Why, as more and more people inhabit cities, are individuals (and families) increasingly isolated and alienated from the world around them? Why do private living conditions materially improve, while public settings-neighborhoods and city centers-rapidly deteriorate? Why do American cities consume more land than any other cities in the world yet exist without true spaciousness and strangle in congestion? Why has desire for private, single-family homes worked against the development of effective urban systems? In his original analysis of modern American cities, Kenneth Schneider carefully evaluates the causes and effects of these paradoxes. Schneider shows that current city conditions are destructive to the happiness and well-being of people and demonstrates that much of the failure of cities stems from their basic form and structure, from outmoded traditions of citymaking, and from persistent urban policies based on economic growth and technological development. He present a new approach to the understanding of cities ecological humanism-that combines concern for the well-being of both the city habitat and its inhabitants and thus provides one of the first genuinely social bases for reorganizing cities and their institutions.
Following service in the Marine Corps in World War II, Kenneth Schneider studied sociology and city planning at the University of California, Berkeley. He worked in planning for some years, including assignments at the United Nations in New York. Subsequently he worked with CARE in the Philippines, Sierra Leone, and Jordan. Following his overseas work, Schneider stressed his role as a generalist, writing The Destiny of Change and Autokind Vs. Mankind, and completed On the Nature of Cities while founding a small business, publishing large format post cards. He managed the company for almost twenty years. Since 1997 he has completed four additional books, noted in the front piece, all intended to stimulate a basic dialogue about fundamental change in society.