most wanted: The Endless City

ALTHOUGH described as an essential tool for everyone involved in urban planning and development, I would like to think (from snippets I’ve seen on Phaidon’s website) that this book’s appeal is actually far more widespread. With powerful graphics and spectacular photographs  ‘The Endless City: An authoritative and visually rich survey of the contemporary city‘ is sure to capture the attention of many a city dweller. It certainly captured mine.

The book’s blurb declares the first half of the 21st century as being the age of the city, citing that for the first time in the history of humanity over half of the Earth’s population inhabits an urban environment – predicted to stand at 75% by 2050. As dwellers within these urban areas surely an interest in its formation and growth is advisable, if not already palpable? Andrew Marr’s current Megacities series on the BBC is certainly an example of how the importance of understanding the infrastructure and development of the modern city is now becoming a mainstream interest.

I can’t say I’ve ever had a huge desire to learn about any of these factors myself, but the fascinating chart below succeed in fueling one. It made me curious. The disparity between countries is shocking. Nothing new there; but when presented in such a clear and concise manner it unmistakably brings home the facts. Combine this with informative illustrations and vivid photographs, and you have before you a body of images and text which creates such a visual impact it is no wonder that my interest in the effect of the built environment on social inclusion and quality of life was heightened.

There are now two books in the Endless City series. ‘Living in the Endless City‘ continues on from The Endless City’s investigation into New York, London, Berlin, Mexico City, Shanghai and Johannesburg, introducing further insight into our rapidly urbanising world through exploration of Istanbul, Sao Paulo and Mumbai. Below are images from both, which hopefully in some way communicate the successful translation of a complex topic into one that may appeal to the masses, not just the specialist.

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