Philadelphia: Finding the Hidden City

FINDING THE HIDDEN CITY shines a light on one of America’s greatest and yet least understood cities, Philadelphia. Written by two expert urban observers and photographed by one of America’s most lauded architectural photographers, the book marks out the elements of Philadelphia’s hiddenness through its vivid layers and living ruins, including in places like the Metropolitan Opera House, the Divine Lorraine Hotel, and Reading Railroad.

Unlike books of urban loss that lament or celebrate decline, FINDING THE HIDDEN CITY connects Philadelphia’s particularly accretive form—a 19th century rowhouse on Camac Street became the Poor Richard Club in the early 20th century, which later became a law firm in the city’s present-day commercial center– to its idiosyncratic history, culture, and people. By laying out these connections the authors develop an alternative theory of American urbanism to contrast with the better-understood and more dramatic narratives of New York, Detroit, and LA.

The book is as much visual as it is literary; Joseph Elliott’s striking photographs bring the viewer intriguing images of a city living, breathing, and always changing.


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