Cities
Cities 
 

 

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*Sustainable Urban Metabolism.  Paulo C. Ferrão (Prof of Mechanical Engineering, Instituto Superior Técnico, Lisbon; a Director, MIT Portugal Program) and John E. Fernández (Assoc Prof of Architecture and Director, Building Technology Program, MIT; Director, MIT International Design Center).  Cambridge MA: MIT Press, Sept 2013, 256p, $35. Urbanization and globalization have shaped the last hundred years. These two dominant trends are mutually reinforcing, as globalization links countries through the networked communications of urban hubs. The urban population now generates more than 80% of global GDP. Cities account for enormous flows of energy and materials—inflows of goods and services and outflows of waste. Thus urban environmental management critically affects global sustainability. Ferrão and Fernández view the city as a metabolism, in terms of its exchanges of matter and energy, and provide a roadmap to strategies and tools needed for analyzing and promoting the sustainability of urban systems. Using the concept of urban metabolism as a unifying framework, they describe a systems-oriented approach that establishes useful linkages among environmental, economic, social, and technical infrastructure issues.  (SUSTAINABILITY * CITIES * URBAN METABOLISM)
* Sustainable Urban Metabolism.  Paulo C. Ferrão (Prof of Mechanical Engineering, Instituto Superior Técnico, Lisbon; a Director, MIT Portugal Program) and John E. Fernández (Assoc Prof of Architecture and Director, Building Technology Program, MIT; Director, MIT International Design Center).  Cambridge MA: MIT Press, Sept 2013, 256p, $35. Urbanization and globalization have shaped the last hundred years. These two dominant trends are mutually reinforcing, as globalization links countries through the networked communications of urban hubs. The urban population now generates more than 80% of global GDP. Cities account for enormous flows of energy and materials—inflows of goods and services and outflows of waste. Thus urban environmental management critically affects global sustainability. Ferrão and Fernández view the city as a metabolism, in terms of its exchanges of matter and energy, and provide a roadmap to strategies and tools needed for analyzing and promoting the sustainability of urban systems. Using the concept of urban metabolism as a unifying framework, they describe a systems-oriented approach that establishes useful linkages among environmental, economic, social, and technical infrastructure issues.  (SUSTAINABILITY * CITIES * URBAN METABOLISM)

 

 

* Smart Cities: Big Data, Civic Hackers, and the Quest for a New Utopia. Anthony M. Townsend (Institute for the Future, Palo Alto CA; Center for Transportation, NYU). NY: W.W. Norton, Oct 2013, 384p, $28.95. “The old city of concrete, glass, and steel now conceals a vast underworld of computers and software. Linked up via the Internet, these devices a re being stitched together into a nervous system that supports the daily lives of billions in a world of huge and growing cities.” (p.xii) This is a historic shift in how we build and manage cities. Smart cities can adapt on the fly, by pulling readings from vast arrays of sensors; they optimize heating and cooling in buildings, balance the flow of electricity through the power grid, and keep transportation networks moving. They “use technology to do more with less, and to tame and green the chaos of booming cities.” (p.xiii) Yet every city contains the DNA of its own destruction. “The smart city may come crashing down under its own weight because it is already buggy, brittle, and bugged, and will only become more so.” Normal accidents will be inevitable, and the only questions will be when smart cities fail and how much damage results. Smart cities may also worsen the gaps between rich and poor, and/or become the ultimate setup for surveillance—the digital analogue of Jeremy Bentham’s 1791 Panopticon prison design. Chapters discuss overhauling the power grid, the role of Cisco Systems (which seeks to become “the new plumber of smart cities” and “to control the nervous system of the entire urban world”), the role of IBM in systems modeling for cities, the early 20C visions of Patrick Geddes and the Garden City movement, the open-source metropolis, citizen microcontrol, sociability as the smart city’s Killer App, reinventing City Hall, applications in developing countries, a planet of civic laboratories (driven by a new crop of NGOs working to cross-fertilize innovations, e.g. Code for America and CityMart), a new civics for a smart century. [NOTE: A fascinating read, also serving as a bridge between Big Data (above) and Digital Disconnect (below).] (SMART CITIES * BIG DATA * COMMUNICATION)

 

