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City Talks: Ben Schrader - The Big Smoke

When:

Mon 13 Mar 2017, 6:00pm–8:00pm

Where: City Gallery Wellington, Civic Square, 101 Wakefield St, Wellington

Restrictions: All Ages

Ticket Information:

  • Admission: Free

Websites:

Listed by: wellington_nzia

The pursuit of city life is one of the most important untold stories of New Zealand.

Historian Ben Schrader’s 'The Big Smoke: New Zealand Cities 1840-1920' is the first comprehensive history to tell this story, presenting a dynamic and highly illustrated account of city life from 1840 to 1920.

Unlike in Europe, North America, Australia and elsewhere, urban history has never been sustained as a distinct field of scholarship in New Zealand. This is surprising, considering that since the early twentieth century most New Zealanders have lived in towns and cities – 86 percent were urban in 2014. Yet we know surprisingly little about these urban dwellers and the spaces in which they lived.

At a time of national debate over housing and the growth of our cities, Ben Schrader reveals how our urban origins have shaped the people we are today and invites us to consider such questions as: what did cities look like and how did they change; why were women especially drawn to live in cities; in what ways did Māori experience and shape cities; how far was the street a living room and stage for city life; and why did New Zealand so quickly become a nation of townspeople?

City Talks is an ongoing series initiated by the New Zealand Institute of Architects Wellington Branch and presented in partnership with City Gallery Wellington. Its purpose is to foster discussion about architecture for a broader audience in a city that cares to openly discuss ideas relevant to our future.

Ben Schrader is a Wellington historian specialising in urban history and historic preservation. He was Senior Researcher of the award-winning New Zealand Historical Atlas (1997) and has written extensively for Te Ara, the online encyclopaedia of New Zealand, for which he co-edited the City and Economy theme. His last book was We Call it Home: A History of State Housing in New Zealand (2005), a finalist in the 2006 Montana Book Awards.

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