Popular Urbanism Books

30+ [Hand Picked] Popular Books On Urbanism

Discover the list of some best books written on Urbanism by popular award winning authors. These book on topic Urbanism highly popular among the readers worldwide.

4.5/5

Palaces for the People: How Social Infrastructure Can Help Fight Inequality, Polarization, and the Decline of Civic Life by Eric Klinenberg

An eminent sociologist and bestselling author offers an inspiring blueprint for rebuilding our fractured society. We are living in a time of deep divisions. Americans are sorting themselves along racial, religious, and cultural lines, leading to a level of polarization that the country hasn't seen since the Civil War. Pundits and politicians are calling for us to come tog An eminent sociologist and bestselling author offers an inspiring blueprint for rebuilding our fractured society. We are living in a time of deep divisions. Americans are sorting themselves along racial, religious, and cultural lines, leading to a level of polarization that the country hasn't seen since the Civil War. Pundits and politicians are calling for us to come together, to find common purpose. But how, exactly, can this be done? In Palaces for the People, Eric Klinenberg suggests a way forward. He believes that the future of democratic societies rests not simply on shared values but on shared spaces: the libraries, childcare centers, bookstores, churches, synagogues, and parks where crucial, sometimes life-saving connections, are formed. These are places where people gather and linger, making friends across group lines and strengthening the entire community. Klinenberg calls this the "social infrastructure" When it is strong, neighborhoods flourish; when it is neglected, as it has been in recent years, families and individuals must fend for themselves. Klinenberg takes us around the globe--from a floating school in Bangladesh to an arts incubator in Chicago, from a soccer pitch in Queens to an evangelical church in Houston--to show how social infrastructure is helping to solve some of our most pressing challenges: isolation, crime, education, addiction, political polarization, and even climate change. Richly reported, elegantly written, and ultimately uplifting, Palaces for the People urges us to acknowledge the crucial role these spaces play in civic life. Our social infrastructure could be the key to bridging our seemingly unbridgeable divides--and safeguarding democracy.

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4.3/5

Poverty Safari by Darren McGarvey

People from deprived communities all around Britain feel misunderstood and unheard. Darren McGarvey, aka 'Loki' gives voice to their feelings and concerns, and the anger that is spilling over. Anger he says we will have to get used to, unless things change. He invites you to come on a Safari of sorts. A Poverty Safari. But not the sort where the indigenous species is surve People from deprived communities all around Britain feel misunderstood and unheard. Darren McGarvey, aka 'Loki' gives voice to their feelings and concerns, and the anger that is spilling over. Anger he says we will have to get used to, unless things change. He invites you to come on a Safari of sorts. A Poverty Safari. But not the sort where the indigenous species is surveyed from a safe distance for a time, before the window on the community closes and everyone gradually forgets about it.

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4.6/5

The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America by Richard Rothstein

In this groundbreaking history of the modern American metropolis, Richard Rothstein, a leading authority on housing policy, explodes the myth that America’s cities came to be racially divided through de facto segregation—that is, through individual prejudices, income differences, or the actions of private institutions like banks and real estate agencies. Rather, The Color In this groundbreaking history of the modern American metropolis, Richard Rothstein, a leading authority on housing policy, explodes the myth that America’s cities came to be racially divided through de facto segregation—that is, through individual prejudices, income differences, or the actions of private institutions like banks and real estate agencies. Rather, The Color of Law incontrovertibly makes clear that it was de jure segregation—the laws and policy decisions passed by local, state, and federal governments—that actually promoted the discriminatory patterns that continue to this day. Through extraordinary revelations and extensive research that Ta-Nehisi Coates has lauded as "brilliant" (The Atlantic), Rothstein comes to chronicle nothing less than an untold story that begins in the 1920s, showing how this process of de jure segregation began with explicit racial zoning, as millions of African Americans moved in a great historical migration from the south to the north. As Jane Jacobs established in her classic The Death and Life of Great American Cities, it was the deeply flawed urban planning of the 1950s that created many of the impoverished neighborhoods we know. Now, Rothstein expands our understanding of this history, showing how government policies led to the creation of officially segregated public housing and the demolition of previously integrated neighborhoods. While urban areas rapidly deteriorated, the great American suburbanization of the post–World War II years was spurred on by federal subsidies for builders on the condition that no homes be sold to African Americans. Finally, Rothstein shows how police and prosecutors brutally upheld these standards by supporting violent resistance to black families in white neighborhoods. The Fair Housing Act of 1968 prohibited future discrimination but did nothing to reverse residential patterns that had become deeply embedded. Yet recent outbursts of violence in cities like Baltimore, Ferguson, and Minneapolis show us precisely how the legacy of these earlier eras contributes to persistent racial unrest. “The American landscape will never look the same to readers of this important book” (Sherrilyn Ifill, president of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund), as Rothstein’s invaluable examination shows that only by relearning this history can we finally pave the way for the nation to remedy its unconstitutional past.

