A History of Future Cities by Daniel Brook - review by Eric Kaufmann

Eric Kaufmann

Planting the Urban Jungle

A History of Future Cities

By

W W Norton 457pp £20 order from our bookshop
 

The acronym BRIC has always struck me as odd, lumping together dynamic, rising Brazil, China and India with Russia, a demographically shrinking kleptocracy reliant on natural resources. In A History of Future Cities, Daniel Brook makes a more sensible move, tossing Russia and Chindia together with a twist of Dubai to create a mouth-watering, architecturally tinged work of urban history.

Brook’s entertaining book is less a thesis than a rich description of the social and architectural fabric of four cities: St Petersburg, Shanghai, Mumbai and Dubai. At bottom it is a work of urbanism in which art and science shake hands. In the tradition of Walter Benjamin, urbanism blends storytelling

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