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Books & Authors

Understanding Cities

10 That Changed America [Videorecording] by WTTW Chicago
Three programs that collectively present the milestones of American architecture and city planning. 10 homes that changed America takes the viewer to a 600-year-old Native American dwelling, Thomas Jefferson's Monticello, a Gothic castle in New York, Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater, and an early public housing project. 10 parks that changed America looks at public squares in Savannah, Georgia, a park-like cemetery near Boston, the San Antonio River Walk, a park built over a freeway in Seattle, a toxic waste site that was transformed into a park, and New York's Central Park and High Line. 10 towns that changed America examines a Spanish colonial town in Florida, William Penn's vision for Philadelphia, the Mormon plan for Salt Lake City, a failed company town near Chicago, urban renewal in Washington, D.C., and the latest ideas about city planning in Portland, Oregon.

City by City : Dispatches From the American Metropolis by Keith Gessen and Stephen Squibb
A collection of essays--historical and personal--about the present and future of American cities.

City Squares : Eighteen Writers on the Spirit and Significance of Squares Around the World by Catie Marron
In this important collection, eighteen renowned writers, including David Remnick, Zadie Smith, Rebecca Skloot, Rory Stewart, and Adam Gopnik evoke the spirit and history of some of the world's most recognized and significant city squares, accompanied by illustrations from equally distinguished photographers.

Detroit City Is the Place to Be : The Afterlife of an American Metropolis by Mark Binelli
Once America's capitalist dream town, Detroit is our country's greatest urban failure. But the city's worst crisis yet (and that's saying something) has managed to do the unthinkable: turn the end of days into a laboratory for the future. Urban planners, land speculators, neo-pastoral agriculturalists, and utopian environmentalists--all have been drawn to Detroit's baroquely decaying, nothing-left-to-lose frontier.

Dream Cities : Seven Urban Ideas That Shape the World by Wade Graham
Explores our cities in a new way as expressions of ideas, often conflicting, about how we should live, work, play, make, buy, and believe. It tells the stories of the real architects and thinkers whose imagined cities became the blueprints for the world we live in.

Eyes on the Street : The Life of Jane Jacobs by Robert Kanigel
Chronicles the life of a noted activist who wrote seven groundbreaking books, including her most famous, The Death and Life of Great American Cities; saved neighborhoods; stopped expressways; was arrested twice; and engaged at home and on the streets in thousands of debates -- all of which she won.

Streetfight : Handbook for an Urban Revolution by Janette Sadik-Khan
New York City's transportation commissioner explains how she made the city safer and more beautiful by breaking streets down into their component parts and rewriting their source code to add a host of major improvements.

The Edge Becomes the Center : An Oral History of Gentrification in the Twenty-First Century by D. W. (David-William) Gibson
In this extraordinary oral history, DW Gibson takes gentrification out of the op-ed columns and textbooks and brings it to life, showing us what urban change looks and feels like by exposing us to the voices of the people living through it. Drawing on the plainspoken, casually authoritative tradition of Jane Jacobs and Studs Terkel, The Edge Becomes the Center is an inviting and essential portrait of the way we live now.

The Well-Tempered City : What Modern Science, Ancient Civilizations, and Human Nature Teach Us About the Future of Urban Life by Jonathan F. P Rose
In the vein of Jane Jacobs's The Death and Life of Great American Cities and Edward Glaeser's Triumph of the City, Jonathan F. P. Rose--a visionary in urban development and renewal--champions the role of cities in addressing the environmental, economic, and social challenges of the twenty-first century.

Welcome to Your World : How the Built Environment Shapes Our Lives by Sarah Williams Goldhagen
Taking us on a fascinating journey through some of the world's best and worst landscapes, buildings, and cityscapes, Sarah Williams Goldhagen draws from recent research in cognitive neuroscience and psychology to demonstrate how people's experiences of the places they build are central to their well-being, their physical health, their communal and social lives, and even their very sense of themselves. From this foundation, Goldhagen presents a powerful case that societies must use this knowledge to rethink what and how they build: the world needs better-designed, healthier environments that address the complex range of human individual and social needs.

Why We Build : Power and Desire in Architecture by Rowan Moore
In an era of brash, expensive, provocative new buildings, a prominent critic argues that emotions--hope, power, sex, our changing relationship to the idea of home--are the most powerful force behind architecture, yesterday and (especially) today.


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