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5/5

How Paris Became Paris: The Invention of the Modern City by Joan DeJean

At the beginning of the seventeenth century, Paris was known for isolated monuments but had not yet put its brand on urban space. Like other European cities, it was still emerging from its medieval past. But in a mere century Paris would be transformed into the modern and mythic city we know today. Though most people associate the signature characteristics of Paris with the At the beginning of the seventeenth century, Paris was known for isolated monuments but had not yet put its brand on urban space. Like other European cities, it was still emerging from its medieval past. But in a mere century Paris would be transformed into the modern and mythic city we know today. Though most people associate the signature characteristics of Paris with the public works of the nineteenth century, Joan DeJean demonstrates that the Parisian model for urban space was in fact invented two centuries earlier, when the first complete design for the French capital was drawn up and implemented. As a result, Paris saw many changes. It became the first city to tear down its fortifications, inviting people in rather than keeping them out. Parisian urban planning showcased new kinds of streets, including the original boulevard, as well as public parks and the earliest sidewalks and bridges without houses. Venues opened for urban entertainment of all kinds, from opera and ballet to a pastime invented in Paris, recreational shopping. Parisians enjoyed the earliest public transportation and street lighting, and Paris became Europe's first great walking city. A century of planned development made Paris both beautiful and exciting. It gave people reasons to be out in public as never before and as nowhere else. And it gave Paris its modern identity as a place that people dreamed of seeing. By 1700, Paris had become the capital that would revolutionize our conception of the city and of urban life.

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4.5/5

In Defense of Housing: The Politics of Crisis by Peter Marcuse , David Madden

In every major city in the world there is a housing crisis. How did this happen and what can we do about it? Everyone needs and deserves housing. But today our homes are being transformed into commodities, making the inequalities of the city ever more acute. Profit has become more important than social need. The poor are forced to pay more for worse housing. Households are In every major city in the world there is a housing crisis. How did this happen and what can we do about it? Everyone needs and deserves housing. But today our homes are being transformed into commodities, making the inequalities of the city ever more acute. Profit has become more important than social need. The poor are forced to pay more for worse housing. Households are subjected to eviction and foreclosure. Communities face gentrification and displacement. And the benefits of decent housing are only available for those who can afford it. In Defense of Housing is the definitive statement by leading urban planner Peter Marcuse and sociologist David Madden. They diagnose the causes and consequences of the housing crisis and detail the need for progressive alternatives. Minor policy changes will not solve they problem, they argue. Rather, the housing crisis has deep political and economic roots, and therefore requries a radical response.

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4/5

On the Run: Fugitive Life in an American City by Alice Goffman

Forty years in, the War on Drugs has done almost nothing to prevent drugs from being sold or used, but it has nonetheless created a little-known surveillance state in America’s most disadvantaged neighborhoods. Arrest quotas and high-tech surveillance techniques criminalize entire blocks, and transform the very associations that should stabilize young lives—family, relatio Forty years in, the War on Drugs has done almost nothing to prevent drugs from being sold or used, but it has nonetheless created a little-known surveillance state in America’s most disadvantaged neighborhoods. Arrest quotas and high-tech surveillance techniques criminalize entire blocks, and transform the very associations that should stabilize young lives—family, relationships, jobs—into liabilities, as the police use such relationships to track down suspects, demand information, and threaten consequences. Alice Goffman spent six years living in one such neighborhood in Philadelphia, and her close observations and often harrowing stories reveal the pernicious effects of this pervasive policing. Goffman introduces us to an unforgettable cast of young African American men who are caught up in this web of warrants and surveillance—some of them small-time drug dealers, others just ordinary guys dealing with limited choices. All find the web of presumed criminality, built as it is on the very associations and friendships that make up a life, nearly impossible to escape. We watch as the pleasures of summer-evening stoop-sitting are shattered by the arrival of a carful of cops looking to serve a warrant; we watch—and can’t help but be shocked—as teenagers teach their younger siblings and cousins how to run from the police (and, crucially, to keep away from friends and family so they can stay hidden); and we see, over and over, the relentless toll that the presumption of criminality takes on families—and futures. While not denying the problems of the drug trade, and the violence that often accompanies it, through her gripping accounts of daily life in the forgotten neighborhoods of America's cities, Goffman makes it impossible for us to ignore the very real human costs of our failed response—the blighting of entire neighborhoods, and the needless sacrifice of whole generations.  

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3.4/5

A Burglar's Guide to the City by Geoff Manaugh

Encompassing nearly 2,000 years of heists and tunnel jobs, break-ins and escapes, A Burglar's Guide to the City offers an unexpected blueprint to the criminal possibilities in the world all around us. You'll never see the city the same way again. At the core of A Burglar's Guide to the City is an unexpected and thrilling insight: how any building transforms when seen throug Encompassing nearly 2,000 years of heists and tunnel jobs, break-ins and escapes, A Burglar's Guide to the City offers an unexpected blueprint to the criminal possibilities in the world all around us. You'll never see the city the same way again. At the core of A Burglar's Guide to the City is an unexpected and thrilling insight: how any building transforms when seen through the eyes of someone hoping to break into it. Studying architecture the way a burglar would, Geoff Manaugh takes readers through walls, down elevator shafts, into panic rooms, up to the buried vaults of banks, and out across the rooftops of an unsuspecting city. With the help of FBI Special Agents, reformed bank robbers, private security consultants, the L.A.P.D. Air Support Division, and architects past and present, the book dissects the built environment from both sides of the law. Whether picking padlocks or climbing the walls of high-rise apartments, finding gaps in a museum's surveillance routine or discussing home invasions in ancient Rome, A Burglar's Guide to the City has the tools, the tales, and the x-ray vision you need to see architecture as nothing more than an obstacle that can be outwitted and undercut. Full of real-life heists-both spectacular and absurd-A Burglar's Guide to the City ensures readers will never enter a bank again without imagining how to loot the vault or walk down the street without planning the perfect getaway.

