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Boom Cities: Architect Planners and the Politics of Radical Urban Renewal in 1960s Britain

Author/EditorSaumarez Smith, Otto (Assistant Professo (Author)
ISBN: 9780198865193
Pub Date03/09/2020
BindingPaperback
Pages208
Dimensions (mm)216(h) * 147(w) * 13(d)
In this volume, Otto Saumarez Smith recounts the fraught history of the urban development of British city centres in the 1960s, uncovering the planning philosophy, and the political, cultural, and legislative background that created the conditions for these transformations to occur across the country.
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Boom Cities is the first published history of the profound transformations of British city centres in the 1960s.

It has often been said that urban planners did more damage to Britain's cities than even the Luftwaffe had managed, and this study details the rise and fall of modernist urban planning, revealing its origins and the dissolution of the cross-party consensus, before the ideological smearing that has ever since characterized the high-rise towers, dizzying ring roads, and concrete precincts that were left behind.

The rebuilding of British city centres during the 1960s drastically affected the built form of urban Britain, including places ranging from traditional cathedral cities through to the decaying towns of the industrial revolution. Boom Cities uncovers both the planning philosophy, and the political, cultural, and legislative background that created the conditions for these processes to occur across the country.

Boom Cities reveals the role of architect-planners in these transformations. The volume also provides an unconventional account of the end of modernist approaches to the built environment, showing it from the perspective of planning and policy elites, rather than through the emergence of public opposition to planning.

Boom Cities is the first published history of the profound transformations of British city centres in the 1960s.

It has often been said that urban planners did more damage to Britain's cities than even the Luftwaffe had managed, and this study details the rise and fall of modernist urban planning, revealing its origins and the dissolution of the cross-party consensus, before the ideological smearing that has ever since characterized the high-rise towers, dizzying ring roads, and concrete precincts that were left behind.

The rebuilding of British city centres during the 1960s drastically affected the built form of urban Britain, including places ranging from traditional cathedral cities through to the decaying towns of the industrial revolution. Boom Cities uncovers both the planning philosophy, and the political, cultural, and legislative background that created the conditions for these processes to occur across the country.

Boom Cities reveals the role of architect-planners in these transformations. The volume also provides an unconventional account of the end of modernist approaches to the built environment, showing it from the perspective of planning and policy elites, rather than through the emergence of public opposition to planning.

Otto Saumarez Smith is an architectural and urban historian, and is an Assistant Professor in Art History at the University of Warwick.

Introduction 1: Optimism, Traffic, and the Historic City in Post-war British Planning 2: Blue, White and Red Heat: Central Government and City Centre Redevelopment 3: Blackburn Goes Pop: City Centre Redevelopment in a Provincial City 4: Planning for Affluence: Graeme Shankland and the Political Culture of the British Left 5: Modernism in an Old Country: Lionel Brett, an Establishment Architect-planner 6: The Trajectory of Central Area Redevelopment Bibliography

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