René Davids, Professor Architecture + Urban Design
Berkeley, CA. “Shaping Terrain: City Building in Latin America” focuses on the ways existing topography has shaped postcolonial urbanism, showing how physical landscape and local ecology influenced human settlement and built form in Latin America since pre-Columbian times. As most urban capitals and city centers in Latin America are situated on dramatically varied terrain, the book explores the interplay between geography and built works in cities across the region, including Bogota, Caracas, Mendoza, Rio de Janeiro, Santiago de Chile, Mexico D.F. and Valparaiso.
Multinational contributors to the book include a broad range of professional urbanists, historians and architects -- many of whom are globally renowned for their design work -- published in English for the first time. “Shaping Terrain” is a wide-ranging representation of the unique legacy of Latin America’s urban heritage, which is a repository of possibilities for future cities.
Juan Miro, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programs at the University of Texas, Austin praised the book as a “journey throughout Latin America" telling stories of physical adaptation to existing landscape: “Stories of cities being shaped by major infrastructure projects, cities coping with the pressures of informality and unchecked growth, and cities searching for their identity by looking at their pre-Columbian past while embracing modernity on their own terms."