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Book Highlights

Cover Art
Cities That Think Like Planets - Marina Alberti
Call Number: NA 9074 .U44 2015
ISBN: 9780295996660
Publication Date: 2016-07-01
As human activity and environmental change come to be increasingly recognized as intertwined phenomena on a rapidly urbanizing planet, the field of urban ecology has risen to offer useful ways of thinking about coupled human and natural systems. On the forefront of this discipline is Marina Alberti, whose innovative work offers a conceptual framework for uncovering fundamental laws that govern the complexity and resilience of cities, which she sees as key to understanding and responding to planetary change and the evolution of Earth. Bridging the fields of urban planning and ecology, Alberti describes a science of cities that work on a planetary scale and that links unpredictable dynamics to the potential for innovation. It is a science that considers interactions - at all scales - between people and built environments and between cities and their larger environments. Cities That Think like Planets advances strategies for planning a future that may look very different from the present, as rapid urbanization could tip the Earth toward abrupt and nonlinear change. Alberti's analyses of the various hybrid ecosystems, such as self-organization, heterogeneity, modularity, multiple equilibria, feedback, and transformation, may help humans participate in guiding the Earth away from inadvertent collapse and toward a new era of planetary co-evolution and resilience.

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The Human City - Joel Kotkin
Call Number: NX 180 .A77 C73 2013
ISBN: 9781572841727
Publication Date: 2016-04-12
"The Human City presents the most cogent, evidence-based and clear-headed exposition of the pro-suburban argument. . . . enriching our understanding of what cities are about and what they can and must become." --Wall Street Journal Around the globe, most new urban development has adhered to similar tenets: tall structures, small units, and high density. InThe Human City, Joel Kotkin--called "America's uber-geographer" by David Brooks of theNew York Times--questions these nearly ubiquitous practices, suggesting that they do not consider the needs and desires of the vast majority of people. Built environments, Kotkin argues, must reflect the preferences of most people--especially those of families--even if that means lower-density development. The Human City ponders the purpose of the city and investigates the factors that drive most urban development today. Armed with his own astute research, a deep-seated knowledge of urban history, and a sound grasp of economic, political, and social trends, Kotkin pokes holes in what he calls the "retro-urbanist" ideology and offers a refreshing case for dispersion centered on human values. This book is not anti-urban, but it does advocate a greater range of options for people to live the way they want at all stages of their lives.

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Saving Our Cities - William W. Goldsmith
Call Number: HT 123 .S7845 2015
ISBN: 9781501704314
Publication Date: 2016-09-13
In Saving Our Cities, William W. Goldsmith shows how cities can be places of opportunity rather than places with problems. With strongly revived cities and suburbs, working as places that serve all their residents, metropolitan areas will thrive, thus making the national economy more productive, the environment better protected, the citizenry better educated, and the society more reflective, sensitive, and humane. Goldsmith argues that America has been in the habit of abusing its cities and their poorest suburbs, which are always the first to be blamed for society's ills and the last to be helped. As federal and state budgets, regulations, and programs line up with the interests of giant corporations and privileged citizens, they impose austerity on cities, shortchange public schools, make it hard to get nutritious food, and inflict the drug war on unlucky neighborhoods. Frustration with inequality is spreading. Parents and teachers call persistently for improvements in public schooling, and education experiments abound. Nutrition indicators have begun to improve, as rising health costs and epidemic obesity have led to widespread attention to food. The futility of the drug war and the high costs of unwarranted, unprecedented prison growth have become clear. Goldsmith documents a positive development: progressive politicians in many cities and some states are proposing far-reaching improvements, supported by advocacy groups that form powerful voting blocs, ensuring that Congress takes notice. When more cities forcefully demand enlightened federal and state action on these four interrelated problems--inequality, schools, food, and the drug war--positive movement will occur in traditional urban planning as well, so as to meet the needs of most residents for improved housing, better transportation, and enhanced public spaces.