*Taking Sustainable Cities Seriously: Economic Development, the Environment, and Quality of Life in American Cities (Second Edition).  Kent E. Portney (Prof of Pol Sci, Tufts U). Cambridge MA: MIT Press, Feb 2013, 400p, $29pb. Most major cities have undertaken some form of sustainability initiative. Yet there have been few systematic comparisons across cities, or theoretically grounded considerations of what works and what does not, and why. Portney offers an overview and analysis of sustainability programs and policies in American cities. Topics include the conceptual underpinnings of sustainability, local aspects of sustainability, measurement of sustainability, relationship between sustainability and economic growth, and issues of governance, equity, and implementation. Case studies are provided, with separate chapters on large, medium-size, and small cities. The 2nd edition offers numerous additional case studies, a new chapter on management and implementation issues, and a greatly expanded comparative analysis of big city sustainability initiatives. Portney shows how cities use the broad rubric of sustainability to achieve particular political ends, and dispels the notion that only cities that are politically liberal are interested in sustainability. (CITIES * SUSTAINABLE CITIES)

 

**The World's Greenest Buildings: Promise Versus Performance in Sustainable Design.  Jerry Yudelson (principal, Yudelson Associates, Tucson, AZ, www.greenbuildconsult.com) and Ulf Meyer (Kansas State U  and U of Nebraska). NY: Routledge, Jan 2013, 264p, $45.95pb (also as e-book). The authors examined hundreds of the highest-rated large green buildings from around the world and asked their owners to supply one simple thing: actual performance data, to demonstrate their claims to sustainable operations. Contents include: 1) an overview of the rating systems, showing "best in class" building performance in North America, Europe, the Middle East, India, China, Australia, and the Asia-Pacific region; 2) practical examples of best practices for greening both new and existing buildings; 3) a practical reference for how green buildings actually perform at the highest level, one that goes step-by-step through many different design solutions; 4) a wealth of exemplary case studies of successful green building projects using actual performance data from which to learn; 5) interviews with architects, engineers, building owners and developers, and industry experts, to provide added insight into the greening process. The guide uncovers some of the pitfalls that lie ahead for sustainable design, and points the way toward much faster progress in the decade ahead. (CITIES * GREEN BUILDING * SUSTAINABLE BUILDING DESIGN)

 

* Compact City Policies: A Comparative Assessment. OECD.  Paris: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, June 2012, 284p, $88 (e-book). Sustainable urban development – achieving environmental preservation, social equity and economic development – remains an urgent global challenge in a world that continues to urbanise. This report discusses sustainable urban development from the perspective of urban spatial form – or how we use urban spaces. Importantly, it highlights how urban spatial policies can help foster economic growth and development while preventing environmental degradation and climate change.   Key characteristics of a compact city are dense and proximate development patterns, built-up areas linked by public transport systems, and accessibility to local services and jobs. Key strategies for compact cities: set explicit goals, encourage dense development, retrofit existing built-up areas, enhance diversity and quality of life, and minimize adverse negative effects.   Also considers compact city policies and their contribution to Green Growth, and indicators to monitor policy performance. Special issues: 1) the link between environmental and economic outcomes: how the compact city can help to support and foster economic growth while addressing environmental concerns; 2) indicators for monitoring and evaluating the performance of a compact city; 3) major policy instruments in OECD countries, with five case study metropolitan areas: Melbourne, Vancouver, Paris, Toyama (Japan), and Portland (US); and 4) comparative assessment of cities. (CITIES * COMPACT CITIES * GREEN GROWTH)

 

* City Cycling. Edited by John Pucher (Prof of Urban Planning, Rutgers U) and Ralph Buehler (Asst Prof of Urban Affairs and Planning, Virginia Tech). Cambridge MA: MIT Press, Nov 2012, 368p, $27.95. Bicycling should not be limited to those who are highly trained, extremely fit, and daring enough to battle traffic on busy roads. Bicycling in cities is booming for health and environmental benefits, time and cost savings, more and better bike lanes and paths, innovative bike sharing programs, and the sheer fun of riding. The authors offer a guide to urban cycling renaissance, reporting on cycling trends and policies in large and small cities of North America, Europe, and Australia.  They cover such topics as cycling safety, cycling infrastructure provisions (including bikeways and bike parking), the wide range of bike designs and bike equipment, integration of cycling with public transportation, and promoting cycling for women and children. Successful promotion of city cycling depends on coordinating infrastructure, programs, and government policies. (CITIES * CYCLING IN CITIES * TRANSPORTATION)