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3/5

Flâneuse: Women Walk the City in Paris, New York, Tokyo, Venice and London by Lauren Elkin

'Flâneuse [flanne-euhze], noun, from the French. Feminine form of flâneur [flanne-euhr], an idler, a dawdling observer, usually found in cities. That is an imaginary definition.' If the word flâneur conjures up visions of Baudelaire, boulevards and bohemia – then what exactly is a flâneuse? In this gloriously provocative and celebratory book, Lauren Elkin defines her as ‘a de 'Flâneuse [flanne-euhze], noun, from the French. Feminine form of flâneur [flanne-euhr], an idler, a dawdling observer, usually found in cities. That is an imaginary definition.' If the word flâneur conjures up visions of Baudelaire, boulevards and bohemia – then what exactly is a flâneuse? In this gloriously provocative and celebratory book, Lauren Elkin defines her as ‘a determined resourceful woman keenly attuned to the creative potential of the city, and the liberating possibilities of a good walk’. Part cultural meander, part memoir, Flâneuse traces the relationship between the city and creativity through a journey that begins in New York and moves us to Paris, via Venice, Tokyo and London, exploring along the way the paths taken by the flâneuses who have lived and walked in those cities. From nineteenth-century novelist George Sand to artist Sophie Calle, from war correspondent Martha Gellhorn to film-maker Agnes Varda, Flâneuse considers what is at stake when a certain kind of light-footed woman encounters the city and changes her life, one step at a time.

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4.3/5

Street Smart: A Fifty-Year Mistake Set Right and the Great Urban Revival by Samuel I. Schwartz , William Rosen (With)

Alternate cover for this edition can be found here With wit and sharp insight, former Traffic Commissioner of New York City, Sam Schwartz a.k.a. “Gridlock Sam,” one of the most respected transportation engineers in the world and consummate insider in NYC political circles, uncovers how American cities became so beholden to cars and why the current shift away from that trend Alternate cover for this edition can be found here With wit and sharp insight, former Traffic Commissioner of New York City, Sam Schwartz a.k.a. “Gridlock Sam,” one of the most respected transportation engineers in the world and consummate insider in NYC political circles, uncovers how American cities became so beholden to cars and why the current shift away from that trend will forever alter America’s urban landscapes, marking nothing short of a revolution in how we get from place to place. When Sam Schwartz was growing up in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn—his block belonged to his community: the kids who played punchball and stickball & their parents, who’d regularly walk to the local businesses at which they also worked. He didn’t realize it then, but Bensonhurst was already more like a museum of a long-forgotten way-of-life than a picture of America’s future. Public transit traveled over and under city streets—New York’s first subway line opened in 1904—but the streets themselves had been conquered by the internal combustion engine. America’s dependency on the automobile began with the 1908 introduction of Henry Ford’s car-for-everyone, the Model T. The “battle for right-of-way” in the 1920s saw the demise of streetcars and transformed America’s streets from a multiuse resource for socializing, commerce, and public mobility into exclusive arteries for private automobiles. The subsequent destruction of urban transit systems and post WWII suburbanization of America enabled by the Interstate Highway System and the GI Bill forever changed the way Americans commuted. But today, for the first time in history, and after a hundred years of steady increase, automobile driving is in decline. Younger Americans increasingly prefer active transportation choices like walking or cycling and taking public transit, ride-shares or taxis. This isn’t a consequence of higher gas prices, or even the economic downturn, but rather a collective decision to be a lot less dependent on cars—and if American cities want to keep their younger populations, they need to plan accordingly. In Street Smart, Sam Schwartz explains how. In this clear and erudite presentation of the principles of smart transportation and sustainable urban planning—from the simplest cobblestoned street to the brave new world of driverless cars and trains—Sam Schwartz combines rigorous historical scholarship with the personal and entertaining recollections of a man who has spent more than forty years working on planning intelligent transit networks in New York City. Street Smart is a book for everyone who wants to know more about the who, what, when, where, and why of human mobility.

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3.3/5

This Is Where You Belong: The Art and Science of Loving the Place You Live by Melody Warnick

The average restless American will move 11.7 times in a lifetime. For Melody Warnick, it was move #6, from Austin, Texas, to Blacksburg, Virginia, that threatened to unhinge her. In the lonely aftermath of unpacking, she wondered: Aren’t we supposed to put down roots at some point? How does where we live become the place where we want to stay? This time, she had an epiphan The average restless American will move 11.7 times in a lifetime. For Melody Warnick, it was move #6, from Austin, Texas, to Blacksburg, Virginia, that threatened to unhinge her. In the lonely aftermath of unpacking, she wondered: Aren’t we supposed to put down roots at some point? How does where we live become the place where we want to stay? This time, she had an epiphany. Rather than hold her breath and hope this new town would be her family’s perfect fit, she would figure out how to fall in love with it—no matter what. How we come to feel at home in our towns and cities is what Warnick sets out to discover in This Is Where You Belong. She dives into the body of research around place attachment—the deep sense of connection that binds some of us to our cities and increases our physical and emotional well-being—then travels to towns across America to see it in action. Inspired by a growing movement of placemaking, she examines what its practitioners are doing to create likeable locales. She also speaks with frequent movers and loyal stayers around the country to learn what draws highly mobile Americans to a new city, and what makes us stay. The best ideas she imports to her adopted hometown of Blacksburg for a series of Love Where You Live experiments designed to make her feel more locally connected. Dining with her neighbors. Shopping Small Business Saturday. Marching in the town Christmas parade. Can these efforts make a halfhearted resident happier? Will Blacksburg be the place where she finally stays? What Warnick learns will inspire you to embrace your own community—and perhaps discover that the place where you live right now is home.

