"A brave foray into the interdisciplinary and a serious attempt to cover city life in all its complexity... Franklin's optimism about the city is refreshing. He revels in the growing human and cultural diversity and the 're-emergence and spread of a more tolerant, carnivalesque, culture-driven city life', and he celebrates the city's ability to offer shelter to the unexpected and the fragile. For Franklin, the city is a product of nature, with all its vicissitudes."
- Times Higher Education
"Franklin writes with barely restrained optimism as he emphasizes the excitement, vitality and potential of cities. This advances the idea of city lives as assemblages of ‘human and non-human networks of texts, software, culture, behaviour, architecture, trees and gardens’... Franklin uses a wide range of sources in making his case. Historical accounts, search engine statistics and social and cultural theory are all smoothly integrated into the narrative."
Cities are more important as cultural entities than their mere function as dormitories and industrial sites. Yet, the understanding of what makes a city 'alive' and appealing in cultural terms is still hotly contested - why are some cities so much more interesting, popular and successful than others?
In this engaging discussion of 'city life' Adrian Franklin takes the reader on a tour of contemporary western cities exploring their historical development and arguing that it is the transformative, ritual and performative qualities of successful cities that makes a difference.
Here is a new urban culture characterized by ecological frames of reference; tracking the making of contemporary city life from traditional times, through early modern, machinic and modernised stages of development. Adopting dynamic narrative structures and stories to develop its critical position this book creates a vibrant synthesis of city life from its key components of leisure and tourism, recreation and play, arts and culture, nature and environment, and architecture and public space.
Emphasising the importance of experience the book represents the fluid complexity of the city as a living space, an environment and a posthumanist space of transformation. It will be of interest to all those engaging with the difficulties of urban life in sociology, human geography, tourism and cultural studies.
SAGE Publications; May 2010
- ISBN: 9780857026545
- Edition: 1
- Read online, or download in secure PDF or secure ePub format
- Title: City Life
- Author: Alex Franklin
Imprint: SAGE Publications Ltd
In The Press
A brave foray into the interdisciplinary and a serious attempt to cover city life in all its complexity...Franklin's optimism about the city is refreshing. He revels in the growing human and cultural diversity and the "re-emergence and spread of a more tolerant, carnivalesque, culture-driven city life", and he celebrates the city's ability to offer shelter to the unexpected and the fragile. For Franklin, the city is a product of nature, with all its vicissitudes. I enjoyed his meditations on the meaning and limits of nature: "In the hands of writers London is a mighty natural phenomenon, as significant as any forest, cyclone on infection." It is in the book's final chapters, pages that are replete with Franklin's own original research on non-human life in the city, that it reveals its real strengths
Times Higher Education
City Life grabs you by the collar and draws you deep into the sensuous heartland of the western cityscape. Franklin means `life’ literally. This is not only an account of the human hopes, desires, obsessions and follies that animate bricks and mortar, but of all the diverse creatures that join in the urban adventure. Rattling along with the pace and eloquence of a good novel, you hardly realise how much social and urban theory you are taking in along the way. This is what learning should be like
A sweeping treatment of cities from Roman to contemporary times, this book highlights the powerful forces that shape cities - transforming them from traditional cities of culture and commerce, to modernist cities of industry and work, to today's post-modern cities of spectacle and consumerism - and just on the horizon - to cities of ecological integrity and human-animal coexistence for which we all long
University of California, Berkeley
Franklin's ambition in the book is welcome. The scope and historical sweep of analysis, and the attempt to develop arguments at some length, is a productive contrast to the myopic focus of too many analyses. By situating his analysis of the contemporary city in an extensive historical lineage, Franklin is able to draw attention to shifting fashions in urban policy and social theory, and to draw out the consequences of blind spots amidst the often overweening ambition of 'heroic' city planning... the narrative it offers will be... valuable as an introduction to students
Theory, Culture & Society