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Daniel Brook: A History of Future Cities

Authors on Asia
Daniel Brook. (Aaron Mayes)

Every month, five million people move from the past to the future. Pouring into developing-world “instant cities” like Dubai and Shenzhen, these urban newcomers confront a modern world cobbled together from fragments of a West they have never seen. Do these fantastical boomtowns, where blueprints spring to life overnight on virgin land, represent the dawning of a brave new world? Or is their vaunted newness a mirage?

In a captivating blend of history and reportage, Daniel Brook travels to a series of major metropolitan hubs that were once themselves instant cities—St. Petersburg, Shanghai, and Mumbai—to watch their “dress rehearsals for the twenty-first century.” Understanding today’s emerging global order, he argues, requires comprehending the West’s profound and conflicted influence on developing-world cities over the centuries.



Registration and Reception: 6:30 pm
Program: 7:00 pm



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About the Author

Daniel Brook is a journalist whose work has appeared in publications including Harper’s, The Nation, and Slate, and the author of The Trap: Selling Out to Stay Afloat in Winner-Take-All America.

His architecture writing won the 2010 Winterhouse Award for Design Writing and Criticism. To research A History of Future Cities, Brook lived for a month each in St. Petersburg, Shanghai, Mumbai, and Dubai and conducted archival research on a semester-long fellowship at the Library of Congress. Originally from New York and educated at Yale University, Brook lives in New Orleans.


Event Details

26 September 2013

1370 Southmore Blvd.
Houston, TX 77004

Asia Society members $5; nonmembers $10. Links to purchase tickets below event description. All sales final.
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