Art: Biology of Cities

"Cities [are] living organisms; [they] are born and . . . develop, disintegrate and die. . . . The cities of today . . . universally exhibit the same alarming symptoms. These endanger their very existence."

The author of this diagnosis is Architect Jose Luis Sert (nephew of famed Spanish muralist Jose Maria Sert), who speaks the view of the International Congresses for Modern Architecture (C.I.A.M.*). To their title question, Can Our Cities Survive? (Harvard University Press; $5), Mr. Sert and his group answer: Not unless they are replanned; considering the shape modern cities are in, the only moot point is whether...