* Design after Decline: How America Rebuilds Shrinking CitiesBrent D. Ryan (MIT).  The City in the 21st Century Series.  Philadelphia PA: U of Pennsylvania Press, April 2012, 288p, $45.  Almost 50 years ago, America’s industrial cities – Detroit, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Baltimore, and others – began shedding people and jobs.  Today they are littered with tens of thousands of abandoned houses, shuttered factories, and vacant lots. With population and housing losses continuing since the 2007-2008 financial crisis, the future of neighborhoods is precarious. Accepting the inevitable decline and abandonment of some neighborhoods, while rebuilding others as new neighborhoods with innovative design and planning, can reignite modernism’s spirit of optimism and shape a brighter future for shrinking cities and their residents. (CITIES * INDUSTRIAL CITIES: REDESIGN)

* Housing the Homeless.   Edited by Jon Erickson (Kean U) and Charles Wilhelm (formerly Capital Budget Homeless Housing Program, NY).  With a new introduction by Jon Erickson.  A Center for Urban Policy Research Books.  Piscataway NJ: Transaction Publishers, April 2012, 477p, $39.95pb.  Homeless people  have no permanent residence and seek security, rest, and protection from the elements.  They live in areas that are not designated to be shelters, occupy structures without permission, or are provided emergency shelters by various organizations.  Their number has grown and the complexity of the issue has increased.  Discusses what steps private, charitable, and public organizations can take to alleviate and eventually solve the problem, with a variety of case studies that bring together different perspectives.  Concludes with a resource section that highlights government policies and programs addressing this problem.  (HOMELESSNESS * HOUSING * POVERTY * CITIES)
 
*Food and the City: Urban Agriculture and the New Food RevolutionJennifer Cockrall-King (Edmonton, Alberta, Canada; freelance journalist; www.foodgirl.ca).  Amherst NY: Prometheus Books, Feb 2012, 355p, $21pb (also as e-book for 11.99).  There’s just a three-day supply of food available for any given city due to complex, just-in-time international supply chains.  The system is not only vulnerable but also environmentally unsustainable for the long term.  Examines alternative food systems in cities worldwide—London (gardeners grow on some 30,000allotment plots), Paris, Russia (65% of Moscow households grow some of their own food), Vancouver (promoting edible landscaping), Toronto, Los Angeles (supporting 100 schoolyard food gardens), Milwaukee, Detroit (Hantz Frms will be “the world’s largest urban farm”), Chicago, New York (now home to two major rooftop farms), and Cuba (“urban agriculture on a national scale”)-- that are shortening their food chains, growing food within city limits, and taking  “food security” in their own hands.  Growing spaces in the cities include rooftops, backyards, vacant lots, along roadways, and even in “vertical farms” reusing industrial buildings and derelict inner-city lots.  [NOTE: A fascinating and upbeat tour of many exciting projects.]   (FOOD AND AGRICULTURE * CITIES AND FOOD * URBAN AGRICULTURE * ALTERNATIVE FOOD SYSTEMS)
 
*Rethinking a Lot: The Design and Culture of ParkingEran Ben-Joseph  (Prof of Landscape Architecture and Planning, MIT).  Cambridge MA: MIT Press, March 2012, 184p, $24.95pb.  There are an estimated 600 million passenger cars in the world, and, in some cities, parking lots cover more than a third of the metropolitan footprint.  Parking lots are ripe for transformation and can be significant public places, aesthetically pleasing and environmentally and architecturally responsible.  They can be lushly planted with trees and flowers, and beautifully integrated with the urban built environrnent.  (CITIES * PARKING LOTS RECONSIDERED)
 
* Global Downtowns.  Edited by Gary McDonogh (Prof of Anthropology, Bryn Mawr College) and Marina Peterson (Ohio U).  Philadelphia: U of Pennsylvania Press, Dec 2011, 376p, $59.  Downtowns are products of the activity of planners, power elites, and consumers; these zones of conflict and competition embody the heritage of the modern city and its future.  Reconsiders the energy and exuberance that characterizes downtown areas in Europe, Asia, Africa, Latin America and the US– within a framework of contemporary globalization and change.  Draws on extensive fieldwork and archival study in Beijing, Barcelona, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dar es Salaam, Dubai, Nashville, Lima, Philadelphia, Mumbai, Havana, Beirut, Paris, etc.(CITIES * DOWNTOWN AREAS WORLDWIDE)
 
