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CITY SQUARE by Michael Webb (Whitney Library of Design/Watson-Guptill: $45; 224 pp.).

December 02, 1990|Sonja Bolle

Is there any human activity that hasn't been performed in city squares? Commerce, courting, gossiping, brawling, painting, beheading, religious ceremony and military review. City squares are as basic a unit of civilization as the hearth; they can be barely spacious enough to hold the tables of the corner cafe, or large enough to stage a revolution. In this wonderfully illustrated book, Michael Webb traces the history of these public spaces from their classical origins to their revival in the Middle Ages and to current efforts to incorporate common areas in our dense downtowns and urban-renewal projects.

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