“Our national flower is the concrete cloverleaf”

Ahead of his time, technology historian and urban philosopher Lewis Mumford (1895-1990) grasped the paradoxes of modern life and the long term pitfalls of the urban evolution he witnessed in the 1950s and 1960s.  I stumbled across some great quotes of his today:

  • Forget the damned motor car and build the cities for lovers and friends.
  • Restore human legs as a means of travel. Pedestrians rely on food for fuel and need no special parking facilities. 
  • The chief function of the city is to convert power into form, energy into culture, dead matter into the living symbols of art, biological reproduction into social creativity.
  • New York is the perfect model of a city, not the model of a perfect city.
  • Our national flower is the concrete cloverleaf.  (my favorite)

Much of Mumford’s work is timeless and a treat to read.  Similar to the work of Jane Jacobs, perhaps more applicable now than when he wrote.

One comment

  1. [...] Waters of urban design website All about Cities dug up some zinger quotes from Lewis Mumford (1895-1990), proving as always that plus ça change, [...]

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