Featured Books


Newly published important book! The city in the twenty-first century faces major challenges, including social and economic stratification, wasteful consumption of resources, transportation congestion, and environmental degradation. More than half of the world’s population lives in cities and major metropolitan areas, and in the next two decades the number of city dwellers is estimated to reach five billion. This puts enormous pressures on transportation systems, housing stock, and infrastructure such as energy, waste, and water, which directly influences the emissions of greenhouse gases.

As the long emergency awaits us, urgent questions remain: How will our cities survive? How can we combat and reconcile urban growth with sustainable use of resources for future generations to thrive? Where and how urbanism comes into the picture and what “sustainable” urban forms can do in light of these events are some of the issues Sustainable Urbanism and Beyond explores. With more than sixty essays, including contributions by Andrés Duany, Saskia Sassen, Peter Newman, Douglas Farr, Henry Cisneros, Peter Hall, Sharon Zukin, Peter Eisenman, and others, this book is a unique perspective on architecture, urban planning, environmental and urban design, exploring ways for raising quality of life and the standard of living in a new modern era by creating better and more viable places to live.  Purchase book

NEW CIVIC ART  by Andres Duany, Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, & Robert Alminana

"Patterned on The American Vitruvius: An Architect's Handbook of Civic Art (1922), one of the most successful and well-known architecture books ever published, The New Civic Art, with 1,200 new illustrations and all new text for over 1,000 entries, exemplifies the very best urban planning and town design. This entirely new book thoroughly details the most important recent trends as well as time-honored precedents. It includes information drawn from over 200 international sources. Information has been selected to make this volume the essential encyclopedic reference and textbook for decades to come."  Purchase book


An incredible resource!  A comprehensive how-to book containing numerous diagrams, drawings, plans and sketches.  It has everything you will want to know relating to the city.  It is also a history of urban-design theory, including seminal texts ranging from passages of Camillo Sitte's 1889 book The Art of Building Cities to Kevin Lynch's 1960 essay "The City Image and Its Elements."  Chapters are dedicated to sustainable design, universal design, transit-centered urban villages, wayfinding, and "traffic calming." Almost every essay is written by a different expert, which affords a diversity of experience and voice, and the tome liberally uses photographs, drawings, diagrams, and charts with informative statistics and demographics. It is an invaluable reference.  Purchase book


Best defined as the art of shaping the built environment, urban design seeks to understand and analyze the variety of forces—social, economic, cultural, legal, ecological, and aesthetic—that affect how we live. The complex challenges facing cities today—scarcity of resources, growing economic divisions, and rampant sprawl, among others—are forcing a reconsideration of urban design. New Urbanism, a leading movement within urban design, advocates a return to small-town urban forms: human-scale, pedestrian-friendly streets, a reinvigoration of cities, and a stop to suburban sprawl. This new volume, drawing on a conference and debates at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden, comprehensively examines New Urbanism today and speculates about it’s future. With contributions from Christopher Alexander, Leon Krier, Peter Hall, Andrés Duany, Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, Jeff Speck, William McDonough, Peter Calthorpe, Jan Gehl, Lars Lerup, Edward Soja, and Saskia Sassen, among others, New Urbanism and Beyond is both a comprehensive primer on urban design and a provocation for practitioners, historians, and citizens everywhere.  Purchase book



An incredible synthesis on sustainable design.  Written by the chair of the LEED-Neighborhood Development (LEED-ND) initiative, Sustainable Urbanism: Urban Design with Nature is both an urgent call to action and a comprehensive introduction to "sustainable urbanism"--the emerging and growing design reform movement that combines the creation and enhancement of walkable and diverse places with the need to build high-performance infrastructure and buildings.

Providing a historic perspective on the standards and regulations that got us to where we are today in terms of urban lifestyle and attempts at reform, the book makes a powerful case for sustainable urbanism, showing where we went wrong, and where we need to go. It then explains how to implement sustainable urbanism through leadership and communication in cities, communities, and neighborhoods. Essays written by Farr and others delve into such issues as:

  • Increasing sustainability through density.
  • Integrating transportation and land use.
  • Creating sustainable neighborhoods, including housing, car-free areas, locally-owned stores, & walkable neighborhoods.
  • The health and environmental benefits of linking humans to nature, including walk-to open spaces, neighborhood stormwater systems and waste treatment, and food production.
  • High performance buildings and district energy systems.  Purchase book

