This collection of twenty-one essays, written by colleagues and former students of the architectural historian Spiro Kostof (1936-1991), presents case studies on Kostof's model of urban forms and fabrics. The essays are remarkably diverse: the range includes pre-Columbian Inca settlements, fourteenth-century Cairo, nineteenth-century New Orleans, and twentieth-century Tokyo. Focusing on individual streets around the world and from different historical periods, the collection is an inviting overview of the street as an urban institution.
The theme of the volume is that the street presents itself as the basic structuring device of a city's form and also as the locus of its civilization. Each essay is a detailed investigation of a single urban street with unique historical conditions. The authors' shared concern regarding anthropological, political, and technical aspects of street making coalesce into a critical discourse on urban space. A fitting tribute to Spiro Kostof, this collection will be greatly admired by scholars and general readers alike.