URBAN STUDIES AND THEORY

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NAI/D.A.P. DISTRIBUTED ART PUBLISHERS

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Paperback, 6.75 x 9.5 in. / 176 pgs / 89 color.

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CATALOG: SPRING 2011 p. 170   

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ISBN 9789056627980 TRADE
LIST PRICE: $35.00 CDN $40.00

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"For most of the last half-century, urban planning discussions have largely been framed by black-and-white terms and oppositions: centralization versus decentralization, 'top-down' planning versus 'bottom-up' planning, Soviet-style collectivism versus American-style individualism, the 'communist' city versus the 'capitalist' city. To be against centralized planning is traditionally to be for laissez-faire urbanism. To be for Jane Jacobs is to be against Robert Moses. Today, however, we are finding that many of these distinctions are based on historical caricatures, that the very concept of urban planning is far more rich and complicated philosophically than historians of the city have been willing to admit, and that there are traditions of planning that defy the distinction between centralization and decentralization."

Nader Vossoughian, excerpted from Otto Neurath: The Language of the Global Polis.

  

NAI/D.A.P. DISTRIBUTED ART PUBLISHERS

Otto Neurath: The Language of the Global Polis

Published by NAi/D.A.P. Distributed Art Publishers
Text by Nader Vossoughian.

The Austrian sociologist Otto Neurath was a seminal figure of twentieth-century modernist thought. Member of the Vienna Circle, founder of the Museum of Society and Economy, inventor of the famous Isotype pictorial system and champion of the Unity of Science movement, Neurath espoused a vision of a "global polis" that put him in contact with the leading intellectuals, architects and artists of his time, from Adolf Loos to Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, from Sigfried Giedion to Le Corbusier, from graphic designer Gerd Arntz to architect and urban designer Cornelis van Eesteren. From 1931onwards he collaborated with the International Congress of Modern Architecture (CIAM) and its chief exponents-Cornelis van Eesteren,Sigfried Giedion, Le Corbusier and Laszlo Moholy-Nagy-to construct an international language of urban planning and design. His close relationship with bibliographer Paul Otlet and the "cité mondiale" project led to an engagement with issues of international communication. Now in paperback, The Language of the Global Polis explores Neurath's ideas on the modern metropolis, his fascination with visual media and the Vienna Method of Pictorial Statistics and the ways in which Neurath attempted to internationalize the aims of his Museum of Society and Economy through collaborations with CIAM and Otlet and by establishing satellite museums across the world. Both scholarly and accessible, Vossoughian's text offers a new perspective to one of the most formidable intellectuals of the interwar period.
Otto Neurath (1882-1945) was a philosopher, economist and information designer. His work in all of these fields was unified by a wholesale rejection of metaphysics (as expressed in the philosophy of Logical Positivism) and his desire to construct universal knowledge systems to streamline information flow, the most famous of which are his Universal Silhouettes (for example the male and female silhouette son bathroom doors, and road signs such as the car swerving). He fled his native Austria after the Nazi Anschluss and eventually settled in Oxford, England, where he founded the Isotype Institute.

PRAISE AND REVIEWS

The New York Times Book Review

Steven Heller

The Language of the Global Polis, a compact, exhaustively researched biography that explains Neurath’s visual philosophy in the context of his social and environmental concerns.

Otto Neurath: The Language of the Global Polis

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