Lewis Mumford: The Culture of Cities

Dawn Griffin Posted by
St. Louis Apr 2008

The city, as one finds it in history, is the point of maximum concentration for the power and culture of a community. It is the place where the diffused rays of many separate beams of life fall into focus, with gains in both social effectiveness and significance.


The city is the form and symbol of an integrated social relationship; it is the seat of the temple, the market, the ball of justice, the academy of learning. Here in the city the goods of civilization are multiplied and manifolded; here is where human experience is transformed into visible signs, symbols, patterns of conduct, systems of order.


Here is where the issues of civilization are focused: here, too, ritual passes on occasion into the active drama of a fully differentiated and self-conscious society.


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