Publishers Weekly, 1990-11-23 The neutral, sterile environment of the modern city results from urban planners ``in the grip of a Protestant ethic of space,'' writes the author. Arguing that our grid-like streets, pubic plazas, shopping malls and tourist spaces signal a fear of exposure to human diversity and sensory experience, Sennett ( The Fall of Public Man ) traces urban alienation back to medieval Christian cities, which emphasized shelter within buildings. Most Enlightenment planners sought to take people outside--but into fields and forests rather than into streets filled with jostling crowds. Turning instead for inspiration to Renaissance street life, European town squares, English terrace houses and the glass architecture of greenhouses and arcades, Sennett offers a radical, original rethinking of our relationship to the built environment. Regrettably, he fails to examine how redirecting the material forces of money and politics might rehumanize the city. (Jan.)
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