In the second half of the nineteenth century, American cities began to go dark. Hulking new buildings overspread blocks, pollution obscured the skies, and glass and smog screened out the health-giving rays of the sun. Doctors fed anxities about these new conditions with claims about a rising tide of the "diseases of darkness," especially rickets and tuberculosis.
In American Sunshine, Daniel Freund tracks the obsession with sunlight from those bleak days into the twentieth century. Before long, social reformers, medical professionals, scientists, and a growing nudist movement proffered remedies for America’s new dark age. Architects, city planners, and politicians made access to sunlight central to public housing and public health. and entrepreneurs, dairymen, and tourism boosters transformed the pursuit of sunlight and its effects into a commodity. Within this historical context, Freund sheds light on important questions about the commodification of health and nature and makes an original contribution to the histories of cities, consumerism, the environment, and medicine.
In The Appearances of Memory, the Indonesian architectural and urban historian Abidin Kusno explores the connections between the built environment and political consciousness in Indonesia during the colonial and postcolonial eras. Focusing primarily on Jakarta, he describes how perceptions of the past, anxieties about the rapid pace of change in the present, and hopes for the future have been embodied in architecture and urban space at different historical moments. He argues that the built environment serves as a reminder of the practices of the past and an instantiation of the desire to remake oneself within, as well as beyond, one’s particular time and place.
Addressing developments in Indonesia since the fall of President Suharto’s regime in 1998, Kusno delves into such topics as the domestication of traumatic violence and the restoration of order in the urban space, the intense interest in urban history in contemporary Indonesia, and the implications of “superblocks,” large urban complexes consisting of residences, offices, shops, and entertainment venues. Moving farther back in time, he examines how Indonesian architects reinvented colonial architectural styles to challenge the political culture of the state, how colonial structures such as railway and commercial buildings created a new, politically charged cognitive map of cities in Java in the early twentieth century, and how the Dutch, in attempting to quell dissent, imposed a distinctive urban visual order in the 1930s. Finally, the present and the past meet in his long-term considerations of how Java has responded to the global flow of Islamic architecture, and how the meanings of Indonesian gatehouses have changed and persisted over time. The Appearances of Memory is a pioneering look at the roles of architecture and urban development in Indonesia’s ongoing efforts to move forward.
Tim Beatley has long been a leader in advocating for the "greening" of cities. But too often, he notes, urban greening efforts focus on everything except nature, emphasizing such elements as public transit, renewable energy production, and energy efficient building systems. While these are important aspects of reimagining urban living, they are not enough, says Beatley. We must remember that human beings have an innate need to connect with the natural world (the biophilia hypothesis). And any vision of a sustainable urban future must place its focus squarely on nature, on the presence, conservation, and celebration of the actual green features and natural life forms.
A biophilic city is more than simply a biodiverse city, says Beatley. It is a place that learns from nature and emulates natural systems, incorporates natural forms and images into its buildings and cityscapes, and designs and plans in conjunction with nature. A biophilic city cherishes the natural features that already exist but also works to restore and repair what has been lost or degraded.
In Biophilic Cities Beatley not only outlines the essential elements of a biophilic city, but provides examples and stories about cities that have successfully integrated biophilic elements--from the building to the regional level--around the world.
From urban ecological networks and connected systems of urban greenspace, to green rooftops and green walls and sidewalk gardens, Beatley reviews the emerging practice of biophilic urban design and planning, and tells many compelling stories of individuals and groups working hard to transform cities from grey and lifeless to green and biodiverse.
What would it mean to live in cities designed to foster feelings of connectedness to the ocean? As coastal cities begin planning for climate change and rising sea levels, author Timothy Beatley sees opportunities for rethinking the relationship between urban development and the ocean. Modern society is more dependent upon ocean resources than people are commonly aware of—from oil and gas extraction to wind energy, to the vast amounts of fish harvested globally, to medicinal compounds derived from sea creatures, and more. In Blue Urbanism, Beatley argues that, given all we’ve gained from the sea, city policies, plans, and daily urban life should acknowledge and support a healthy ocean environment.
