Recent Urban Planning Books

I’ve been reading about urban planning recently.

I’m drawn to them as a designer because people are at the center of them, and there are a multitude of complex systems that influence each other.

Our quality of life is affected by how our cities are designed. Building zoning and transportation options affect where we work, live, and commute. It affects how we relate to our neighborhood and our neighbors; what we perceive to be desired and undesired parts of the city and transportation options.

Recent Urban Planning Books

  • Happy Cities: Explores the tension between our need to have a lot of private space and how that conflicts with our preference to be close to the attractions and conveniences of a city.
  • Street Fight: A first person view of Janette Sadik-Khan’s work in changing the street layouts of NYC. If you live in NYC, you will look at a crosswalk through a new lens. There are also glimpses into the cost of maintaining infrastructure and how bike sharing was introduced. Janette explains the methods her team used to gradually test and introduce changes to the streets.
  • Bowling Alone: A dense view of the changing attitudes toward civic participation and how it affects our communities. Robert Putnam dissects a range of possible causes and explains how they are interconnected.

Cities are messy. They are a series of overlapping snapshots of our culture. It’s container for all the things we value, aspire to, and are willing to tolerate.