From the Publisher
Half the world’s population now lives in cities. Most of them know no other life than an “urban life.” James Clapp is one of them, but with a difference; he is an urbanite, but also an urbanist who writes about cities for multiple media. Cities are his place of residence, but also his life’s work, and in over forty years of studying cities, teaching and consulting about them, traveling to hundreds of them all over the world, he regards them as humankind’s greatest and most complex invention. They are also, as this book testifies, his passion.Urban complexity, dynamism and variety require multiple disciplines and perspectives to even begin to unravel and understand. As a professor of urban affairs and city planning for over thirty years the author has developed an approach to urbanism that draws not only upon the social sciences, but also upon the arts and humanities and employs multiple media: print, audio, and video broadcast journalism and documentary, as well as traditional academic writing and research.The selections for This Urban Life have been culled from over two hundred articles, essays, editorials, newspaper articles and audio and video scripts, as well as personal memoir. Over this broad range the city and urban life are viewed through literature, painting, feature films, photography, humor,and even pornography. Specific cities such as Paris, Rome, Odessa, Florence, San Francisco, Nagasaki, Hong Kong, Las Vegas, and Venice,among others,are discussed through the prism of writing for multiple media.