The book explores issues ranging from urban design and land use, to resource extraction and renewable energy, to educating urbanites about the wonders of marine life. Beatley looks at how emerging practices like “community supported fisheries” and aquaponics can provide a sustainable alternative to industrial fishing practices. Other chapters delve into incentives for increasing use of wind and tidal energy as renewable options to oil and gas extraction that damages ocean life, and how the shipping industry is becoming more “green.” Additionally, urban citizens, he explains, have many opportunities to interact meaningfully with the ocean, from beach cleanups to helping scientists gather data.
While no one city “has it all figured out,” Beatley finds evidence of a changing ethic in cities around the world: a marine biodiversity census in Singapore, decreasing support for shark-finning in Hong Kong, “water plazas” in Rotterdam, a new protected area along the rocky shore of Wellington, New Zealand, “bluebelt” planning in Staten Island, and more. Ultimately he explains we must create a culture of “ocean literacy” using a variety of approaches, from building design and art installations that draw inspiration from marine forms, to encouraging citizen volunteerism related to oceans, to city-sponsored research, and support for new laws that protect marine health.
Equal parts inspiration and practical advice for urban planners, ocean activists, and policymakers, Blue Urbanism offers a comprehensive look at the challenges and great potential for urban areas to integrate ocean health into their policy and planning goals.
In 2000, Seattle, Washington, became the first U.S. city to officially adopt the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) “Silver” standards for its own major construction projects. In the midst of a municipal building boom, it set new targets for building and remodeling to LEED guidelines. Its first LEED certified project, the Seattle Justice Center, was completed in 2002. The city is now home to one of the highest concentrations of LEED buildings in the world.
Building an Emerald City is the story of how Seattle transformed itself into a leader in sustainable “green” building, written by one of the principal figures in that transformation. It is both a personal account—filled with the experiences and insights of an insider—and a guide for anyone who wants to bring about similar changes in any city. It includes “best practice” models from municipalities across the nation, supplemented by the contributions of “guest authors” who offer stories and tips from their own experiences in other cities.
Intended as a “roadmap” for policy makers, public officials and representatives, large-scale builders and land developers, and green advocates of every stripe, Building an Emerald City is that rare book—one that is both inspirational and practical.
Cities are the world’s future. Today, more than half of the global population—3.7 billion people—are urban dwellers, and that number is expected to double by 2050. There is no question that cities are growing; the only debate is over how they will grow. Will we invest in the physical and social infrastructure necessary for livable, equitable, and sustainable cities? In the latest edition of State of the World, the flagship publication of the Worldwatch Institute, experts from around the globe examine the core principles of sustainable urbanism and profile cities that are putting them into practice.
State of the World first puts our current moment in context, tracing cities in the arc of human history. It also examines the basic structural elements of every city: materials and fuels; people and economics; and biodiversity. In part two, professionals working on some of the world’s most inventive urban sustainability projects share their first-hand experience. Success stories come from places as diverse as Ahmedabad, India; Freiburg, Germany; and Shanghai, China. In many cases, local people are acting to improve their cities, even when national efforts are stalled. Parts three and four examine cross-cutting issues that affect the success of all cities. Topics range from the nitty-gritty of handling waste and developing public transportation to civic participation and navigating dysfunctional government.
Throughout, readers discover the most pressing challenges facing communities and the most promising solutions currently being developed. The result is a snapshot of cities today and a vision for global urban sustainability tomorrow.
In less than a century, the American West has transformed from a predominantly rural region to one where most people live in metropolitan centers. Cities and Nature in the American West offers provocative analyses of this transformation. Each essay explores the intersection of environmental, urban, and western history, providing a deeper understanding of the com- plex processes by which the urban West has shaped and been shaped by its sustaining environment. The book also considers how the West’s urban development has altered the human experience and perception of nature, from the administration and marketing of national parks to the consumer roots of popular environ- mentalism; the politics of land and water use; and the challenges of environmental inequities. A number of essays address the cultural role of wilderness, nature, and such activities as camping. Others examine the increasingly per- vasive power of the West’s urban areas and urbanites to redefine the very foundations and future of the American West.
Modern city dwellers are largely detached from the environmental effects of their daily lives. The sources of the water they drink, the food they eat, and the energy they consume are all but invisible, often coming from other continents, and their waste ends up in places beyond their city boundaries.