RETROFITTING SUBURBIA  by Ellen Dunham-Jones & June Williamson

While there has been considerable attention by practitioners and academics to development in urban cores and new neighborhoods on the periphery of cities, there has been little attention to the redesign and redevelopment of existing suburbs. Here is a comprehensive guidebook for architects, planners, urban designers, and developers that illustrates how existing suburbs can be redesigned and redeveloped. The authors, both architects and noted experts on the subject, show how development in existing suburbs can absorb new growth and evolve in relation to changed demographic, technological, and economic conditions.  Purchase book
GROWING COOLER (The Evidence on Urban Development and Climate Change  by Reid Ewing & others

An important and timely book!  Based on a comprehensive study review by leading urban planning researchers, this investigative document demonstrates how urban development is both a key contributor to climate change and an essential factor in combating it—by reducing vehicle greenhouse gas emissions.

“Curbing emissions from cars depends on a three-legged stool: improved vehicle efficiency, cleaner fuels, and a reduction in driving,” said lead author Reid Ewing, Research Professor at the National Center for Smart Growth, University of Maryland. “The research shows that one of the best ways to reduce vehicle travel is to build places where people can accomplish more with less driving.”  Purchase book


The American Dream of a single-family home on its own expanse of yard still captures the imagination. But with 100 million more people expected in the United States by 2050, rising energy and transportation costs, disappearing farmland and open space, and the clear need for greater energy efficiency and reduced global warming emissions, the future built environment must include more density.

Consumer demand for more walkable, mixed-use, and concentrated neighborhoods is already on the rise among some demographic groups—the 70 million retiring baby boomers, for example, and young professionals seeking transit-oriented development for shorter commutes.  A richly illustrated book that will help planners, designers, public officials, and citizens better understand, and better communicate to others, the concept of density as it applies to the residential environment.

Visualizing Density includes an essay on the density challenge facing the United States, an illustrated manual on planning and designing for “good” density, and a catalog of more than 250 diverse neighborhoods across the country, noting density in housing units per acre for each site. Four photographs of each location are included—close-up, context, neighborhood, and plan views—to provide an impartial and comparative view of the many ways to design neighborhoods.  Purchase book

INFRASTRUCTURE 2008 - A Competitive Advantage  by ULI

This new book examines the latest trends in infrastructure, how to finance it, and the effect of infrastructure investment on the built environment. Topics include infrastructure trends and spending both in the United States and across the world; infrastructure's essential role in building sustainable communities in the U.S., Europe, and Asia; and public and private financing issues.  Purchase book

THE NEW TRANSIT TOWN  by Hank Dittmar & Gloria Ohland

Best Practices in Transit-Oriented Development.  "Transit-oriented development (TOD) seeks to maximize access to mass transit and nonmotorized transportation with centrally located rail or bus stations surrounded by relatively high-density commercial and residential development. New Urbanists and smart growth proponents have embraced the concept and interest in TOD is growing, both in the United States and around the world.

The New Transit Town brings together leading experts in planning, transportation, and sustainable design -- including Scott Bernstein, Peter Calthorpe, Jim Daisa, Sharon Feigon, Ellen Greenberg, David Hoyt, Dennis Leach, and Shelley Poticha -- to examine the first generation of TOD projects and derive lessons for the next generation. It offers topic chapters that provide detailed discussion of key issues along with case studies that present an in-depth look at specific projects."  Purchase book


"A gold mine for those concerned with urban design, sustainable transportation, and the role that transit can play in making our cities livable.  An insightful analysis, documented by well-chosen case studies of international transit success stories - a must read for anyone who wishes to understand what it takes to make transit work in the modern auto-dominated era.  A fascinating and most readable book." 

Noted transportation expert Robert Cervero provides an on-the-ground look at more than a dozen mass transit success stories, introducing the concept of the "transit metropolis" - a region where a workable fit exists between transit services and urban form.  The author has spent more than three years studying cities around the world, and he makes a compelling case that metropolitan areas of any size and with any growth pattern - from highly compact to widely dispersed - can develop successful mass transit systems.  Purchase book

NEW DEPARTURES  by Anthony Perl 


Rethinking Rail Passenger Policy in the Twenty-First Century.  "New Departures is not only the most comprehensive look at rail passenger service in North America, it is the most timely.  With air travel suddenly becoming a mature industry after September 11th, the nation is realizing that it is missing a vital balance in passenger transportation, a balance that could be provided by high speed passenger rail service." 

