Excerpt from Concrete: From Ancient Origins to a Problematic Future

Mary Soderstrom’s Concrete explores the history of a material that has been central to architecture and design for thousands of years—and what its future looks like in a world experiencing rapid climate change.

Imagine what the world would be like without concrete: there’d be no high-rises, no grand irrigation projects, no lettuce from southern climes in the winter, no multi-lane highways crisscrossing continents, a shortage of electricity, more mud in some places, more solitude in others. But because of the fossil fuels and other resources required to make concrete, there also would be less CO2 in the atmosphere and less dramatic climate change. In Concrete: From Ancient Origins to a Problematic Future, Soderstrom tells the story of concrete’s glorious past, extravagant present, and uncertain future with careful research, lively anecdotes, and thoughtful reflection. The framework for this exploration is one the Romans—famous for concrete structures that are still strong—would understand: the four elements of Earth, Fire, Water, and Air.

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Find more information about this book on the NYU Press website.


 

ConcreteMary Soderstrom lives in Montreal and is the author of sixteen other books of fiction and non-fiction. Her book Concrete: From Ancient Origins to a Problematic Future is now available from University of Regina Press, a publishing partner of NYU Press.