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"The lively work of a geographer who has spent years exploring cities... His explorations range across a broad spectrum, from the form and character of building skins to the effects of zoning and building codes on urban design. There is similar breadth to the temporal sweep of his work, which focuses primarily on contemporary American cities but is comfortable reaching back to nineteenth-century or earlier antecedents to explain contemporary urban forms and patterns... [Ford] addresses and integrates an enormous range of issues of contemporary urban form that lie under our noses but to which, all too often, we find it beneath our dignity to pay attention. Ford pays attention. In one cogent comment after another, he reminds us of the importance of examining and thinking about our daily living and working environments."

"The clarity and scope of Ford's survey make the book engaging and informative not only for planners and designers, but also for readers generally interested in the shape of our cities."

"Easily accessible and useful to anyone interested in the pattern of our cities."

"Through description and photography, Ford offers a guide to the qualities of design, architecture, and ornamentation that create the character of urban spaces. The book is both interesting and illuminating—people will see cities differently after reading it."

"This book creeps up on you, like the plot of a good novel or movie that starts with an ordinary situation but, with twists and turns, forces you to look at things in new ways."

"Ford's colourful and accessible essays are likely to stimulate a deeper interest in understanding the spaces of the city. Perhaps then the spaces where most individuals spend most of their time would no longer be taken for granted. Which is precisely Ford's point: because we do not question our own acceptance of the American city as we know it today, the spaces of our cities have no meaning."