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Wolfgang Sonne
Urbanity and Density
in 20th Century Urban Design
240 x 300 mm, 360 pages
350 pictures, hardcover
ISBN 978-3-86922-491-6 (English)
EUR 98.00
May 2017. DOM publishers, Berlin

New from DOM publishers:

Wolfgang Sonne

Urbanity and Density in 20th Century Urban Design

Light, air, sun was not everything:
a book about urban modernity

The book Urbanity and Density in 20th Century Urban Design topples a solid historical picture. To this day, the history of urban planning in the twentieth century reads as if modernity had dissolved the traditional city configurations and radicalised the spatial and structural organisation of the city. Postmodern, on the other hand, saw a return to traditional urban forms.

The author Wolfgang Sonne, professor of History and Theory of Architecture at the TU Dortmund, wants to revise these convictions and re-illuminate a hitherto hidden perspective. In his extensive research work, he formulated the thesis that in the twentieth century, in addition to the well-known avant-garde anti-urban examples in Europe and the USA, there was also a conventional pro-urban map. According to this, modern urban development was characterised not only by avant-garde tendencies, but all positions were always simultaneously there – and even the traditionalists regarded themselves as modern.

Projects and positions of the twentieth century that aimed at the ideal of a dense and urban city prove this thesis. On the basis of plans, installations, and theories, examples of urban development are analysed and emphasised. These have so far been perceived as marginal phenomena – concepts that are essentially characterised by functional mixing, social openness, public spaces, urban architecture, and urban culture. The structure of the book corresponds to the central urban planning tasks of the twentieth century: residential buildings in the city, squares and streets as public stages, high-rise buildings as generators of public urban spaces, conventional and traditionalist reconstruction, as well as city repairs.

From this revaluation, it is also possible for today's planning, as opposed to the past, to access historical examples, and other examples that are more appropriate to today's aspirations for urbanity and density. After reading this book, the equation modern = city-dissolving and urban = unmodern no longer works. Last but not least, this volume will teach you about the scientific history of urban development in the twentieth century.


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