Another City Urban Life and Urban Spaces in the New American Republic Dell Upton

Publication date:
02 Sep 2008
Yale University Press
416 pages: 254 x 178mm
144 b-w + 20 color illus.
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An exploration of the beliefs, perceptions, and theories that shaped the architecture and organization of America’s earliest cities

In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, burgeoning American cities like New Orleans and Philadelphia seemed increasingly chaotic. Noise, odors, and a feverish level of activity on the streets threatened to overwhelm the senses. Growing populations placed new demands on every aspect of the urban landscape—streets, parks, schools, asylums, cemeteries, markets, waterfronts, and more. In this unique exploration of the early history of urban architecture and design, leading architectural historian Dell Upton reveals the fascinating confluence of sociological, cultural, and psychological factors that shaped American cities in the antebellum years.

Through contemporary travel accounts, diaries, and correspondence, as well as maps, architectural drawings, paintings, and prints—many previously unpublished--Upton investigates not only how buildings were designed, streets were laid out, and urban space was put to use, but also why. He offers original insights into the way cities were imagined, and an extensive selection of illustrations recreates the various features of the urban landscape in the nineteenth century.

Dell Upton is professor of art history at UCLA. His books include Holy Things and Profane: Anglican Parish Churches in Colonial Virginia, published by Yale University Press and winner of the Alice Davis Hitchcock Book Award, the John Hope Franklin Publication Prize, and the Abbott Lowell Cummings Award, and Architecture in the United States.

"This is a tour-de-force of urban and architectural history, producing an indelible picture of American cities that is both immediate and analytical. This truly innovative work of historical scholarship forces us to rethink the relationships between the individual, society, and the city."—Margaret Crawford, Harvard University

“A work of extraordinary scholarship and imagination, Another City lays bare the workings of the nineteenth century American city in a strikingly original fashion. No one knows more about the way the ordinary residents of Philadelphia and New Orleans lived their lives than Dell Upton, and no one tells it better. This is a splendid book.”—Shane White, University of Sydney

Upton’s deft consideration of the physical urban landscape and the lived experiential urban space truly offers a new sort of intellectual history of architecture, one grounded in historical specificity but with broad applications for how we interpret the built environment.”—Edward S. Cooke, Jr., Yale University

"Upton's lively prose—grounded solidly in historical scholarship based on contemporary diaries, correspondence, maps, political cartoons, and prints—evokes vivid place memories and stirs the reader's imagination about the possibilities for reinvigorating urban life in a democratic metropolitan region."—June Williamson, Buildings & Landscapes

“[A] masterful examination of the sights, sounds, and smells of antebellum urbanism.”—Buildings and Landscapes