 

eBook Highlights

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America's Urban Future - Ray Tomalty; Alan Mallach
Call Number: ebook
ISBN: 9781610915960
Publication Date: 2016-02-09
The headlines about cities celebrating their resurgence--with empty nesters and Millennials alike investing in our urban areas, moving away from car dependence, and demanding walkable, transit-oriented neighborhoods. But, in reality, these changes are taking place in a scattered and piecemeal fashion. While areas of a handful of cities are booming, most US metros continue to follow old patterns of central city decline and suburban sprawl. As demographic shifts change housing markets and climate change ushers in new ways of looking at settlement patterns, pressure for change in urban policy is growing. More and more policy makers are raising questions about the soundness of policies that squander our investment in urban housing, built environment, and infrastructure while continuing to support expansion of sprawling, auto-dependent development. Changing these policies is the central challenge facing US cities and metro regions, and those who manage them or plan their future. In America's Urban Future, urban experts Tomalty and Mallach examine US policy in the light of the Canadian experience, and use that experience as a starting point to generate specific policy recommendations. Their recommendations are designed to help the US further its urban revival, build more walkable, energy-efficient communities, and in particular, help land use adapt better to the needs of the aging population. Tomalty and Mallach show how Canada, a country similar to the US in many respects, has fostered healthier urban centers and more energy- and resource-efficient suburban growth. They call for a rethinking of US public policies across those areas and look closely at what may be achievable at federal, state, and local levels in light of both the constraints and opportunities inherent in today's political systems and economic realities.

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Rail and the City - Roxanne Warren
Call Number: ebook
ISBN: 9780262027809
Publication Date: 2014-09-19
The United States has evolved into a nation of twenty densely populated megaregions. Yet despite the environmental advantages of urban density, urban sprawl and reliance on the private car still set the pattern for most new development. Cars guzzle not only gas but also space, as massive acreage is dedicated to roadways and parking. Even more pressing, the replication of this pattern throughout the fast-developing world makes it doubtful that we will achieve the reductions in carbon emissions needed to avoid climate catastrophe. In Rail and the City, architect Roxanne Warren makes the case for compact urban development that is supported by rail transit. Calling the automobile a relic of the twentieth century, Warren envisions a release from the tyrannies of traffic congestion, petroleum dependence, and an oppressively paved environment. Technical features of rail are key to its high capacities, safety at high speeds, and compactness -- uniquely qualifying it to serve as ideal infrastructure within and between cities. Ultimately, mobility could be achieved through extensive networks of public transit, particularly rail, supplemented by buses, cycling, walking, car-sharing, and small, flexible vehicles. High-speed rail, fed by local transit, could eliminate the need for petroleum-intensive plane trips of less than 500 miles. Warren considers issues of access to transit, citing examples from Europe, Japan, and North America, and pedestrian- and transit-oriented urban design. Rail transit, she argues, is the essential infrastructure for a fluidly functioning urban society.

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There Goes the Gayborhood? - Amin Ghaziani
Call Number: ebook
ISBN: 9780691168418
Publication Date: 2015-11-24
Gay neighborhoods, like the legendary Castro District in San Francisco and New York's Greenwich Village, have long provided sexual minorities with safe havens in an often unsafe world. But as our society increasingly accepts gays and lesbians into the mainstream, are "gayborhoods" destined to disappear? Amin Ghaziani provides an incisive look at the origins of these unique cultural enclaves, the reasons why they are changing today, and their prospects for the future. Drawing on a wealth of evidence--including census data, opinion polls, hundreds of newspaper reports from across the United States, and more than one hundred original interviews with residents in Chicago, one of the most paradigmatic cities in America--There Goes the Gayborhood? argues that political gains and societal acceptance are allowing gays and lesbians to imagine expansive possibilities for a life beyond the gayborhood. The dawn of a new post-gay era is altering the character and composition of existing enclaves across the country, but the spirit of integration can coexist alongside the celebration of differences in subtle and sometimes surprising ways. Exploring the intimate relationship between sexuality and the city, this cutting-edge book reveals how gayborhoods, like the cities that surround them, are organic and continually evolving places. Gayborhoods have nurtured sexual minorities throughout the twentieth century and, despite the unstoppable forces of flux, will remain resonant and revelatory features of urban life.

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