* Walk Out Walk On: A Learning Journey into Communities Daring to Live the Future NowMargaret Wheatley (Cofounder, Berkana Institute) and Deborah Frieze (President, Berkana Institute).  San Francisco CA: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, April 2011, 288p, $24.95pb (also as e-book).  This is an era of increasingly complex problems, fewer and fewer resources to address them, and failing solutions.  Yet every community has within itself the ingenuity, intelligence, and inventiveness to solve the seemingly insolvable.  Presents people who have “walked out” of limiting beliefs and assumptions and “walked on” to create seven healthy and resilient communities in India, Zimbabwe, Mexico, Greece, Columbus (Ohio), Brazil, and South Africa.                                               (METHODS * CITIES)
 
* Trends in Urbanisation and Urban Policies in OECD Countries: What Lessons for China?  Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development.  Paris: OECD Publishing, Sept 2010, 222p, free pdf.  Surveys trends in urban policies of OECD countries to identify successes and failures that could inform national Chinese policy-makers in their preparation of an Urbanisation Strategy.  China has become the world’s largest urban nation with over 600 million urban citizens today, projected to reach 900 million by 2050.  Although the scale of China’s urbanization is unprecedented, issues in managing this growth are not.  Among the key challenges: 1) maximizing national benefits of urbanization while mitigating its negative impacts; 2) the economic, social, and environmental costs of meeting these challenges; 3) defining the most effective and efficient allocation of functional responsibilities among various levels of government;  4) effectively planning urban development in a market context. 
 (CITIES * URBANISATION STRATEGY * CHINA)
 
*State of the World’s Cities 2010/11 — Cities for All: Bridging the Urban Divide.  Edited by UN-HABITAT. London & Sterling VA: Earthscan (dist by Stylus), June 2010/200p/$39.95pb.  Uses the frameowrk of “The Urban Divide” to analyze the complex social, political, economic, and cultural dynamics of urban environments.  Focuses on the “right to the city” to explain the way many urban dwellers are excluded from the advantages of city life by exploring links among poverty, inequality, slum formation, and economic growth.                            (CITIES * “URBAN DIVIDE” * WORLD’S CITIES)

 *Solid Waste Management in the World’s Cities: Water and Sanitation in the World’s Cities 2010UN-HABITAT.  Published with UN-HABITAT.  London & Sterling VA: Earthscan (dist by Stylus), April 2010/256p/$49.95pb.  Solid waste management will be a key challenge facing all the world’s cities. Uses the framework of Integrated Sustainable Waste Management to briing together research on 22 cities across 6 continents. Uncovers the diversity of waste management systems and draws out the practical lessons for policy-makers. (CITIES * SOLID WASTE MANAGEMENT * WORLD’S CITIES * WATER AND CITIES * SANITATION AND CITIES * SUSTAINABLE WASTE MANAGEMENT)

 

*Urbanism in the Age of Climate Change. Peter Calthorpe (Berkeley CA; founding member, Congress for New Urbanism).  Washington DC: Island Press, Sep 2010/225p/$49.50.  A leading proponent of New Urbanism and author of The Regional City: Planning for the End of Sprawl advocates sustainable development that thoughtfully combines good urbanism with renewable energy sources, state-of-the-art conservation techniques, new green technologies, and integrated services and utilities. Also considers the new generation of ecological design, smart grids, climate responsive buildings, electric cars, and next-generation transit systems.
(CITIES * SUSTAINABILITY AND CITIES * NEW URBANISM)

*Biophilic Cities: Integrating Nature into Urban Design and PlanningTimothy Beatley (Prof of Sustainable Communities, U of Virginia).  Washington DC: Island Press, Nov 2010/200p/$35pb.  Expands biophilia—the need to connect with the natural world— from individuals to cities. Advocates urban greening efforts that include biophilia among current concerns for public transit, renewable energy production, and energy efficient building systems. Reviews practices of biophilic urban design and planning: urban ecological networks, connected urban green space, green rooftops, green walls, sidewalk greens.                     (CITIES * GREEN URBANISM * BIOPHILIC CITIES * URBAN DESIGN)

 

*Dry Run: Preventing the Next Urban Water CrisisJerry Yudelson (Yudelson Associates).  Gabriola Island, BC: New Society Publishers, June 2010, 240p, $19.95pb.  An expert on green building and sustainability views fresh water shortages as an increasingly serious global problem in the “Age of Scarcity” now upon us.   Proposes solutions for homes, buildings, facilities, and schools.  Demonstrates best practices for water conservation, rainwater harvesting, graywater reuse and water reclamation systems, water efficiency retrofits, onsite sewage treatment, and new water reuse and supply technologies.                                                  (WATER CRISIS * CITIES AND WATER SHORTAGE)

