Why do cities look the way they do? In this intriguing book, Mona Domosh seeks to answer this question by comparing the strikingly different landscapes of two great American cities, Boston and New York. Although these two cities appeared to be quite similar through the eighteenth century, distinctive characteristics emerged as social and economic differences developed. Domosh explores the physical differences between Boston and New York, comparing building patterns and architectural styles to show how a society's vision creates its own distinctive urban form. Cities, Domosh contends, are visible representations of individual and group beliefs, values, tensions, and fears. Using an interdisciplinary approach that encompasses economics, politics, architecture, historical and cultural geography, and urban studies, Domosh shows how the middle and upper classes of Boston and New York, the "building elite," inscribed their visions of social order and social life on four landscape features during the latter half of the nineteenth century: New York's retail district and its commercial skyscrapers, and Boston's Back Bay and its Common and park system. New York's self-expression translated into unconstrained commercial and residential expansion, conspicuous consumption, and architecture designed to display wealth and prestige openly. Boston, in contrast, focused more on culture. The urban gentry limited skyscraper construction, prevented commercial development of Boston Common, and maintained homes and parks near the business district. Many fascinating lithographs illustrate the two cities' contrasting visions.