Envisioning the City: Six Studies in Urban Cartography by David Buisseret
8vo. pp. 181. illustrated. hardcover. dw. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998.
New in publisher's shrink wrap.
ISBN-10: 0226079937 / ISBN-13: 9780226079936
Churchman or merchant, soldier or sanitary engineer, everyone who lives in a city sees it differently. Envisioning the City explores how these points of urban view have been expressed in city plans. Ranging from vertical plans to bird's-eye views, profiles, and three-dimensional models, these diverse maps all show cities "the way people want to see them."
Whether a Chinese vertical city plan from the first millennium B.C. or a bird's-eye view appended to a fifteenth-century edition of Ptolemy's Geography, the type of plan chosen and its focus reflected the aspects of a city that the map's creators wished to highlight. For instance, maps of seventeenth-century cities emphasized impregnable fortifications as a deterrent to potential attackers. And Daniel Burnham's famous 1909 Plan of Chicago used a distinct representational style to "sell" his version of the new Chicago.
Although city plans are among the oldest maps known, few books have been devoted to them. Historians of cartography and geography, architects, and urban planners will all enjoy this profusely illustrated volume.