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4/5

London Overground: A Day's Walk Around the Ginger Line by Iain Sinclair

Iain Sinclair explores modern London through a day's hike around the London Overground route. Echoing his journey in London Orbital over a decade ago, Iain Sinclair narrates his second circular walk around the capital. Shortly after rush-hour and accompanied by a rambling companion, Sinclair begins walking along London's Overground network, or, 'Ginger Line'. With character Iain Sinclair explores modern London through a day's hike around the London Overground route. Echoing his journey in London Orbital over a decade ago, Iain Sinclair narrates his second circular walk around the capital. Shortly after rush-hour and accompanied by a rambling companion, Sinclair begins walking along London's Overground network, or, 'Ginger Line'. With characteristic playfulness, detours into folk history, withering assessments of the political classes and a joyful allegiance to the ordinary oddball, Sinclair guides us on a tour of London's trendiest new transport network - and shows the shifting, changing city from new and surprising angles.

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3.5/5

Why Place Matters: Geography, Identity, and Civic Life in Modern America by Wilfred M. McClay (Editor) , Ted V. McAllister (Editor)

Contemporary American society, with its emphasis on mobility and economic progress, all too often loses sight of the importance of a sense of “place” and community. Appreciating place is essential for building the strong local communities that cultivate civic engagement, public leadership, and many of the other goods that contribute to a flourishing human life. Do we, in lo Contemporary American society, with its emphasis on mobility and economic progress, all too often loses sight of the importance of a sense of “place” and community. Appreciating place is essential for building the strong local communities that cultivate civic engagement, public leadership, and many of the other goods that contribute to a flourishing human life. Do we, in losing our places, lose the crucial basis for healthy and resilient individual identity, and for the cultivation of public virtues? For one can’t be a citizen without being a citizen of some place in particular; one isn’t a citizen of a motel. And if these dangers are real and present ones, are there ways that intelligent public policy can begin to address them constructively, by means of reasonable and democratic innovations that are likely to attract wide public support? Why Place Matters takes these concerns seriously, and its contributors seek to discover how, given the American people as they are, and American economic and social life as it now exists—and not as those things can be imagined to be in some utopian scheme—we can find means of fostering a richer and more sustaining way of life. The book is an anthology of essays exploring the contemporary problems of place and placelessness in American society. The book includes contributions from distinguished scholars and writers such as poet Dana Gioia (former chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts), geographer Yi-Fu Tuan, urbanist Witold Rybczynski, architect Philip Bess, essayists Christine Rosen and Ari Schulman, philosopher Roger Scruton, transportation planner Gary Toth, and historians Russell Jacoby and Joseph Amato.

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3/5

Americans Against the City: Anti-Urbanism in the Twentieth Century by Steven Conn

It is a paradox of American life that we are a highly urbanized nation filled with people deeply ambivalent about urban life. An aversion to urban density and all that it contributes to urban life, and a perception that the city was the place where "big government" first took root in America fostered what historian Steven Conn terms the "anti-urban impulse." In response, a It is a paradox of American life that we are a highly urbanized nation filled with people deeply ambivalent about urban life. An aversion to urban density and all that it contributes to urban life, and a perception that the city was the place where "big government" first took root in America fostered what historian Steven Conn terms the "anti-urban impulse." In response, anti-urbanists called for the decentralization of the city, and rejected the role of government in American life in favor of a return to the pioneer virtues of independence and self-sufficiency. In this provocative and sweeping book, Conn explores the anti-urban impulse across the 20th century, examining how the ideas born of it have shaped both the places in which Americans live and work, and the anti-government politics so strong today. Beginning in the booming industrial cities of the Progressive era at the turn of the 20th century, where debate surrounding these questions first arose, Conn examines the progression of anti-urban movements.: He describes the decentralist movement of the 1930s, the attempt to revive the American small town in the mid-century, the anti-urban basis of urban renewal in the 1950s and '60s, and the Nixon administration's program of building new towns as a response to the urban crisis, illustrating how, by the middle of the 20th century, anti-urbanism was at the center of the politics of the New Right. Concluding with an exploration of the New Urbanist experiments at the turn of the 21st century, Conn demonstrates the full breadth of the anti-urban impulse, from its inception to the present day. Engagingly written, thoroughly researched, and forcefully argued, Americans Against the City is important reading for anyone who cares not just about the history of our cities, but about their future as well.

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4.9/5

How to Kill a City: Gentrification, Inequality, and the Fight for the Neighborhood by P.E. Moskowitz

The term gentrification has become a buzzword to describe the changes in urban neighborhoods across the country, but we don't realize just how threatening it is. It means more than the arrival of trendy shops, much-maligned hipsters, and expensive lattes. The very future of American cities as vibrant, equitable spaces hangs in the balance. Peter Moskowitz's How to Kill a Ci The term gentrification has become a buzzword to describe the changes in urban neighborhoods across the country, but we don't realize just how threatening it is. It means more than the arrival of trendy shops, much-maligned hipsters, and expensive lattes. The very future of American cities as vibrant, equitable spaces hangs in the balance. Peter Moskowitz's How to Kill a City takes readers from the kitchen tables of hurting families who can no longer afford their homes to the corporate boardrooms and political backrooms where destructive housing policies are devised. Along the way, Moskowitz uncovers the massive, systemic forces behind gentrification in New Orleans, Detroit, San Francisco, and New York. The deceptively simple question of who can and cannot afford to pay the rent goes to the heart of America's crises of race and inequality. In the fight for economic opportunity and racial justice, nothing could be more important than housing. A vigorous, hard-hitting expose, How to Kill a City reveals who holds power in our cities-and how we can get it back