"This timely book puts railroading on a new footing, making it a solvable problem.  New Departures lays out the many ways a variety of high-speed rail systems can rapidly be assembled to contribute to our safety and security, while restoring enjoyment and ease to American travel."  Purchase book

ECOCITIES  by Richard Register

One of the most important books ever that offers the solutions to our current life-threatening crises of global warming, peak oil, run away sprawl, and epic traffic congestion.  Most of the world's population now lives in cities, and in the short 100 years of building cities for cars, humankind is destroying the basis for life on Earth as we know it.  So if we are to address the problems adequately, the city has to be a major focus of attention, and they have to be built for people rather than for cars.  This book is about re-building cities and towns based on ecological principles for the long term sustainability, cultural vitality and health of the Earth's biosphere. Unique in the literature is the book's insight that the form of the city really matters, and that it is within our ability to change it, and crucial that we do.

Further, that the EcoCity within its bioregion is comprehensible and do-able, and can produce a healthy and potentially happy future.  EcoCities describes the place of the city in evolution, nature and history. It pays special attention to the key question of accessibility and transportation, and outlines design principles for the EcoCity. The reader is encouraged to plunge in to its economics and politics: the kinds of businesses, planning and leadership required. The book then outlines the tools by which a gradual transition to the EcoCity could be accomplished. Throughout, this new edition is generously illustrated with the author's own inspired visions of what such rebuilt cities might actually look like.  This book aims to galvanize action on behalf of a planet in harmony with its citizenry.  Purchase book


CAR FREE CITIES  by J.H. Crawford 

In Carfree Cities, J.H. Crawford argues persuasively that modern personal car usage is a technology that has become deleterious to modern city life.  The author has done us all a great service by crafting a wonderfully readable book that beautifully blends vision and practicality. The reference model for Carfree Cities proposed in this meticulously considered work could quite possibly be the blueprint for reviving not only the art of building but also the art of living itself.

More than half of the world's petrol sources have already been exhausted, and now, with rapidly industrializing countries with huge populations like China and India, demand and competition for petrol will skyrocket and accordingly prices will too. This is one of the three bases that Crawford sets for the radical revisioning of global city planning to abandon autocentric tendencies, and perhaps the most persuasive. The two others, that auto-use is destroying the Earth and that car-free developments, like Venice and very old sectors of European cities, are intrinsically more beautiful and livable areas, are both valid and convincing. But recent economic realities, as is currently being evidenced in global oil prices, perhaps serve to allow the reader to actually consider the feasibility and necessity of abandonining continued suburbanization, rather than just relegating the thought as a utopian but impractical solution.  Purchase book

GREEN URBANISM  by Timothy Beatley

An outline of sustainability and smart growth alternatives to the problems of today - an analysis of how European cities weave together the finance, tax policy, land use regulation, densification, development policy, and transportation to promote 'Green Urbanism'.  "Beatley takes examples from 25 innovative European cities on how to preserve green space, ease traffic congestion, and make cities more livable in other ways. He looks at the sustainable cities movement, transit systems and policies, renewable energy, sustainable forms of economic development, sustainable building, and generally green thinking in all decision making."  Purchase book


Sustainability and Cities examines the urban aspect of sustainability issues, arguing that cities are a necessary focus for that global agenda.  The authors make the case that the essential character of a city's land use results from how it manages its transportation, and that only by reducing our automobile dependence will we be able to successfully accommodate all elements of the sustainability agenda.  The authors consider the changing urban economy in the information age, and describe the extent of automobile dependence worldwide.  They provide an updated survey of global cities that examines a range of sustainability factors and indicators, and, using a series of case studies, demonstrate how cities around the world are overcoming the problem of automobile dependence.

They also examine the connections among transportation and other issues-including water use and cycling, waste management, greening the urban landscape, and more-and explain how all elements of sustainability can be managed simultaneously.  
The authors end with a consideration of how professional planners can promote the sustainability agenda, and the ethical base needed to ensure that this critical set of issues is taken seriously in the world's cities.  Purchase book

THE SUSTAINABLE URBAN DEVELOPMENT READER  Edited by Stephen Wheeler and Timothy Beatley

This excellent book brings together classic readings from a wide variety of sources to investigate how our cities and towns can become more sustainable.  Sixty one selections span issues such as land use planning, urban design, transportation, ecological restoration, economic development, resource use, and equity planning. Section introductions outline the major themes, while introductions to the individual writings explain their interest and significance to wider audiences. Additional sections present twenty-four case studies of real-world sustainable urban planning examples, sustainability planning exercises, and further reading.  Providing background in theory, practical application, and vision, in a clear, accessible format, The Sustainable Urban Development Reader is an essential resource for anyone interested in the future of urban environments.  Purchase book

