The High Cost of Free Parking


Donald C. Shoup - 2004
    The resulting cost? Today we see sprawling cities that are better suited to cars than people and a nationwide fleet of motor vehicles that consume one-eighth of the world's total oil production. Donald Shoup contends in The High Cost of Free Parking that parking is sorely misunderstood and mismanaged by planners, architects, and politicians. He proposes new ways for cities to regulate parking so that Americans can stop paying for free parking's hidden costs.

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


Jeff Speck - 2012
    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.

Wrestling with Moses: How Jane Jacobs Took On New York's Master Builder and Transformed the American City


Anthony Flint - 2009
    The activist, writer, and mother of three grew so fond of her bustling community that it became a touchstone for her landmark book The Death and Life of Great American Cities. But consummate power broker Robert Moses, the father of many of New York’s most monumental development projects, saw things differently: neighborhoods such as Greenwich Village were badly in need of “urban renewal.” Notorious for exacting enormous human costs, Moses’s plans had never before been halted–not by governors, mayors, or FDR himself, and certainly not by a housewife from Scranton.The epic rivalry of Jacobs and Moses, played out amid the struggle for the soul of a city, is one of the most dramatic and consequential in modern American history. In Wrestling with Moses, acclaimed reporter and urban planning policy expert Anthony Flint recounts this thrilling David-and-Goliath story, the legacy of which echoes through our society today.The first ordinary citizens to stand up to government plans for their city, Jacobs and her colleagues began a nationwide movement to reclaim cities for the benefit of their residents. Time and again, Jacobs marshaled popular support and political power against Moses, whether to block traffic through her beloved Washington Square Park or to prevent the construction of the Lower Manhattan Expressway, a ten-lane elevated superhighway that would have destroyed centuries-old streetscapes and displaced thousands of families and businesses.Like A Civil Action before it, Wrestling with Moses is the tale of a local battle with far-ranging significance. By confronting Moses and his vision, Jacobs forever changed the way Americans understood the city, and inspired citizens across the country to protest destructive projects in their own communities. Her story reminds us of the power we have as individuals to confront and defy reckless authority.

Streetfight: Handbook for an Urban Revolution


Janette Sadik-Khan - 2016
    Her approach was dramatic and effective: Simply painting a part of the street to make it into a plaza or bus lane not only made the street safer, but it also lessened congestion and increased foot traffic, which improved the bottom line of businesses. Real-life experience confirmed that if you know how to read the street, you can make it function better by not totally reconstructing it but by reallocating the space that’s already there.      Breaking the street into its component parts, Streetfight demonstrates, with step-by-step visuals, how to rewrite the underlying “source code” of a street, with pointers on how to add protected bike paths, improve crosswalk space, and provide visual cues to reduce speeding. Achieving such a radical overhaul wasn’t easy, and Streetfight pulls back the curtain on the battles Sadik-Khan won to make her approach work. She includes examples of how this new way to read the streets has already made its way around the world, from pocket parks in Mexico City and Los Angeles to more pedestrian-friendly streets in Auckland and Buenos Aires, and innovative bike-lane designs and plazas in Austin, Indianapolis, and San Francisco. Many are inspired by the changes taking place in New York City and are based on the same techniques. Streetfight deconstructs, reassembles, and reinvents the street, inviting readers to see it in ways they never imagined.

Urban Acupuncture


Jaime Lerner - 2003
    From the pioneering Bus Rapid Transit system to parks designed to catch runoff and reduce flooding and the creation of pedestrian-only zones, Lerner has been the driving force behind a host of innovative urban projects. In more than forty years of work in cities around the globe, Lerner has found that changes to a community don’t need to be large-scale and expensive to have a transformative impact—in fact, one block, park, or a single person can have an outsized effect on life in the surrounding city. In Urban Acupuncture, Lerner celebrates these “pinpricks” of urbanism—projects, people, and initiatives from around the world that ripple through their communities to uplift city life. With meditative and descriptive prose, Lerner brings readers around the world to streets and neighborhoods where urban acupuncture has been practiced best, from the bustling La Boqueria market in Barcelona to the revitalization of the Cheonggyecheon River in Seoul, South Korea. Through this journey, Lerner invites us to re-examine the true building blocks of vibrant communities—the tree-lined avenues, night vendors, and songs and traditions that connect us to our cities and to one another.Urban Acupuncture is the first of Jaime Lerner’s visionary work to be published in English. It is a love letter to the elements that make a street hum with life or a neighborhood feel like home, penned by one of the world’s most successful advocates for sustainable and livable urbanism.