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4.7/5

Vanishing New York: How a Great City Lost Its Soul by Jeremiah Moss

"ESSENTIAL READING FOR FANS OF JANE JACOBS, JOSEPH MITCHELL, PATTI SMITH, LUC SANTE AND CHEAP PIEROGI."--VANITY FAIR An unflinching chronicle of gentrification in the twenty-first century and a love letter to lost New York by the creator of the popular and incendiary blog Vanishing New York. For generations, New York City has been a mecca for artists, writers, and other hope "ESSENTIAL READING FOR FANS OF JANE JACOBS, JOSEPH MITCHELL, PATTI SMITH, LUC SANTE AND CHEAP PIEROGI."--VANITY FAIR An unflinching chronicle of gentrification in the twenty-first century and a love letter to lost New York by the creator of the popular and incendiary blog Vanishing New York. For generations, New York City has been a mecca for artists, writers, and other hopefuls longing to be part of its rich cultural exchange and unique social fabric. But today, modern gentrification is transforming the city from an exceptional, iconoclastic metropolis into a suburbanized luxury zone with a price tag only the one percent can afford. A Jane Jacobs for the digital age, blogger and cultural commentator Jeremiah Moss has emerged as one of the most outspoken and celebrated critics of this dramatic shift. In Vanishing New York, he reports on the city’s development in the twenty-first century, a period of "hyper-gentrification" that has resulted in the shocking transformation of beloved neighborhoods and the loss of treasured unofficial landmarks. In prose that the Village Voice has called a "mixture of snark, sorrow, poeticism, and lyric wit," Moss leads us on a colorful guided tour of the most changed parts of town—from the Lower East Side and Chelsea to Harlem and Williamsburg—lovingly eulogizing iconic institutions as they’re replaced with soulless upscale boutiques, luxury condo towers, and suburban chains. Propelled by Moss’ hard-hitting, cantankerous style, Vanishing New York is a staggering examination of contemporary "urban renewal" and its repercussions—not only for New Yorkers, but for all of America and the world.

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3.2/5

The Death and Life of Great American Cities by Jane Jacobs

A direct and fundamentally optimistic indictment of the short-sightedness and intellectual arrogance that has characterized much of urban planning in this century, The Death and Life of Great American Cities has, since its first publication in 1961, become the standard against which all endeavors in that field are measured. In prose of outstanding immediacy, Jane Jacobs wr A direct and fundamentally optimistic indictment of the short-sightedness and intellectual arrogance that has characterized much of urban planning in this century, The Death and Life of Great American Cities has, since its first publication in 1961, become the standard against which all endeavors in that field are measured. In prose of outstanding immediacy, Jane Jacobs writes about what makes streets safe or unsafe; about what constitutes a neighborhood, and what function it serves within the larger organism of the city; about why some neighborhoods remain impoverished while others regenerate themselves. She writes about the salutary role of funeral parlors and tenement windows, the dangers of too much development money and too little diversity. Compassionate, bracingly indignant, and always keenly detailed, Jane Jacobs's monumental work provides an essential framework for assessing the vitality of all cities.

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4.3/5

Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America, One Step at a Time by Jeff Speck

Jeff Speck has dedicated his career to determining what makes cities thrive. And he has boiled it down to one key factor: walkability. The very idea of a modern metropolis evokes visions of bustling sidewalks, vital mass transit, and a vibrant, pedestrian-friendly urban core. But in the typical American city, the car is still king, and downtown is a place that's easy to d Jeff Speck has dedicated his career to determining what makes cities thrive. And he has boiled it down to one key factor: walkability. The very idea of a modern metropolis evokes visions of bustling sidewalks, vital mass transit, and a vibrant, pedestrian-friendly urban core. But in the typical American city, the car is still king, and downtown is a place that's easy to drive to but often not worth arriving at. Making walkability happen is relatively easy and cheap; seeing exactly what needs to be done is the trick. In this essential new book, Speck reveals the invisible workings of the city, how simple decisions have cascading effects, and how we can all make the right choices for our communities. Bursting with sharp observations and real-world examples, giving key insight into what urban planners actually do and how places can and do change, Walkable City lays out a practical, necessary, and eminently achievable vision of how to make our normal American cities great again.

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5/5

Happy City: Transforming Our Lives Through Urban Design by Charles Montgomery

Charles Montgomery’s Happy City will revolutionize the way we think about urban life. After decades of unchecked sprawl, more people than ever are moving back to the city. Dense urban living has been prescribed as a panacea for the environmental and resource crises of our time. But is it better or worse for our happiness? Are subways, sidewalks and condo towers an improveme Charles Montgomery’s Happy City will revolutionize the way we think about urban life. After decades of unchecked sprawl, more people than ever are moving back to the city. Dense urban living has been prescribed as a panacea for the environmental and resource crises of our time. But is it better or worse for our happiness? Are subways, sidewalks and condo towers an improvement on the car-dependence of sprawl? The award-winning journalist Charles Montgomery finds answers to such questions at the intersection between urban design and the emerging science of happiness, during an exhilarating journey through some of the world’s most dynamic cities. He meets the visionary mayor who introduced a “sexy” bus to ease status anxiety in Bogotá; the architect who brought the lessons of medieval Tuscan hill towns to modern-day New York City; the activist who turned Paris’s urban freeways into beaches; and an army of American suburbanites who have hacked the design of their own streets and neighborhoods. Rich with new insights from psychology, neuroscience and Montgomery’s own urban experiments, Happy City reveals how our cities can shape our thoughts as well as our behavior. The message is as surprising as it is hopeful: by retrofitting cities and our own lives for happiness, we can tackle the urgent challenges of our age. The happy city can save the world--and all of us can help build it. 

