In this important collection, eighteen renowned writers, including David Remnick, Zadie Smith, Rebecca Skloot, Rory Stewart, and Adam Gopnik evoke the spirit and history of some of the world’s most recognized and significant city squares, accompanied by illustrations from equally distinguished photographers.
Over half of the world’s citizens now live in cities, and this number is rapidly growing. At the heart of these municipalities is the square—the defining urban public space since the dawn of democracy in Ancient Greece. Each square stands for a larger theme in history: cultural, geopolitical, anthropological, or architectural, and each of the eighteen luminary writers has contributed his or her own innate talent, prodigious research, and local knowledge.
Divided into three parts: Culture, Geopolitics, History, headlined by Michael Kimmelman, David Remnick, and George Packer, this significant anthology shows the city square in new light. Jehane Noujaim, award-winning filmmaker, takes the reader through her return to Tahrir Square during the 2011 protest; Rory Stewart, diplomat and author, chronicles a square in Kabul which has come and gone several times over five centuries; Ari Shavit describes the dramatic changes of central Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square; Rick Stengel, editor, author, and journalist, recounts the power of Mandela’s choice of the Grand Parade, Cape Town, a huge market square to speak to the world right after his release from twenty-seven years in prison; while award-winning journalist Gillian Tett explores the concept of the virtual square in the age of social media.
This collection is an important lesson in history, a portrait of the world we live in today, as well as an exercise in thinking about the future. Evocative and compelling, City Squares will change the way you walk through a city.
David Adjaye on Jemma e-Fnna, Marrakech • Anne Applebaum on Red Square, Moscow and Grand Market Square, Krakow • Chrystia Freeland on Euromaiden, Kiev • Adam Gopnik on Place des Vosges, Paris • Alma Guillermoprieto on Zocalo, Mexico City • Jehane Noujaim on Tahrir Square, Cairo • Evan Osnos on Tiananmen Square, Beijing • Andrew Roberts on Residential Squares, London • Elif Shafak on Taksim Square, Istanbul • Rebecca Skloot on American Town Squares • Ari Shavit on Rabin Square, Tel Aviv • Zadie Smith on the grand piazzas of Rome and Venice • Richard Stengel on Market Square, Grand Parade, Cape Town • Rory Stewart on Murad Khane, Kabul • Plus contributions by Gillian Tett, George Packer, David Remnick, and Michael Kimmelman; illustrations and photographs from renowned photographers, including: Thomas Struth, Philip Lorca di Corcia, and Josef Koudelka