Dogopolis: How Dogs and Humans Made Modern New York, London, and Paris by Chris Pearson
8vo. pp. 259. black & white text illustrations. index. wrs. Chicago & London: The University of Chicago Press, .
ISBN-10: 022679816X / ISBN-13: 9780226798165
Dogopolis presents a surprising source for urban innovation in the history of three major cities: human-canine relationships.
Stroll through any American or European city today and you probably won’t get far before seeing a dog being taken for a walk. It’s expected that these domesticated animals can easily navigate sidewalks, streets, and other foundational elements of our built environment. But what if our cities were actually shaped in response to dogs more than we ever realized?
Focusing on New York, London, and Paris from the early nineteenth century to the 1930s, Dogopolis boldly and convincingly asserts that human-canine relations were a crucial factor in the formation of modern urban living. As dogs became more and more common in middle-class life, cities had to respond to people's fear of them and revulsion at their least desirable traits, such as dirt, crime, and vagrancy. At the same time, human compassion and affection for pets and strays were equally powerful forces in shaping urban modernity. Dogopolis details the complex ways we manifest our feelings toward what we love, showing how they can palpably reshape society.