The Anxious City
British Urbanism in the late 20th Century
Foreword by Anthony Vidler
Routledge – 2004 – 296 pages
In the Western world, cities have arguably never been more anxious: practical anxieties about personal safety and metaphysical anxieties about the uncertain place of the city in culture are the small change of journalism and political debate. Cities have long been regarded as problems, in need of drastic solutions. In this context, the contemporary revival of city centres is remarkable. But in a culture that largely fears the urban, how can the contemporary city be imagined? How is it supposed to be used or inhabited? What does it mean? Taking England since WWII as its principal focus, this provocative and original book considers the Western city at a critical moment in its history.
'In this stimulating and perceptive study of modern cities, Williams argues that anxiety has been the defining characteristic of architectural debate and practice…With a few well-aimed barbs at Richard Rogers, a remarkabl defence of Milton Keynes and an astute comparison with Barcelona, this is highly interesting.' - Scotland on Sunday: The Review, December 2004
'Williams is impressive on the way that architects have articulated a culture informed by fear.' - David Clements, Culture Wars.org.uk, January 2005
'This is a very well researched, incredibly detailed and thoroughly insightful critique of the apprehensive period in which we live represented in a critique of a number of British cities.' -Austin Williams, Futurecities.org.uk
Dedication Foreword by Anthony Vidler Acknowledgements 1: The Anxious City 2: The Picturesque City 3: The Free City 4: The Mediterranean City 5: The City in Ruins 6: The Architecture of Civility 7: America, E14 8: The Museum, The City, and the Space of Flows 9: The Spectacle of Pleasure 10: Staging the City Bibliography
Richard J Williams is a lecturer in the Department of History of Art, University of Edinburgh. He studied at the universities of London and Manchester, and he previously taught at Liverpool John Moores University. His publications include After Modern Sculpture (2000) and numerous articles on the art and visual culture of the 1960s.