Cities as Sustainable Ecosystems shows how cities and their residents can begin to reintegrate into their bioregional environment, and how cities themselves can be planned with nature’s organizing principles in mind. Taking cues from living systems for sustainability strategies, Newman and Jennings reassess urban design by exploring flows of energy, materials, and information, along with the interactions between human and non-human parts of the system.
Drawing on examples from all corners of the world, the authors explore natural patterns and processes that cities can emulate in order to move toward sustainability. Some cities have adopted simple strategies such as harvesting rainwater, greening roofs, and producing renewable energy. Others have created biodiversity parks for endangered species, community gardens that support a connection to their foodshed, and pedestrian-friendly spaces that encourage walking and cycling.
A powerful model for urban redevelopment, Cities as Sustainable Ecosystems describes aspects of urban ecosystems from the visioning process to achieving economic security to fostering a sense of place.
City and Environment
Christopher G. Boone and Ali Modarres Temple University Press, 2006 Library of Congress HT241.B66 2006 | Dewey Decimal 307.76
For the first time in history, more than half the people of the world live in cities. Comprehending the impact of this widespread urbanization requires an awareness of the complex relationships between cities and natural ecosystems. This innovative book moves beyond the anti-urban lamentations that often dominate today's academic discourse to examine the evolution of cities and to illuminate the roles that humans play in shaping their environments, both natural and constructed. Christopher G. Boone and Ali Modarres argue that understanding the multiple forces of urbanization requires a holistic approach to the interactions of social, cultural, economic, political, and environmental factors. Without casting judgments, City and Environment seeks to engage readers in an exploration of cities from a truly global perspective. Throughout, it illuminates the social-ecological systems of cities not as an academic exercise—although informing academic audiences is one of its goals—but ultimately to help transform cities into livable and ecologically sustainable environments.
City, Country, Empire
Jeffry M Diefendorf University of Pittsburgh Press, 2005 Library of Congress GF13.C58 2005 | Dewey Decimal 304.2
In the urgently expanding field of environmental history, two trends are emerging. Research has internationalized, crossing political and historical borders. And urban spaces are increasingly seen as part of, not apart from, the global environment. In this book, Jeffry Diefendorf and Kurk Dorsey have gathered much of the important work pushing the field in new directions. Eleven essays by prominent and regionally diverse scholars address how human and natural forces collaborate in the creation of cities, the countryside, and empires.
The Cities section features essays that examine pollution and its aftermath in Pittsburgh, the Ruhr Valley (Germany), and Los Angeles. These urban areas are far apart on the globe but closely linked in their histories of how human decision making has affected the environment.
Changing rural and suburban spaces are the focus of Countryside. Elizabeth Blackmar "follows the money" in order to understand why the financing of suburban mall developments makes local resistance difficult. Studies of the fractious history of the creation of a wildlife refuge in Oregon and the ongoing impact of hydraulic mining in the early California goldmining era emphasize the misuse of technology in rural spaces.
Such misuse is a central idea of Empires. In "When Stalin Learned to Fish," Paul R. Josephson tells the story of Soviet fishing technology designed to "harness fish to the engine of socialism." Other essays explore the failures of Western agricultural technology in Africa and the relationship between such technology and disease in European attempts to conquer the Caribbean. In a stirring, wide-ranging consideration of the neo-European colonies (the United States, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand), Thomas R. Dunlap observes the ongoing, unsettled interaction of lands and dreams. An afterword by Alfred W. Crosby, an eminent scholar of environmental history, closes the book with a broad and insightful synthesis of the history and future of this critical field.
The weekly magazine Garden and Forest existed for only nine years (1888–1897). Yet, in that brief span, it brought to light many of the issues that would influence the future of American environmentalism. In The City Natural, Shen Hou presents the first “biography” of this important but largely overlooked vehicle for individuals with the common goal of preserving nature in American civilization.
As Hou’s study reveals, Garden and Forest was instrumental in redefining the fields of botany and horticulture, while also helping to shape the fledgling professions of landscape architecture and forestry. The publication actively called for reform in government policy, urban design, and future planning for the preservation and inclusion of nature in cities. It also attempted to shape public opinion on these issues through a democratic ideal that every citizen had the right (and need) to access nature. These notions would anticipate the conservation and “city beautiful” movements that followed in the early twentieth century.