Vertical: The City from Satellites to Bunkers


Stephen Graham - 2016
    In Vertical, Stephen Graham rewrites the city at every level: how the geography of inequality, politics, and identity is determined in terms of above and below. Starting at the edge of earth's atmosphere and, in a series of riveting studies, descending through each layer, Graham explores the world of drones, the city from the viewpoint of an aerial bomber, the design of sidewalks and the hidden depths of underground bunkers. He asks: why was Dubai built to be seen from Google Earth? How do the super-rich in Sao Paulo live in their penthouses far above the street? Why do London billionaires build vast subterranean basements? And how do the technology of elevators and subversive urban explorers shape life on the surface and subsurface of the earth? Vertical will make you look at the world around you anew: this is a revolution in understanding your place in the world.

Great Streets


Allan B. Jacobs - 1993
    With more than 200 illustrations, all prepared by the author, along with analysis and statistics, Great Streets offers a wealth of information on street dimensions, plans, sections, and patterns of use, all systematically compared. It also reveals Jacobs's eye for the telling human and social details that bring streets and communities to life.An extensive introduction discusses the importance of streets in creating communities and criteria for identifying the best streets. The essays that follow examine 15 particularly fine streets, ranging from medieval streets in Rome and Copenhagen to Venice's Grand Canal, from Parisian boulevards to tree-lined residential streets in American cities. Jacobs also looks at several streets that were once very fine but are less successful today, such as Market Street in San Francisco, identifying the factors that figure in their decline.To broaden his coverage, Jacobs adds briefer treatments of more than 30 other streets arranged by street type, including streets from Australia, Japan, and classical antiquity in addition to European and North American examples. For each of these streets he has prepared plans, sections, and maps, all drawn at the same scales to facilitate comparisons, along with perspective views and drawings of significant design details.Another remarkable feature of this book is a set of 50 one square-mile maps, each reproduced at the same scale, of the street plans of representative cities around the world. These reveal much about the texture of the cities' street patterns and hence of their urban life. Jacobs's analysis of the maps adds much original data derived from them, including changes of street patterns over time.Jacobs concludes by summarizing the practical design qualities and strategies that have contributed most to the making of great streets.

A Field Guide to Sprawl


Dolores Hayden - 2004
    This concise book defines the vocabulary of sprawl from alligator to zoomburb, illustrating fifty-one colorful terms invented by real estate developers and designers to characterize contemporary building patterns. Sixty-nine aerial photographs, each paired with a definition, convey the impact of development and provide verbal and visual vocabulary needed by professionals, public officials, and citizens to critique uncontrolled growth in the American landscape. This "devil's dictionary" of American building accompanies a critique of metropolitan regions organized around unsustainable growth, where sprawling new areas of automobile-oriented construction flourish as older neighborhoods are left to decline.

The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces


William H. Whyte - 1980
    Whyte published the findings from his revolutionary Street Life Project in The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces. Both the book and the accompanying film were instantly labeled classics, and launched a mini-revolution in the planning and study of public spaces. They have since become standard texts, and appear on syllabi and reading lists in urban planning, sociology, environmental design, and architecture departments around the world. Project for Public Spaces, which grew out of Holly's Street Life Project and continues his work around the world, has acquired the reprint rights to Social Life, with the intent of making it available to the widest possible audience and ensuring that the Whyte family receive their fair share of Holly's legacy.

The Works: Anatomy of a City


Kate Ascher - 2005
    When you flick on your light switch the light goes on--how? When you put out your garbage, where does it go? When you flush your toilet, what happens to the waste? How does water get from a reservoir in the mountains to your city faucet? How do flowers get to your corner store from Holland, or bananas get there from Ecuador? Who is operating the traffic lights all over the city? And what in the world is that steam coming out from underneath the potholes on the street? Across the city lies a series of extraordinarily complex and interconnected systems. Often invisible, and wholly taken for granted, these are the systems that make urban life possible. The Works: Anatomy of a City offers a cross section of this hidden infrastructure, using beautiful, innovative graphic images combined with short, clear text explanations to answer all the questions about the way things work in a modern city. It describes the technologies that keep the city functioning, as well as the people who support them-the pilots that bring the ships in over the Narrows sandbar, the sandhogs who are currently digging the third water tunnel under Manhattan, the television engineer who scales the Empire State Building's antenna for routine maintenance, the electrical wizards who maintain the century-old system that delivers power to subways. Did you know that the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge is so long, and its towers are so high, that the builders had to take the curvature of the earth's surface into account when designing it? Did you know that the George Washington Bridge takes in approximately $1 million per day in tolls? Did you know that retired subway cars travel by barge to the mid-Atlantic, where they are dumped overboard to form natural reefs for fish? Or that if the telecom cables under New York were strung end to end, they would reach from the earth to the sun? While the book uses New York as its example, it has relevance well beyond that city's boundaries as the systems that make New York a functioning metropolis are similar to those that keep the bright lights burning in big cities everywhere. The Works is for anyone who has ever stopped midcrosswalk, looked at the rapidly moving metropolis around them, and wondered, how does this all work?

