How to Read the American City

Grady Clay


Grady Clay

192 pages | illustrations | © 1973, 1980
Paper $29.00 ISBN: 9780226109459 Published April 1980
"Grady Clay looks hard at the landscape, finding out who built what and why, noticing who participates in a city's success and who gets left in a 'sink,' or depressed (often literally) area. Clay doesn't stay in the city; he looks at industrial towns, truck stops, suburbs—nearly anywhere people live or work. His style is witty and readable, and the book is crammed with illustrations that clarify his points. If I had to pick up one book to guide my observations of the American scene, this would be it."—Sonia Simone, Whole Earth Review

"The emphasis on the informal aspects of city-shaping—topographical, historical, economic and social—does much to counteract the formalist approach to American urban design. Close-Up...should be required reading for anyone wishing to understand Americans and their cities."—Roger Cunliffe, Architectural Review

"Close-Up is a provocative and stimulating book."—Thomas J. Schlereth, Winterthur Portfolio

"Within this coherent string of essays, the urban dweller or observer, as well as the student, will find refreshing strategies for viewing the environmental 'situations' interacting to form a landscape."—Dallas Morning News

"Clay's Close-Up, first published in 1973, is still a key book for looking at the real American city. Too many urban books and guidebooks concentrate on the good parts of the city....Clay looks at all parts of the city, the suburbs, and the places between cities, and develops new terms to describe parts of the built environment—fronts, strips, beats, stacks, sinks, and turf. No one who wants to understand American cities or to describe them, should fail to know this book. The illustrations are of special interest to the guidebook writer."—American Urban Guidenotes
Preface to the Phoenix Edition
Epitome Districts
Sources of Illustrations
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