Sustainable Development

SUSTAINABLE PLANET  Edited by Juliet B. Schor and Betsy Taylor


Solutions for the Twenty-first Century.  “Can we find ways of living that are sustainable and deeply satisfying, that ensure economic and political democracy, and are passionate about beauty, elegant design, and the wildness of nature?  The contributors to this book say we can, and offer sixteen remarkable visions of how to get from here to there, including:

-Specific proposals from citizen and labor coalitions that articulate a positive alternative to the free-trade model of globalization

-The emergence of local food systems that allow us to eat fresher, better tasting food while protecting family farms and conserving the environment

-New thinking about industrial design and engineering that is leading to production systems which generate no waste

-How we might create a fashion industry that weds aesthetics pleasure with social justice

-Five economic policy recommendations that could move us toward a sustainable economy

-What you can do to create a real sense of community where you live

-A road map for building the political will to change the system before it’s too late

Purchase book



STATE OF THE WORLD  by The Worldwatch Institute

The Worldwatch Institute's award-winning research team focuses on the urbanization of our planet to provide policymakers, strategic planners, researchers, students, and concerned citizens with comprehensive analysis of the global environmental problems we face, together with descriptions of practical, innovative solutions.  This report examines changes in the ways cities are managed, built, and lived in that could tip the balance toward a healthier and more peaceful urban future.  Authors investigate water and sanitation, urban farming, local energy production, "green" transportation options, disaster preparedness, local economic stability, and much more.  The report shows what is needed to foster sustainable cities on a planet where urban areas are home to half the human population and a far larger share of natural resource use.  Written in clear and concise language, with easy-to-read charts and tables, State of the World 2007 presents a view of our changing world that we, and our leaders, cannot afford to ignore.

Worldwatch Institute is a Washington, DC-based, nonprofit research and publishing organization dedicated to fostering the evolution of an environmentally sustainable society.  Purchase book

THE LONG EMERGENCY  by James Howard Kunstler

The indictment of suburbia and the car culture that the author presented in The Geography of Nowhere turns apocalyptic in this vigorous jeremiad. Kunstler notes signs that global oil production has peaked and will soon dwindle, and argues in an eye-opening analysis that alternative energy sources cannot fill the gap, especially in transportation. The result will be a Dark Age in which "the center does not hold" and "all bets are off about civilization's future." Absent cheap oil, auto-dependent suburbs and big cities will collapse, along with industry and mechanized agriculture; serfdom and horse-drawn carts will stage a comeback.  Purchase book



This expansive book offers a thorough look at the pros and cons of 16 different modes of moving people around in cities, from walking to aerial tramways.  The book is arranged by mode. Separate chapters deal with walking, bicycles, motorcycles and scooters, automobiles, paratransit, taxis, buses, bus rapid transit, trolleybuses, streetcars and light rail, monorails, heavy rail, commuter rail, automated guideway transit, waterborne modes, special modes, and intermodal terminals.

Each mode gets a thorough listing of its pros ("reasons to support") and cons ("reasons to exercise caution") and its cost. The bulk of the book is devoted to details of practice rather than controversy. Two useful appendices define rail terms and suggest the best places to examine particular modes or approaches in operation.  Purchase book

THE EUROPEAN DREAM  by Jeremy Rifkin    

The American Dream is in decline. Americans are increasingly overworked, underpaid, and squeezed for time. But there is an alternative: the European Dream - a more leisurely, healthy, prosperous, and sustainable way of life. Europe's lifestyle is not only desirable, argues Jeremy Rifkin, but may be crucial to sustaining prosperity in the new era.

With the dawn of the European Union, Europe has become an economic superpower in its own right-its GDP now surpasses that of the United States. Europe has achieved newfound dominance not by single-mindedly driving up stock prices, expanding working hours, and pressing every household into a double-wage-earner conundrum. Instead, the New Europe relies on market networks that place cooperation above competition; promotes a new sense of citizenship that extols the well-being of the whole person and the community rather than the dominant individual; and recognizes the necessity of deep play and leisure to create a better, more productive, and healthier workforce. Much of Europe enjoys a longer life span and greater literacy, and has less poverty and crime, less blight and sprawl, longer vacations, and shorter commutes to work then we do in the United States. When one considers what makes a people great and what constitutes a better way of life, observes Rifkin, Europe now surpasses America.  Purchase book

