Makeshift Metropolis

Makeshift Metropolis

Ideas About Cities

Book - 2010 | 1st Scribner hardcover ed.
Average Rating:
Rate this:
In this new work, prizewinning author, professor, and Slate architecture critic Witold Rybczynski returns to the territory he knows best: writing about the way people live, just as he did in the acclaimed bestsellers Home and A Clearing in the Distance . In Makeshift Metropolis , Rybczynski has drawn upon a lifetime of observing cities to craft a concise and insightful book that is at once an intellectual history and a masterful critique.

Makeshift Metropolis describes how current ideas about urban planning evolved from the movements that defined the twentieth century, such as City Beautiful, the Garden City, and the seminal ideas of Frank Lloyd Wright and Jane Jacobs. If the twentieth century was the age of planning, we now find ourselves in the age of the market, Rybczynski argues, where entrepreneurial developers are shaping the twenty-first-century city with mixed-use developments, downtown living, heterogeneity, density, and liveliness. He introduces readers to projects like Brooklyn Bridge Park, the Yards in Washington, D.C., and, further afield, to the new city of Modi'in, Israel--sites that, in this age of resource scarcity, economic turmoil, and changing human demands, challenge our notion of the city.

Erudite and immensely engaging, Makeshift Metropolis is an affirmation of Rybczynski's role as one of our most original thinkers on the way we live today.

Publisher: New York ; Toronto : Scribner, 2010.
Edition: 1st Scribner hardcover ed.
ISBN: 9781416561255
Branch Call Number: 711.40973 RYBCZ
Characteristics: xiv, 240 p. : ill.


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Jan 08, 2019

He is an extremely lucid writer who easily shifts through the ideas of Robinson, Howard, Jacobs and LeCorbusier and addresses how prescient some of their ideas were for urban life today and also how seriously all of these people sometimes "missed the boat." I agree with the observation of the CHOICE reviewer that he failed to come down hard enough on the rampant disease of urban sprawl and its deleterious effects on the health of our planet.

Jun 09, 2016

A book about an interesting topic, but somehow he was able to make it fall rather flat. The 'city beautiful', the 'garden city', the 'radiant city', Ms. Jacons' ideas, and to a lesser extent 'broadacre city' are each given a brief description, and the controversies between them are cursorily recounted. There is no mention at all of Soleri (really the man's ideas need a revival). The book just articulates some of the vagueness and tensions among the desiderata, but leaves it just a little less vague.

Mar 25, 2013

Engaging read that ties several different theories of urban design together - the writing makes it much livelier than it sounds.

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at OPL

To Top