Christine Boyer faces head-on the crisis of the city in the late twentieth century, taking us on a fascinating journey through theaters and museums, panoramas and maps, buildings and institutions that are used to construct a new reading of the city as a system of representation, a complex cultural entity. Boyer brings together elements and concepts from geography, critical theory, architecture, literature, and painting in a synthetic and readable work that is broad in its reach and original in its insights.
Dreaming the Rational City is both a history of the city planning profession in the United States and a major polemical statement about the effort to plan and reform the American city. Boyer shows why city planning, which had so much promise at the outset for making cities more liveable, largely failed. She reveals planning's real responsibilities and goals, including the kind of "rational order" that was actually forseen by the planning mentality, and concludes that the planners have continuously served the needs of the dominant capitalist economy.M.