How Cities Work: Suburbs, Sprawl, and the Roads Not Taken


Alex Marshall - 2001
    He explores how these forces have built four very different urban environments-the decentralized sprawl of California's Silicon Valley, the crowded streets of New York City's Jackson Heights neighborhood, the controlled growth of Portland, Oregon, and the stage-set facades of Disney's planned community, Celebration, Florida.To build better cities, Marshall asserts, we must understand and intelligently direct the forces that shape them. Without prescribing any one solution, he defines the key issues facing all concerned citizens who are trying to control urban sprawl and build real communities. His timely book will be important reading for a wide public and professional audience.

Design With Nature


Ian L. McHarg - 1969
    --LewisMumford. . . important to America and all the rest of the world in ourstruggle to design rational, wholesome, and productive landscapes.--Laurie Olin, Hanna Olin, Ltd.This century's most influential landscape architecture book.--Landscape Architecture. . . an enduring contribution to the technical literature oflandscape planning and to that unfortunately small collection ofwritings which speak with emotional eloquence of the importance ofecological principles in regional planning. --Landscape and UrbanPlanningIn the twenty-five years since it first took the academic world bystorm, Design With Nature has done much to redefine the fields oflandscape architecture, urban and regional planning, and ecologicaldesign. It has also left a permanent mark on the ongoing discussionof mankind's place in nature and nature's place in mankind withinthe physical sciences and humanities. Described by one enthusiasticreviewer as a user's manual for our world, Design With Natureoffers a practical blueprint for a new, healthier relationshipbetween the built environment and nature. In so doing, it providesnothing less than the scientific, technical, and philosophicalfoundations for a mature civilization that will, as Lewis Mumfordecstatically put it in his Introduction to the 1969 edition, replace the polluted, bulldozed, machine-dominated, dehumanized, explosion-threatened world that is even now disintegrating anddisappearing before our eyes.

Fighting Traffic: The Dawn of the Motor Age in the American City


Peter D. Norton - 2008
    By 1930, most streets were primarily a motor thoroughfares where children did not belong and where pedestrians were condemned as "jaywalkers." In Fighting Traffic, Peter Norton argues that to accommodate automobiles, the American city required not only a physical change but also a social one: before the city could be reconstructed for the sake of motorists, its streets had to be socially reconstructed as places where motorists belonged. It was not an evolution, he writes, but a bloody and sometimes violent revolution. Norton describes how street users struggled to define and redefine what streets were for. He examines developments in the crucial transitional years from the 1910s to the 1930s, uncovering a broad anti-automobile campaign that reviled motorists as "road hogs" or "speed demons" and cars as "juggernauts" or "death cars." He considers the perspectives of all users--pedestrians, police (who had to become "traffic cops"), street railways, downtown businesses, traffic engineers (who often saw cars as the problem, not the solution), and automobile promoters. He finds that pedestrians and parents campaigned in moral terms, fighting for "justice." Cities and downtown businesses tried to regulate traffic in the name of "efficiency." Automotive interest groups, meanwhile, legitimized their claim to the streets by invoking "freedom"--a rhetorical stance of particular power in the United States. Fighting Traffic offers a new look at both the origins of the automotive city in America and how social groups shape technological change.Peter D. Norton is Assistant Professor in the Department of Science, Technology, and Society at the University of Virginia.

Edge City: Life on the New Frontier


Joel Garreau - 1991
    By moving our jobs out to the suburbs where we live and shop, we have created Edge Cities. Garreau has spent three years visiting Edge Cities and presents a groundbreaking book about who we are, how we got that way, where we are headed and what we value.

The City Shaped: Urban Patterns and Meanings Through History


Spiro Kostof - 1991
    Widely used by both architects and students of architecture, The City Shaped won the AIA's prestigious book award in Architecture and Urbanism. With hundreds of photographs and drawings that illustrate Professor Kostof's innovative ideas, this has become one of the most important works on urbanization.