How to Read Towns & Cities is a pocket-sized primer to understanding the forces that have shaped the world's cities. It takes a practical, highly visual approach - showing us how to read the stories embedded in the fabric of the neighbourhoods, towns, and cities in which we live today. The fortunes of towns and cities rise and fall along with the fate of the civilisations to which they belong. Some are lost entirely, now no more than ruins; others have thrived as urban centres for millennia; and all contain vital clues embedded in their streets and skylines which reveal why their inhabitants grouped together, and tell of their unique social, political and cultural histories. Packed with plans, maps, and drawings, this book takes the reader on an international journey of discovery to explore the history of cities from our earliest urban origins to the contemporary world city - from Babylon to Beijing, London to Paris, and from the skyscrapers of New York to the streets of their own home town. A must-read for anyone interested in history, cities, and travel, this fascinating book turns the reader into urban detective to see how our towns and cities grew the way they are.