Hou explains the social and environmental conditions that led to the rise of reform efforts, organizations, and publications such as Garden and Forest. She reveals the intellectual core and vision of the magazine as a proponent of the city natural movement that sought to relate nature and civilization through the arts and sciences. Garden and Forest was a staunch advocate of urban living made better through careful planning and design. As Hou shows, the publication also promoted forest management and preservation, not only as a natural resource but as an economic one. She also profiles the editors and contributors who set the magazine’s tone and follows their efforts to expand America’s environmental expertise.
Through the pages of Garden and Forest, the early period of environmentalism was especially fruitful and optimistic; many individuals joined forces for the benefit of humankind and helped lay the foundation for a coherent national movement. Shen Hou’s study gives Garden and Forest its due and adds an important new chapter to the early history of American environmentalism.
Known as the Windy City and the Hog Butcher to the World, Chicago has earned a more apt sobriquet—City of Lake and Prairie—with this compelling, innovative, and deeply researched environmental history. Sitting at the southwestern tip of Lake Michigan, one of the largest freshwater bodies in the world, and on the eastern edge of the tallgrass prairies that fill much of the North American interior, early residents in the land that Chicago now occupies enjoyed natural advantages, economic opportunities, and global connections over centuries, from the Native Americans who first inhabited the region to the urban dwellers who built a metropolis in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. As one millennium ended and a new one began, these same features sparked a distinctive Midwestern environmentalism aimed at preserving local ecosystems. Drawing on its contributors’ interdisciplinary talents, this volume reveals a rich but often troubled landscape shaped by communities of color, workers, and activists as well as complex human relations with industry, waterways, animals, and disease.
In A City on a Lake Matthew Vitz tracks the environmental and political history of Mexico City and explains its transformation from a forested, water-rich environment into a smog-infested megacity plagued by environmental problems and social inequality. Vitz shows how Mexico City's unequal urbanization and environmental decline stemmed from numerous scientific and social disputes over water policy, housing, forestry, and sanitary engineering. From the prerevolutionary efforts to create a hygienic city supportive of capitalist growth, through revolutionary demands for a more democratic distribution of resources, to the mid-twentieth-century emergence of a technocratic bureaucracy that served the interests of urban elites, Mexico City's environmental history helps us better understand how urban power has been exercised, reproduced, and challenged throughout Latin America.
It's time to think differently about cities and nature. Understanding how to better connect our cities with the benefits nature provides will be increasingly important as people migrate to cities and flourish in them. All this urban growth, along with challenges of adapting to climate change, will require a new approach to infrastructure if we're going to be successful. Yet guidance on how to plan and implement projects to protect or restore natural infrastructure is often hard to come by.
With Conservation for Cities, Robert McDonald offers a comprehensive framework for maintaining and strengthening the supporting bonds between cities and nature through innovative infrastructure projects. After presenting a broad approach to incorporating natural infrastructure priorities into urban planning, he focuses each following chapter on a specific ecosystem service. He describes a wide variety of benefits, and helps practitioners answer fundamental questions: What are the best ecosystem services to enhance in a particular city or neighborhood? How might planners best combine green and grey infrastructure to solve problems facing a city? What are the regulatory and policy tools that can help fund and implement projects? Finally, McDonald explains how to develop a cost-effective mix of grey and green infrastructure and offers targeted advice on quantifying the benefits.
Written by one of The Nature Conservancy's lead scientists on cities and natural infrastructure, Conservation for Cities is a book that ecologists, planners, and landscape architects will turn to again and again as they plan and implement a wide variety of projects.
Interdisciplinary in content as well as approach, this collection of original essays takes a fresh look at the ecology of urban communities. Written by experts from a variety of professions--academic researchers, private and public program managers, and citizen activists--the book explores issues of geography, ecology, landscape architecture, urban forestry, law, and environmental education. Contributions include broad overviews of common problems a well as detailed case studies of specific programs.
