HABITATINTL. Vol. 9, No. I. p. III. 198.5. Pcrgamon Press Ltd. Printed in Great Britain.
Section 2: BOOK REVIEWS
Introduction In this Book Review section, a firm and fond friend of HABITAT INTERNATIONAL contributes two sets of reviews, and given that his reviews take up well over half of this issue’s Review section, we are tempted to designate him as ‘Guest Review Editor’ as well as fond friend. Paul Oliver is Associate Head, Department of Architecture, Oxford Polytechnic, and Chairman of the Graduate Diploma course; and Project Leader of the ODAIOxford Polytechnic research project on Cultural Aspects of Housing in Seismic Areas (Turkey). In our leading review Paul Oliver sets his recent experiences in Turkey as a context for three books where theoretical discussions are presented which compliment (and sometimes contradict) his practical observations. This review is more an essay, than merely an evaluation of three recent publications. We hope our readers will enjoy this wider-ranging and personal approach. This debate between the theoretical and the practical - to simplify but hopefully not to distort too much - continues throughout the Review Section. Paul Oliver’s second review of Frederic Cuny’s Disasters and Development commends the book and discusses this practical and objective work, with only regret for the author’s reticence and politeness. Perhaps only in theoretical debate can one be rude to real projects and live projects. Still in the practical vein, John Pickford of WEDC (Water and Waste Engineering for Developing Countries), University of Technology, Loughborough, Leicestershire, has undertaken on our reader’s behalves to plough through the World Bank’s three volume handbook of water supply and sanitation project preparation. It is clear that, for the time being, these volumes will be indispensible for all involved in project planning in the water and sanitation sector of developing countries. Great contrast is presented by the content of the next book reviewed: Lloyd Rodwin’s Cities and City Planning, which deals with the varying ways that cities have been perceived by so-called concerned professionals and even laymen. The very theoretical, almost philosophical - musings of Kevin Lynch et al. - are side by side with contributions concerned with discussions of formal notions of city planning and the actual practice of the art - the science - or the business. So, as a review sector, we are back to a tidy practical vs theoretical structure. The two inter-related, dependent and sometimes warring aspects arepresent in a review which could, by some standards, be considered the joker in this particular pack. Bob Garrett, modestly titled as a management consultant, but also a China and Hong Kong watcher and traveller of some standing, discusses Society and Politics in Hong where accepted theory just will not perfectly fit the reality. In this case, Hong Kong is under scrutiny. So our review section in this issue exemplifies what we like to think and distinguishes HABITAT INTERNATIONAL from other journals: dealing with settlements, housing and planning at a practical level, a theoretical level, and most importantly - where these two meet.