influence to their capitals, where new ideas of national identity are reflected in the organization of traditional urban space. The conflict between city and country had emerged by the sixteenth century and the author shows how this influenced the colonial towns of the two Americas. He concludes with chapters on the effects of industrialization and modern transportation, in particular the devastating impact of the automobile. This unique synthesis of urban, social, cultural and political history will be welcomed by all those interested in European, intellectual and urban history.
Leonardo Benevolo has held positions as Professor of the History of Architecture at the universities of Florence, Venice and Palermo, and visiting professorships at the universities of Yale, Columbia, Caracas, Tehran, Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo. His many books include The Origins of Modern Urbanism (10th edition, 1989), An Introduction to Architecture (14th edition, 1990) and The History of Architecture and the Renaissance (7th edition, 1988).