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Bookreview: Culture, urbanism and planning. Edited by J. Monclús and M. Guàrdia. Aldershot: Ashgate. 2006. xix + 293 pp. £55.00 hardback. ISBN: 0754646238

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While, Aidan

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Abstract 521BookreviewCulture,urbanism and planning. Edited by J. Monclús and M. Guàrdia. Aldershot: Ashgate.2006. xix + 293 pp. £55.00 hardback. ISBN: 0754646238SAGE Publications, Inc.2008DOI: 10.1177/14744740080150040704AidanWhileUniversity of SheffieldCulture,urbanism and planning is an edited book that reflects its roots in a collectionof papers from an annual conference of the International Planning HistorySociety. As expected from an IPHS conference, the majority of the 15 contributionsare firmly rooted in the discipline of planning history, though most are concernedto link past, present and future, and some are predominantly about the contemporarycity. The geographical focus is wide-ranging, including chapters on LatinAmerica and South America as well as Europe and the US. Cultural geographerswill no doubt be attracted by the intriguing title. They might, however, bedisappointed by what they find inside the covers, especially as the combinationof `cul- ture', `urbanism' and `planning' is used as a loose umbrella fordisparate chapters rather than a starting point for analysis. The editors'introductory chapter has only a brief discussion of the three concepts, butit makes clear that their focus is planning for the cultural economy ratherthan the ways in which culture gets into planning. The presence of the terms`urban- ism' and `planning' in the title is seen as little more than an attempt`to delimit a more com- prehensive and fluid area of problems, than that whicheach term evokes on its own' (p. xvi). Many of the chapters take a wider viewof the culture–planning relationship, but the impli- cations tend tobe implicit rather than explicit. The chapters that rise to the challengeof link- ing culture and planning reflect the concern with planning for culturein its narrowest sense.522Thestrength of the book lies in the intriguing stories and thick descriptionsof the chap- ters, such as Margarita Gutman's discussion of the metropolis-likefuture visions for Buenos Aires from the 1920's conceptualization and widerreflection. Moreover, Steven Ward's insight- ful concluding chapter on theorigins and dissemination of the `Baltimore model' of water- front regenerationshows what might have been achieved by the other chapters in terms of linkingcase studies to broader conceptual concerns. Ultimately, however, too manycontribu- tions feel like they are conference papers rather than fully workedbook chapters. Culture, urbanism and planning will probably have limited appealfor most cultural geographers.
Document language English
Publication Year 2008
Page/Pages p. 521-522
Journal Cultural Geographies, 15 (2008) 4
Status Postprint; peer reviewed
Licence PEER Licence Agreement (applicable only to documents from PEER project)