REDESIGNING CITIES  by Jonathan Barnett

Principles, Practice, Implementation.  An excellent new book from a leading urban design thinker.  "Jonathan Barnett points the way for us to make our urban areas more livable, attractive, and economically competitive.  He captures the lessons we've learned about livable communities, describes the tools and techniques that work, and points us toward the creation of tomorrow's success stories.  Redesigning Cities is a great read for transportation and urban planners, and anyone else interested in understanding the relationship between urban design, land use, and transportation.  Barnett does an excellent job of explaining lessons learned - what to avoid from the past, and what we need to do to get it right in the future.  This highlights the importance of urban design to the shaping of cities, and provides practical solutions to the problems of poor design, poverty, and sprawl."  Purchase book


In this provocative study, John Dutton shows how American urban models, whose influence has been essential in the shaping of cities worldwide since 1945, are currently recovering at home from the crisis of the 1970s and 1980s.  He masterfully analyzes the theoretical inputs and the design solutions that have shaped a collection of experimental town landscapes that deserve all our attention today.  This book provides a critical analysis of the New Urbanism movement, tracing its evolution, contradictions, social vision, and formal variety.  The author clearly illustrates through new urbanist case studies that it is a design movement dealing with the diversity of "real" American urban landscapes in their own regional historical and place language of neighborhood building.  Now, as other parts of the world are exploring possible adaptations of this movement, every reader will benefit from the breadth and good sense of this important book.  Purchase book

PLACE MAKING  by Charles Bohl


Developing Town Centers, Main Streets, and Urban Villages.  The author describes one of the most popular trends in real estate, the development of town centers and urban villages with mixed uses in pedestrian-friendly settings.  "This new book includes a detailed critique and analysis of urban design characteristics, the use of the rural-urban transect as a conceptual framework for the emerging formats for town centers and main streets, an explanation of the economic and social forces driving this trend, and information on the special regulatory, market, and finance issues".  Purchase book


SUBURBAN NATION  by Andres Duany, Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, & Jeff Speck

The Rise of Sprawl and the Decline of the American Dream.  This leading book "gives voice to 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.  Founders of the Congress for the New Urbanism, Andres Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk are at the forefront of this movement, and even their critics, such as Fred Barnes in The Wall Street Journal, recognize that Suburban Nation is 'the bible of urbanists'.  A lively lament about the failures of postwar planning, this is also that rare book that offers solutions." 

"An essential text of our time, as compelling and important as Jane Jacobs's The Death and Life of Great American Cities and Venturi, Brown, and Izenour's Learning from Las Vegas ... Everyone who cares about the future of our American way of life should read this book."  Purchase book

ECO-ECONOMY  by Lester Brown


Building an Economy for the Earth.  The author calls for a renewed global view of the world and our economy, and asks the urgent question "is the environment part of the economy, or the economy part of the environment?"  Brown argues the latter, and points out that "treating the environment as part of the economy has produced an economy that is destroying its natural support systems.  Our fossil-fuel-based, automobile-centered, throwaway economy is not a viable model for the world." 

"Converting our economy into an eco-economy is a monumental undertaking, and in the time available requires rapid systemic change.  We will not succeed  with a project here and a project there.  We are winning occasional battles now, but we are losing the war because we do not have a strategy for the systemic economic change that will put the world on a development path that is environmentally sustainable."  This book outlines such a path.  Purchase book



HOME FROM NOWHERE  by James Howard Kunstler

Remaking Our Everyday World for the 21st Centruy.  "A deliciously wicked over-the-top nonfiction romp across the tortured terrain of suburban America.  This book is a wonderful whack-on-the-side-of-the-head to an increasingly complacent country bent on turning everywhere into Nowhere.  In his landmark book The Geography of Nowhere James Howard Kunstler visited the 'tragic sprawlscape of cartoon architecture, junked cities, and ravaged countryside' America had become and declared that the deteriorating environment was not merely a symptom of a troubled culture, but one of the primary causes of our discontent. 

Now in Home From Nowhere, Kunstler not only shows that the original American Dream -  the desire for peaceful, pleasant places in which to work and live - still has a strong hold on our imaginations, but also offers innovative, eminently practial ways to make that dream a reality.  Citing examples from around the country, he calls for the restoration of traditional architecture, the introduction of enduring design principles in urban planning, and the development of public spaces that acknowledge our need to interact comfortably with one another.  Kunstler makes a persuasive argument for massive change in how we live and lays out the problems that must be overcome."  Purchase book


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