Book Review

City Riffs - Richard Plunz

The recent publication of the book titled “City Riff” by Richard Plunz (Columbia University, GSAPP) is based on the discourse of urbanism (dialogue) in relation to place and ecology.

The preface by Kenneth Frampton argues that the production of Urban Knowledge in a neo-liberal economy results in aporetic questions on limits and scope in the field of urban studies. He brings about three important and critical discourses: Christopher Alexander’s views on a low rise, high density model with ecological concerns, E.J. Mishan’s work on” The Cost of Economic Growth” and Richard Plunz’ work on “City Riffs”, demonstrates the linear process of indictment of urban transformations towards mal-distribution of resources.

The book brings the analogy of place and ecology, which necessitates in-depth understanding as both share the concept of place and space. His argument on place-based centrality to the urban discourse, which perhaps has not been dissected theoretically enough as compared to environmental science. He further argues that biological diversity needs to merge with urban diversity so that the evolutionary process of environmental science can aid the process of advancement of field-based urbanism.

The book is thought-provoking and brings about some fundamental arguments on ecology and urbanism, which has symbiotic relations. The book is a must read for urban researchers, who are willing to take a leap into larger ecological discourses.

Manoj Parmar