Although several contributors are natural scientists, the book focuses on matters of public policy and public-private collaboration. The aim is not only to assess the impact of increasing urbanization on biodiversity, but also to propose new ways of preserving and restoring the balance between the natural and the built environment through planning and design.
Current patterns of land use and development are at once socially, economically, and environmentally destructive. Sprawling low-density development literally devours natural landscapes while breeding a pervasive sense of social isolation and exacerbating a vast array of economic problems. As more and more counties begin to look more and more the same, hope for a different future may seem to be fading. But alternatives do exist.
The Ecology of Place, Timothy Beatley and Kristy Manning describe a world in which land is consumed sparingly, cities and towns are vibrant and green, local economies thrive, and citizens work together to create places of eduring value. They present a holistic and compelling approach to repairing and enhancing communities, introducing a vision of "sustainable places" that extends beyond traditional architecture and urban design to consider not just the physical layout of a development but the broad set of ways in which communities are organized and operate. Chapters examine:
the history and context of current land use problems, along with the concept of "sustainable places"
the ecology of place and ecological policies and actions
local and regional economic development
links between land-use and community planning and civic involvement
specific recommendations to help move toward sustainability
The authors address a variety of policy and development issues that affect a community -- from its economic base to its transit options to the ways in which its streets and public spaces are managed -- and examine the wide range of programs, policies, and creative ideas that can be used to turn the vision of sustainable places into reality.
The Ecology of Place is a timely resource for planners, economic development specialists, students, and citizen activists working toward establishing healthier and more sustainable patterns of growth and development.
Environmental Activism and the Urban Crisis focuses on the wave of environmental activism and grassroots movements that swept through America's older, industrial cities during the late 1960s and early 1970s. Robert Gioielli offers incisive case studies of Baltimore, St. Louis, and Chicago to show how urban activism developed as an impassioned response to a host of racial, social, and political conflicts. As deindustrialization, urban renewal, and suburbanization caused the decline of the urban environment, residents--primarily African Americans and working-class whites--organized to protect their families and communities from health threats and environmental destruction.
Gioielli examines various groups' activism in response to specific environmental problems caused by the urban crisis in each city. In doing so, he forms concrete connections between environmentalism, the African American freedom struggle, and various urban social movements such as highway protests in Baltimore and air pollution activism in Chicago. Eventually, the efforts of these activists paved the way for the emergence of a new movement-environmental justice.
Everyday Environmentalism develops a conversation between marxist theories of everyday life and recent work in urban political ecology, arguing for a philosophy of praxis in relation to the politics of urban environments. Grounding its theoretical debate in empirical studies of struggles to obtain water in the informal settlements of Durban, South Africa, as well as in the creative acts of insurgent art activists in London, Alex Loftus builds on the work of key marxist thinkers to redefine “environmental politics.”
A marxist philosophy of praxis—that world-changing ideas emerge from the acts of everyday people—undergirds the book. Our daily reality, writes Loftus, is woven out of the entanglements of social and natural relations, and as such a kind of environmental politics is automatically incorporated into our lives. Nevertheless, one effect of the public recognition of global environmental change, asserts Loftus, has been a resurgence of dualistic understandings of the world: for example, that nature is inflicting revenge on arrogant human societies.
This ambitious work reformulates—with the assistance of such philosophers as Lukács, Gramsci, Lefebvre, and others—a politics of the environment in which everyday subjectivity is at the heart of a revolutionary politics.
Hurricane Sandy was a fierce demonstration of the ecological vulnerability of New York, a city of islands. Yet the storm also revealed the resilience of a metropolis that has started during the past decade to reckon with its aqueous topography. In Fluid New York, May Joseph describes the many ways that New York, and New Yorkers, have begun to incorporate the city's archipelago ecology into plans for a livable and sustainable future. For instance, by cleaning its tidal marshes, the municipality has turned a previously dilapidated waterfront into a space for public leisure and rejuvenation.
Joseph considers New York's relation to the water that surrounds and defines it. Her reflections reach back to the city's heyday as a world-class port—a past embodied in a Dutch East India Company cannon recently unearthed from the rubble at the World Trade Center site—and they encompass the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy in 2012. They suggest that New York's future lies in the reclamation of its great water resources—for artistic creativity, civic engagement, and ecological sustainability.
