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Hardcover | $47.00 Short | £32.95 | ISBN: 9780262083690 | 360 pp. | 7 x 9 in | 48 figures| January 2008
Paperback | $22.50 Short | £15.95 | ISBN: 9780262514170 | 360 pp. | 7 x 9 in | 48 figures| January 2010

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Essential Info

Urban Machinery

Inside Modern European Cities


Urban Machinery investigates the technological dimension of modern European cities, vividly describing the most dramatic changes in the urban environment over the last century and a half. Written by leading scholars from the history of technology, urban history, and the sociology of science and technology, the book views the European city as a complex construct entangled with technology. The chapters examine the increasing similarity of modern cities and their technical infrastructures (including communication, energy, industrial, and transportation systems) and the resulting tension between homogenization and cultural differentiation. The contributors emphasize the concept of circulation—the process by which architectural ideas, urban planning principles, engineering concepts, and societal models spread across Europe as well as from the United States to Europe. They also examine the parallel process of appropriation—how these systems and practices have been adapted to prevailing institutional structures and cultural preferences. Urban Machinery, with contributions by scholars from eight countries and more than thirty illustrations (many of them rare photographs never published before), includes studies from northern and southern and from eastern and western Europe, and also discusses how European cities were viewed from the periphery (modernizing Turkey) and from the United States.

Hans Buiter, Paolo Capuzzo, Noyan Dinçkal, Cornelis Disco, Pál Germuska, Mikael Hård, Martina Heßler, Dagmara Jajeniak-Quast, Andrew Jamison, Per Lundin, Thomas J. Misa, Dieter Schott, and Marcus Stippak

About the Editors

Mikael Hård is Professor of History at Darmstadt University of Technology. His books include The Intellectual Appropriation of Technology: Discourses on Modernity, 1900-1939 (coedited with Andrew Jamison; MIT Press, 1998).

Thomas J. Misa is ERA-Land Grant Professor of the History of Technology at the University of Minnesota, where he directs the Charles Babbage Institute. His books include Modernity and Technology (coedited with Philip Brey and Andrew Feenberg; MIT Press, 2003).


"By placing technology at the center of its historical narratives, the volume provides original insights into some of the most crucial episodes of modern urban history. Its focus on the tension between circulation and appropriation also connects the work presented here with more general debates in the social sciences about the role of place in the context of modernization and globalization. Similarly, historians of science who are interested in the circulation of scientific knowledge and objects or, more specifically, the relation between knowledge and cities will be able to draw much inspiration from Urban Machinery.", Jens Lachmund, ISIS