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4.7/5

Triumph of the City: How Our Greatest Invention Makes Us Richer, Smarter, Greener, Healthier and Happier by Edward L. Glaeser

A pioneering urban economist offers fascinating, even inspiring proof that the city is humanity's greatest invention and our best hope for the future. America is an urban nation. More than two thirds of us live on the 3 percent of land that contains our cities. Yet cities get a bad rap: they're dirty, poor, unhealthy, crime ridden, expensive, environmentally unfriendly.. A pioneering urban economist offers fascinating, even inspiring proof that the city is humanity's greatest invention and our best hope for the future. America is an urban nation. More than two thirds of us live on the 3 percent of land that contains our cities. Yet cities get a bad rap: they're dirty, poor, unhealthy, crime ridden, expensive, environmentally unfriendly... Or are they? As Edward Glaeser proves in this myth-shattering book, cities are actually the healthiest, greenest, and richest (in cultural and economic terms) places to live. New Yorkers, for instance, live longer than other Americans; heart disease and cancer rates are lower in Gotham than in the nation as a whole. More than half of America's income is earned in twenty-two metropolitan areas. And city dwellers use, on average, 40 percent less energy than suburbanites. Glaeser travels through history and around the globe to reveal the hidden workings of cities and how they bring out the best in humankind. Even the worst cities-Kinshasa, Kolkata, Lagos- confer surprising benefits on the people who flock to them, including better health and more jobs than the rural areas that surround them. Glaeser visits Bangalore and Silicon Valley, whose strangely similar histories prove how essential education is to urban success and how new technology actually encourages people to gather together physically. He discovers why Detroit is dying while other old industrial cities-Chicago, Boston, New York-thrive. He investigates why a new house costs 350 percent more in Los Angeles than in Houston, even though building costs are only 25 percent higher in L.A. He pinpoints the single factor that most influences urban growth-January temperatures-and explains how certain chilly cities manage to defy that link. He explains how West Coast environmentalists have harmed the environment, and how struggling cities from Youngstown to New Orleans can "shrink to greatness." And he exposes the dangerous anti-urban political bias that is harming both cities and the entire country. Using intrepid reportage, keen analysis, and eloquent argument, Glaeser makes an impassioned case for the city's import and splendor. He reminds us forcefully why we should nurture our cities or suffer consequences that will hurt us all, no matter where we live.

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3.7/5

The Image of the City by Kevin Lynch

The classic work on the evaluation of city form. What does the city's form actually mean to the people who live there? What can the city planner do to make the city's image more vivid and memorable to the city dweller? To answer these questions, Mr. Lynch, supported by studies of Los Angeles, Boston, and Jersey City, formulates a new criterion -- imageability -- and shows i The classic work on the evaluation of city form. What does the city's form actually mean to the people who live there? What can the city planner do to make the city's image more vivid and memorable to the city dweller? To answer these questions, Mr. Lynch, supported by studies of Los Angeles, Boston, and Jersey City, formulates a new criterion -- imageability -- and shows its potential value as a guide for the building and rebuilding of cities. The wide scope of this study leads to an original and vital method for the evaluation of city form. The architect, the planner, and certainly the city dweller will all want to read this book.

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4.4/5

Cities for People by Jan Gehl

For more than forty years Jan Gehl has helped to transform urban environments around the world based on his research into the ways people actually use—or could use—the spaces where they live and work. In this revolutionary book, Gehl presents his latest work creating (or recreating) cityscapes on a human scale. He clearly explains the methods and tools he uses to reconfigu For more than forty years Jan Gehl has helped to transform urban environments around the world based on his research into the ways people actually use—or could use—the spaces where they live and work. In this revolutionary book, Gehl presents his latest work creating (or recreating) cityscapes on a human scale. He clearly explains the methods and tools he uses to reconfigure unworkable cityscapes into the landscapes he believes they should be: cities for people. Taking into account changing demographics and changing lifestyles, Gehl explains how to develop cities that are lively, safe, sustainable, and healthy. The book is extensively illustrated with over 700 photos and drawings of examples from Gehl’s work around the globe.

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3.9/5

The Geography of Nowhere: The Rise and Decline of America's Man-Made Landscape by James Howard Kunstler

The Geography of Nowhere traces America's evolution from a nation of Main Streets and coherent communities to a land where every place is like no place in particular, where the cities are dead zones and the countryside is a wasteland of cartoon architecture and parking lots. In elegant and often hilarious prose, Kunstler depicts our nation's evolution from the Pilgrim settl The Geography of Nowhere traces America's evolution from a nation of Main Streets and coherent communities to a land where every place is like no place in particular, where the cities are dead zones and the countryside is a wasteland of cartoon architecture and parking lots. In elegant and often hilarious prose, Kunstler depicts our nation's evolution from the Pilgrim settlements to the modern auto suburb in all its ghastliness. The Geography of Nowhere tallies up the huge economic, social, and spiritual costs that America is paying for its car-crazed lifestyle. It is also a wake-up call for citizens to reinvent the places where we live and work, to build communities that are once again worthy of our affection. Kunstler proposes that by reviving civic art and civic life, we will rediscover public virtue and a new vision of the common good. "The future will require us to build better places," Kunstler says, "or the future will belong to other people in other societies." The Geography of Nowhere has become a touchstone work in the two decades since its initial publication, its incisive commentary giving language to the feeling of millions of Americans that our nation's suburban environments were ceasing to be credible human habitats. Since that time, the work has inspired city planners, architects, legislators, designers and citizens everywhere. In this special 20th Anniversary edition, dozens of authors and experts in various fields share their perspective on James Howard Kunstler's brave and seminal work.