In the twenty years since its original publication, The Ghosts of Berlin has become a classic, an unparalleled guide to understanding the presence of history in our built environment, especially in a space as historically contested—and emotionally fraught—as Berlin. Brian Ladd examines the ongoing conflicts radiating from the remarkable fusion of architecture, history, and national identity in Berlin. Returning to the city frequently, Ladd continues to survey the urban landscape, traversing its ruins, contemplating its buildings and memorials, and carefully deconstructing the public debates and political controversies emerging from its past.
In this compelling work, Brian Ladd examines the ongoing conflicts radiating from the remarkable fusion of architecture, history, and national identity in Berlin. Ladd surveys the urban landscape, excavating its ruins, contemplating its buildings and memorials, and carefully deconstructing the public debates and political controversies emerging from its past.
"Written in a clear and elegant style, The Ghosts of Berlin is not just another colorless architectural history of the German capital. . . . Mr. Ladd's book is a superb guide to this process of urban self-definition, both past and present."—Katharina Thote, Wall Street Journal
"If a book can have the power to change a public debate, then The Ghosts of Berlin is such a book. Among the many new books about Berlin that I have read, Brian Ladd's is certainly the most impressive. . . . Ladd's approach also owes its success to the fact that he is a good storyteller. His history of Berlin's architectural successes and failures reads entertainingly like a detective novel."—Peter Schneider, New Republic
"[Ladd's] well-written and well-illustrated book amounts to a brief history of the city as well as a guide to its landscape."—Anthony Grafton, New York Review of Books
In the absence of federal leadership, states and localities are stepping forward to address critical problems like climate change, urban sprawl, and polluted water and air. Making a city fundamentally sustainable is a daunting task, but fortunately, there are dynamic, innovative models outside U.S. borders. Green Cities of Europe draws on the world's best examples of sustainability to show how other cities can become greener and more livable.
Timothy Beatley has brought together leading experts from Paris, Freiburg, Copenhagen, Helsinki, Heidelberg, Venice, Vitoria-Gasteiz, and London to illustrate groundbreaking practices in sustainable urban planning and design. These cities are developing strong urban cores, building pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure, and improving public transit. They are incorporating ecological design and planning concepts, from solar energy to natural drainage and community gardens. And they are changing the way government works, instituting municipal "green audits" and reforming economic incentives to encourage sustainability.
Whatever their specific tactics, these communities prove that a holistic approach is needed to solve environmental problems and make cities sustainable. Beatley and these esteemed contributors offer vital lessons to the domestic planning community about not only what European cities are doing to achieve that vision, but precisely how they are doing it. The result is an indispensable guide to greening American cities.
Lucie Laurian (Paris)
Dale Medearis and Wulf Daseking (Freiburg)
Michaela Brüel (Copenhagen)
Maria Jaakkola (Helsinki)
Marta Moretti (Venice)
Luis Andrés Orive and Rebeca Dios Lema (Vitoria-Gasteiz)
As the need to confront unplanned growth increases, planners, policymakers, and citizens are scrambling for practical tools and examples of successful and workable approaches. Growth management initiatives are underway in the U.S. at all levels, but many American "success stories" provide only one piece of the puzzle. To find examples of a holistic approach to dealing with sprawl, one must turn to models outside of the United States.
In Green Urbanism, Timothy Beatley explains what planners and local officials in the United States can learn from the sustainable city movement in Europe. The book draws from the extensive European experience, examining the progress and policies of twenty-five of the most innovative cities in eleven European countries, which Beatley researched and observed in depth during a year-long stay in the Netherlands. Chapters examine:
the sustainable cities movement in Europe
examples and ideas of different housing and living options
transit systems and policies for promoting transit use, increasing bicycle use, and minimizing the role of the automobile
creative ways of incorporating greenness into cities
ways of readjusting "urban metabolism" so that waste flows become circular
programs to promote more sustainable forms of economic development
sustainable building and sustainable design measures and features
renewable energy initiatives and local efforts to promote solar energy
ways of greening the many decisions of local government including ecological budgeting, green accounting, and other city management tools.
