My former colleague at Virginia Tech, Paul Knox, has a new book out called Cities and Design. From the book’s descriptive:
Cities, initially a product of the manufacturing era, have been thoroughly remade in the image of consumer society. Competitive spending among affluent households has intensified the importance of style and design at every scale and design professions have grown in size and importance, reflecting distinctive geographies and locating disproportionately in cities most intimately connected with global systems of key business services. Meanwhile, many observers still believe good design can make positive contributions to people’s lives.
Cities and Design explores the complex relationships between design and urban environments. It traces the intellectual roots of urban design, presents a critical appraisal of the imprint and effectiveness of design professions in shaping urban environments, examines the role of design in the material culture of contemporary cities, and explores the complex linkages among designers, producers and distributors in contemporary cities: for example fashion and graphic design in New York; architecture, fashion and publishing in London; furniture, industrial design, interior design and fashion in Milan; haute couture in Paris; and so on.
This book offers a distinctive social science perspective on the economic and cultural context of design in contemporary cities, presenting cities themselves as settings for design, design services and the ‘affect’ associated with design.
Cities most certainly predate the manufacturing era. I am assuming he means modern cities.