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3.2/5

Suburban Nation: The Rise of Sprawl and the Decline of the American Dream by Andrés Duany , Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk , Jeff Speck

A manifesto by America's most controversial and celebrated town planners, proposing an alternative model for community design. There is a growing movement in North America to put an end to suburban sprawl and to replace the automobile-based settlement patterns of the past fifty years with a return to more traditional planning principles. This movement stems not only from th A manifesto by America's most controversial and celebrated town planners, proposing an alternative model for community design. There is a growing movement in North America to put an end to suburban sprawl and to replace the automobile-based settlement patterns of the past fifty years with a return to more traditional planning principles. This movement stems not only from the realization that sprawl is ecologically and economically unsustainable but also from a growing awareness of sprawl's many victims: children, utterly dependent on parental transportation if they wish to escape the cul-de-sac; the elderly, warehoused in institutions once they lose their driver's licenses; the middle class, stuck in traffic for two or more hours each day. Founders of the Congress for the New Urbanism, Andres Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk are at the forefront of this movement, and in Suburban Nation they assess sprawl's costs to society, be they ecological, economic, aesthetic, or social. It is a lively, thorough, critical lament, and an entertaining lesson on the distinctions between postwar suburbia-characterized by housing clusters, strip shopping centers, office parks, and parking lots-and the traditional neighborhoods that were built as a matter of course until mid-century. It is an indictment of the entire development community, including governments, for the fact that America no longer builds towns. Most important, though, it is that rare book that also offers solutions.

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3.7/5

The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York by Robert A. Caro

One of the most acclaimed books of our time, winner of both the Pulitzer and the Francis Parkman prizes, The Power Broker tells the hidden story behind the shaping (and mis-shaping) of twentieth-century New York (city and state) and makes public what few have known: that Robert Moses was, for almost half a century, the single most powerful man of our time in New York, the One of the most acclaimed books of our time, winner of both the Pulitzer and the Francis Parkman prizes, The Power Broker tells the hidden story behind the shaping (and mis-shaping) of twentieth-century New York (city and state) and makes public what few have known: that Robert Moses was, for almost half a century, the single most powerful man of our time in New York, the shaper not only of the city's politics but of its physical structure and the problems of urban decline that plague us today. In revealing how Moses did it--how he developed his public authorities into a political machine that was virtually a fourth branch of government, one that could bring to their knees Governors and Mayors (from La Guardia to Lindsay) by mobilizing banks, contractors, labor unions, insurance firms, even the press and the Church, into an irresistible economic force--Robert Caro reveals how power works in all the cities of the United States. Moses built an empire and lived like an emperor. He personally conceived and completed public works costing 27 billion dollars--the greatest builder America (and probably the world) has ever known. Without ever having been elected to office, he dominated the men who were--even his most bitter enemy, Franklin D. Roosevelt, could not control him--until he finally encountered, in Nelson Rockefeller, the only man whose power (and ruthlessness in wielding it) equalled his own.

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3.4/5

The City in History: Its Origins, Its Transformations, and Its Prospects by Lewis Mumford

The city’s development from ancient times to the modern age. Winner of the National Book Award. “One of the major works of scholarship of the twentieth century” (Christian Science Monitor). Index; illustrations.

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4/5

A Pattern Language: Towns, Buildings, Construction by Christopher W. Alexander , Sara Ishikawa , Murray Silverstein , Max Jacobson , Ingrid Fiksdahl-King , Shlomo Angel

At the core of A Pattern Language is the philosophy that in designing their environments people always rely on certain ‘languages,’ which, like the languages we speak, allow them to articulate and communicate an infinite variety of designs within a formal system which gives them coherence. This book provides a language of this kind. It will enable making a design for almost At the core of A Pattern Language is the philosophy that in designing their environments people always rely on certain ‘languages,’ which, like the languages we speak, allow them to articulate and communicate an infinite variety of designs within a formal system which gives them coherence. This book provides a language of this kind. It will enable making a design for almost any kind of building, or any part of the built environment. ‘Patterns,’ the units of this language, are answers to design problems: how high should a window sill be?; how many stories should a building have?; how much space in a neighborhood should be devoted to grass and trees? More than 250 of the patterns in this language are outlined, each consisting of a problem statement, a discussion of the problem with an illustration, and a solution. As the authors say in their introduction, many of the patterns are archetypal, so deeply rooted in the nature of things that it seems likely that they will be a part of human nature and human action as much in five hundred years as they are today. A Pattern Language is related to Alexander’s other works in the Center for Environmental Structure series: The Timeless Way of Building (introductory volume) and The Oregon Experiment.