Throughout, Beatley focuses on the key lessons from these cities -- including Vienna, Helsinki, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Zurich, Amsterdam, London, and Berlin -- and what their experience can teach us about effectively and creatively promoting sustainable development in the United States. Green Urbanism is the first full-length book to describe urban sustainability in European cities, and provides concrete examples and detailed discussions of innovative and practical sustainable planning ideas. It will be a useful reference and source of ideas for urban and regional planners, state and local officials, policymakers, students of planning and geography, and anyone concerned with how cities can become more livable.
Four-fifths of Americans now live in the nation's sprawling metropolitan areas, and half of the world's population is now classified as "urban." As cities become the dominant living evironment for humans, there is growing concern about how to make such places more habitable, more healthy and safe, more ecological, and more equitable—in short, more "humane."
This book explores the prospects for a more humane metropolis through a series of essays and case studies that consider why and how urban places can be made greener and more amenable. Its point of departure is the legacy of William H. Whyte (1917-1999), one of America's most admired urban thinkers. From his eyrie high above Manhattan in the offices of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Whyte laid the foundation for today's "smart growth" and "new urbanist" movements with books such as The Last Landscape (1968). His passion for improving the habitability of cities and suburbs is reflected in the diverse grassroots urban design and regreening strategies discussed in this volume.
Topics examined in this book include urban and regional greenspaces, urban ecological restoration, social equity, and green design. Some of the contributors are recognized academic experts, while others offer direct practical knowledge of particular problems and initiatives. The editor's introduction and epilogue set the individual chapters in a broader context and suggest how the strategies described, if widely replicated, may help create more humane urban environments.
In addition to Rutherford H. Platt, contributors to the volume include Carl Anthony, Thomas Balsley, Timothy Beatley, Eugenie L. Birch, Edward J. Blakely, Colin M. Cathcart, Steven E. Clemants, Christopher A. De Sousa, Steven N. Handel, Peter Harnik, Michael C. Houck, Jerold S. Kayden, Albert LaFarge, Andrew Light, Charles E. Little, Anne C. Lusk, Thalya Parilla, Deborah E. Popper, Frank J. Popper, Mary V. Rickel, Cynthia Rosenzweig, Robert L. Ryan, Laurin N. Sievert, Andrew G. Wiley-Schwartz, and Ann Louise Strong.
Included in the back of the book is a DVD of a 22-minute film created by Ted White, which serves as a companion to the text.
A selection of savvy observations on urban ecology from one of the Midwest's foremost authorities on the subject, Hunting for Frogs on Elston collects the best of naturalist Jerry Sullivan's weekly Field & Street columns, originally published in the Chicago Reader. Engaging, opinionated, inspiring, and occasionally irreverent, Hunting for Frogs on Elston pays tribute to Chicago's natural history while celebrating one of its greatest champions.
Published in association with the Chicago Wilderness coalition, Hunting for Frogs on Elston comprehensively chronicles Chicagoland's unique urban ecology, from its indigenous prairie and oft-delayed seasons to its urban coyotes and passenger pigeons. In witty, informed prose, Sullivan evokes his adventures netting dog-faced butterflies, hunting rattlesnakes, and watching fireflies mate. Inspired by regional flora and fauna, Sullivan ventures throughout the metropolis and its environs in search of sludge worms, gyrfalcons, and wild onions. In reporting his findings to otherwise oblivious urbanites, Sullivan endeavors to make "alienated, atomized, postmodern people feel at home, connected to something beyond ourselves."
In the sprawling Chicagoland region, where an urban ecosystem teeming with remarkable life evolves between skyscrapers and train tracks, no writer chronicled the delicate balance of nature and industry more vividly than Jerry Sullivan. An homage to the urban ecology Sullivan loved so dearly, Hunting for Frogs on Elston is his fitting legacy as well as a lasting gift to the urban naturalist in us all.
Most people equate Los Angeles with smog, sprawl, forty suburbs in search of a city-the great "what-not-to-do" of twentieth-century city building. But there's much more to LA's story than this shallow stereotype. History shows that Los Angeles was intensely, ubiquitously planned. The consequences of that planning-the environmental history of urbanism--is one place to turn for the more complex lessons LA has to offer.