* Whole Earth Discipline: An Ecopragmatist Manifesto.  Stewart Brand (Sausalito CA).  NY: Viking, Dec 2009/316p/$25.95.  Founder of The Whole Earth Catalog views climate change as the single largest threat to humanity.  A carbon-free future is needed, with rapid deployment of a new generation of nuclear power plants as the leading component of a green energy plan.  Other key ideas: 1) large-scale geoengineering is now imperative because it is too late to completely prevent or mitigate climate change; 2) booming megacities facilitate beneficial arrangements between humans and the environment (e.g., allowing half of humanity to live in 2.8% of the land); 3) urban slums (“squatter cities”), home to more than half of city dwellers, are the new sustainable communities pioneering in urban farming; 4) GM crops must be embraced so as to reduce pesticide and water use; 5) “open-source biotech” is needed to develop non-patent-protected seeds.                            (CLIMATE CHANGE * SUSTAINABILITY * NUCLEAR ENERGY * MEGACITIES * SQUATTER CITIES * GM CROPS * GEOENGINEERING)

*Cities for PeopleJan Gehl (Gehl Architects, Copenhagen).  Foreword by Lord Richard Rogers.  Washington: Island Press, May 2010/285p/$49.50.  Discusses how to reconfigure unworkable cityscapes into landscapes for people, human issues successful to successful city planning, experiencing the urban landscape at the speed of walking rather than the speed of riding, human-scale planning in fast-growing cities of developing countries, and how to develop cities that are lively, safe, sustainable, and healthy.  Illustrated with >700 photos and drawings.                        (CITIES)

* Reinventing the Automobile: Personal Urban Mobility for the 21st Century.  William J. Mitchell (Smart Cities research group, MIT Media Lab), Christopher E. Borroni-Bird (Director of Advanced Vehicle Concepts, GM), and Lawrence D. Burns (former VP for R&D at GM).  Cambridge MA: The MIT Press, March 2010/240p/$21.95.  Today’s cars are inefficient for personal mobility in cities: they need to be green, smart, connected, and fun.  Four big ideas to make this feasible and timely: 1) base underlying design on electric-drive and wireless communications; 2) a Mobility Internet for sharing traffic and travel data; 3) electric-drive vehicles integrated with smart electric grids based on renewable energy; 4) dynamically priced markets for electricity, road space, parking space, and shared-use vehicles.                                                (TRANSPORTATION * AUTOMOBILES FOR 21C * CITIES)

 

* State of the World’s Cities 2008-2009: Harmonious Cities.   UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT). NY: United Nations Publications, 2008/280p/$40 (Sales #E.08.III.Q.1). Assesses various intangible assets within cities that represent the soul of the city and are as important for harmonious urban development as tangible assets; focuses on three key areas: spatial or regional harmony, social harmony, and environmental harmony.                                                                         (CITIES)
 
** Sustainable Urbanization: Revisiting the Role of Urban Planning. UN-Habitat. London & Sterling VA: Earthscan, Oct 2009/380p(8x11”)/$49.95pb. The 2009 Global Report on Human Settlements, reviewing major challenges facing cities and towns worldwide, the spread of modern urban planning, the defects of current approaches, and innovative practices responsive to future challenges.
(CITIES * PLANNING*  SUSTAINABILITY)
 
* Emerald Cities: Urban Sustainability and Economic Development. Joan Fitzgerald (Law, Policy and Society Program, Northeastern U). NY: Oxford UP, Feb 2010/256p$29.95. In the absence of a comprehensive national policy, many large and mid-size cities (NYC, Chicago, Portland, San Francisco, Seattle, Toledo, Syracuse) have taken the lead in addressing environmental issues and green economic development to improve quality of life.                                                      (CITIES * SUSTAINABILITY)
 
* Megaregions: Planning for Global Competiveness. Edited by Catherine L. Ross (Prof of Regional Development, Georgia Tech). Foreword by Richard Florida. Washington: Island Press, June 2009/350p$35. Concepts of “the city,” “the state,” and the “nation state” are passé; the new scale for considering economic strength and growth opportunities is “the megaregion,” a network of metro centers and their surrounding areas; by 2050, megaregions will contain two-thirds of US population.
 (CITIES* PLANNING* MEGAREGIONS)
 
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