This book numbers a thousand and seventy-two pages. It contains a hundred and forty edited talks and lectures about the transformation of the urban domain – texts that were originally prepared for an international conference in Delft – plus numerous street plans, infographics, tables, photographs and diagrams. In an ocean this wide it is easy to get lost and drown, but navigational structure has been imposed both clearly and with lightness. At the front the jacket is divided into five bars of text with five fluorescent spot colours. The designers have used the same colours in printed ‘tab’ blocks up against the fore-edge, making it easy to thumb your way to opening the book at the right chapter. The top and bottom of the page have also been used to create the words ‘NEW’ and ‘URBAN’ in black on the head and tail edges. The fluorescent colour on the right-hand ‘tabs’ marking the chapters returns at the heart of each spread. The way the content is structured is thus clearly indicated by the clever use of nothing more than black and a spot colour.
Images are detailed, small and not always particularly legible – it looks as if this is something that missed out on some editorial attention, so that not enough account was taken of the limitations that a collection of lectures can entail. Despite its enormous thickness the book lies open well.
Among the various architecture books and atlas-like publications, this one stands out for all its clarity and seemingly simple approach. All in all, an apparently closed subject has been rendered accessible in a flexible and inventive way. Even if you have no understanding of the subjects, this book really does make you want to look into them.