'THE WORLD', RUNS John Reader's first sentence, 'is not short of books about cities.' This is true but it's a bad start. Most people scanning that line in a bookshop would pass on. It gets worse. At the foot of the first page he asks, 'If so many books on cities already exist, why burden the shelves with another?' Okay, okay, so why?
Well. I like to think this one is different. It commends the magnificence of great cities, as other admirers do; and deplores their failings no less than any polemicist might; but beyond that, it searches for the context - ecological and functional - that is common to the phenomenon of