Urban design

Dealing with urban design

Visioning and Visualization: People, Pixels, and Plans

By Michael Kwartler and Gianni Longo

Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, 2008, 104 pp., $35 paperback.

The last 20 years have brought a blossoming of citizen-planning processes and an array of innovative tools that help citizens understand future development. “Visioning,” scenario planning, charrettes, computer-based simulations — these and other techniques have given ordinary people a better handle on how to shape cities and regions.

Writing Urbanism: A Design Reader

Edited by Douglas Kelbaugh and Kit Krankel McCullough

Routledge (Taylor & Francis), 2008, 424 pp., $44.95 paperback

In this long and often abstruse collection of writings on urbanism, one essay stands out as a marvel of imagination and observation. It’s San Francisco architect Daniel Solomon’s well-informed 13-page meditation, “Whatever happened to modernity?”

Newest eco-development model: ‘Agricultural urbanism’

Farms and gardens would be key to a self-sustaining 2,000-home development envisioned in British Columbia.

An eight-day charrette in May, led by Andres Duany, laid out an innovative, agriculturally-oriented path that new urbanists could start using in communities that are worried about losing farm land.
Duany and other new urbanists collaborated with Michael Ableman, an organic farmer and author, to show how a 538-acre tract near Vancouver, British Columbia, could accommodate nearly 2,000 housing units and at the same time foster a wide range of food-producing activities.

New Urbanism and Beyond: Designing Cities for the Future

Edited by Tigran Haas

Rizzoli, 2008, 349 pp., $50 hardcover

Suburban Transformations

By Paul Lukez
From the beginning days of the movement, there was a genuine desire on the part of several of the New Urbanism’s founders and other early members of CNU to bring Modernists and other proponents of the architectural avant-garde into the fold.

Biophilic Design: The Theory, Science, and Practice of Bringing Buildings to Life

Edited by Stephen R. Kellert, Judith H. Heerwagen, and Martin L. Mador

John Wiley & Sons, 2008, 400 pp., $75 hardcover

Rivertown: Rethinking Urban Rivers

Edited by Paul Stanton Kibel

The MIT Press, 2007, 216 pp., $22 paperback

Of the six riverfronts carefully examined in this book, the one with the most exciting prospects is the Anacostia — sometimes referred to as Washington, DC’s “other river.” Much less well-known than the Potomac, the Anacostia flows through eastern parts of the nation’s capital for seven miles — past public housing projects, poverty-stricken neighborhoods, and highways that impede residents’ access to the river.

Block by Block: Jane Jacobs and the Future of New York

Edited by Timothy Mennel, Jo Steffens, and Christopher Klemek

Municipal Art Society and Princeton Architectural Press, 2007, 64 pp., $17.95 paperback

Sustainable Urbanism: Urban Design with Nature

By Douglas Farr

John Wiley & Sons, 2007, 304 pp., $75 hardcover

Americans love to celebrate “our robust range of life choices,” Chicago architect and urban designer Douglas Farr writes in this potentially important book. We express satisfaction about “being able to pick where we work, whom we live with, where we shop, and how we play” — all the while failing to deal with the obesity epidemic, global warming, and many other unhealthy trends. “Our lifestyle, to put it simply, is on the wrong course,” Farr declares.

The Miller School plan

Dover, Kohl & Partners led a week-long charrette in mid-September aimed at bringing order, pedestrian comfort, and a degree of architectural grace to the jumbled section of Miami containing the University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine, the Miami-Dade justice center, and other institutions.

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