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3.6/5

The Economy of Cities by Jane Jacobs

The thesis of this book is that cities are the primary drivers of economic development. Her main argument is that explosive economic growth derives from urban import replacement. Import replacement occurs when a city begins to locally produce goods that it formerly imported, e.g., Tokyo bicycle factories replacing Tokyo bicycle importers in the 1800s. Jacobs claims that im The thesis of this book is that cities are the primary drivers of economic development. Her main argument is that explosive economic growth derives from urban import replacement. Import replacement occurs when a city begins to locally produce goods that it formerly imported, e.g., Tokyo bicycle factories replacing Tokyo bicycle importers in the 1800s. Jacobs claims that import replacement builds up local infrastructure, skills, and production. Jacobs also claims that the increased production is subsequently exported to other cities, giving those other cities a new opportunity to engage in import replacement, thus producing a positive cycle of growth. In the foremost chapter of the book, Jacobs argues that cities preceded agriculture. She argues that in cities trade in wild animals and grains allowed for the initial division of labor necessary for the discovery of husbandry and agriculture; these discoveries then moved out of the city due to land competition. *from Wikpedia

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3.1/5

Life Between Buildings: Using Public Space by Jan Gehl

“. . .thoughtful, beautiful, and enlightening...” —Jane Jacobs   “This book will have a lasting infl uence on the future quality of public open spaces. By helping us better understand the larger public life of cities, Life between Buildings can only move us toward more lively and healthy public places. Buy this book, fi nd a comfortable place to sit in a public park or pla “. . .thoughtful, beautiful, and enlightening...” —Jane Jacobs   “This book will have a lasting infl uence on the future quality of public open spaces. By helping us better understand the larger public life of cities, Life between Buildings can only move us toward more lively and healthy public places. Buy this book, fi nd a comfortable place to sit in a public park or plaza, begin reading, look around. You will be surprised at how you will start to see (and design) the world differently.” —Landscape Architecture

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3.5/5

Green Metropolis: What the City Can Teach the Country About True Sustainability by David Owen

A challenging, controversial, and highly readable look at our lives, our world, and our future. In this remarkable challenge to conventional thinking about the environment, David Owen argues that the greenest community in the United States is not Portland, Oregon, or Snowmass, Colorado, but New York, New York. Most Americans think of crowded cities as ecological nightmares A challenging, controversial, and highly readable look at our lives, our world, and our future. In this remarkable challenge to conventional thinking about the environment, David Owen argues that the greenest community in the United States is not Portland, Oregon, or Snowmass, Colorado, but New York, New York. Most Americans think of crowded cities as ecological nightmares, as wastelands of concrete and garbage and diesel fumes and traffic jams. Yet residents of compact urban centers, Owen shows, individually consume less oil, electricity, and water than other Americans. They live in smaller spaces, discard less trash, and, most important of all, spend far less time in automobiles. Residents of Manhattan- the most densely populated place in North America -rank first in public-transit use and last in percapita greenhouse-gas production, and they consume gasoline at a rate that the country as a whole hasn't matched since the mid-1920s, when the most widely owned car in the United States was the Ford Model T. They are also among the only people in the United States for whom walking is still an important means of daily transportation. These achievements are not accidents. Spreading people thinly across the countryside may make them feel green, but it doesn't reduce the damage they do to the environment. In fact, it increases the damage, while also making the problems they cause harder to see and to address. Owen contends that the environmental problem we face, at the current stage of our assault on the world's nonrenewable resources, is not how to make teeming cities more like the pristine countryside. The problem is how to make other settled places more like Manhattan, whose residents presently come closer than any other Americans to meeting environmental goals that all of us, eventually, will have to come to terms with.

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4.4/5

Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond

New York Times Bestseller From Harvard sociologist and MacArthur "Genius" Matthew Desmond, a landmark work of scholarship and reportage that will forever change the way we look at poverty in America   In this brilliant, heartbreaking book, Matthew Desmond takes us into the poorest neighborhoods of Milwaukee to tell the story of eight families on the edge. Arleen is a single m New York Times Bestseller From Harvard sociologist and MacArthur "Genius" Matthew Desmond, a landmark work of scholarship and reportage that will forever change the way we look at poverty in America   In this brilliant, heartbreaking book, Matthew Desmond takes us into the poorest neighborhoods of Milwaukee to tell the story of eight families on the edge. Arleen is a single mother trying to raise her two sons on the $20 a month she has left after paying for their rundown apartment. Scott is a gentle nurse consumed by a heroin addiction. Lamar, a man with no legs and a neighborhood full of boys to look after, tries to work his way out of debt. Vanetta participates in a botched stickup after her hours are cut. All are spending almost everything they have on rent, and all have fallen behind. The fates of these families are in the hands of two landlords: Sherrena Tarver, a former schoolteacher turned inner-city entrepreneur, and Tobin Charney, who runs one of the worst trailer parks in Milwaukee. They loathe some of their tenants and are fond of others, but as Sherrena puts it, “Love don’t pay the bills.” She moves to evict Arleen and her boys a few days before Christmas. Even in the most desolate areas of American cities, evictions used to be rare. But today, most poor renting families are spending more than half of their income on housing, and eviction has become ordinary, especially for single mothers. In vivid, intimate prose, Desmond provides a ground-level view of one of the most urgent issues facing America today. As we see families forced  into shelters, squalid apartments, or more dangerous neighborhoods, we bear witness to the human cost of America’s vast inequality—and to people’s determination and intelligence in the face of hardship. Based on years of embedded fieldwork and painstakingly gathered data, this masterful book transforms our understanding of extreme poverty and economic exploitation while providing fresh ideas for solving a devastating, uniquely American problem. Its unforgettable scenes of hope and loss remind us of the centrality of home, without which nothing else is possible. From the Hardcover edition.

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