Working forward from ancient times and ancient ecologies to the very recent past, Land of Sunshine is a fascinating exploration of the environmental history of greater Los Angeles. Rather than rehearsing a litany of errors or insults against nature, rather than decrying the lost opportunities of "roads not taken," these essays, by nineteen leading geologists, ecologists, and historians, instead consider the changing dynamics both of the city and of nature.
In the nineteenth century, for example, "density" was considered an evil, and reformers struggled mightily to move the working poor out to areas where better sanitation and flowers and parks "made life seem worth the living."
We now call that vision "sprawl," and we struggle just as much to bring middle-class people back into the core of American cities. There's nothing natural, or inevitable, about such turns of events. It's only by paying very close attention to the ways metropolitan nature has been constructed and construed that meaningful lessons can be drawn. History matters.
So here are the plants and animals of the Los Angeles basin, its rivers and watersheds. Here are the landscapes of fact and fantasy, the historical actors, events, and circumstances that have proved transformative over and over again. The result is a nuanced and rich portrait of Los Angeles that will serve planners, communities, and environmentalists as they look to the past for clues, if not blueprints, for enhancing the quality and viability of cities.
The development of the modern world has brought with it rampant light pollution, destroying the ancient mystery of night and exacting a terrible price--wasted energy, damage to human health, and the sometimes fatal interruption of the life patterns of many species of wildlife. In Let There Be Night, twenty-nine writers, scientists, poets, and scholars share their personal experiences of night and help us to understand what we miss when dark skies and nocturnal wildness vanish. They also propose ways by which we might restore the beneficence of true night skies to our cities and our culture. Let There Be Night is an engaging examination, both intimate and enlightening, of a precious aspect of the natural world. The diverse voices and perceptions gathered here provide a statement of hope that he ancient magic of night can be returned to our lives.
The future of our cities is not what it used to be. The modern-city model that took hold globally in the twentieth century has outlived its usefulness. It cannot solve the problems it helped to create—especially global warming. Fortunately, a new model for urban development is emerging in cities to aggressively tackle the realities of climate change. It transforms the way cities design and use physical space, generate economic wealth, consume and dispose of resources, exploit and sustain the natural ecosystems, and prepare for the future.
In Life After Carbon, urban sustainability consultants Pete Plastrik and John Cleveland assemble this global pattern of urban reinvention from the stories of 25 "innovation lab" cities across the globe—from Copenhagen to Melbourne. A city innovation lab is the entire city—the complex, messy, real urban world where innovations must work. It is a city in which government, business, and community leaders take to heart the challenge of climate change and converge on the radical changes that are necessary. They free downtowns from cars, turn buildings into renewable-energy power plants, re-nature entire neighborhoods, incubate growing numbers of clean-energy and smart-tech companies, convert waste to energy, and much more. Plastrik and Cleveland show that four transformational ideas are driving urban climate innovation around the world, in practice, not just in theory: carbon-free advantage, efficient abundance, nature's benefits, and adaptive futures. And these ideas are thriving in markets, professions, consumer trends, community movements, and "higher" levels of government that enable cities.
Life After Carbon presents the new ideas that are replacing the pillars of the modern-city model, converting climate disaster into urban opportunity, and shaping the next transformation of cities worldwide. It will inspire anyone who cares about the future of our cities, and help them to map a sustainable path forward.
For more than a century, urban North Africans have sought to protect and revive Andalusi music, a prestigious Arabic-language performance tradition said to originate in the “lost paradise” of medieval Islamic Spain. Yet despite the Andalusi repertoire’s enshrinement as the national classical music of postcolonial North Africa, its devotees continue to describe it as being in danger of disappearance. In The Lost Paradise, Jonathan Glasser explores the close connection between the paradox of patrimony and the questions of embodiment, genealogy, secrecy, and social class that have long been central to Andalusi musical practice.
Through a historical and ethnographic account of the Andalusi music of Algiers, Tlemcen, and their Algerian and Moroccan borderlands since the end of the nineteenth century, Glasser shows how anxiety about Andalusi music’s disappearance has emerged from within the practice itself and come to be central to its ethos. The result is a sophisticated examination of musical survival and transformation that is also a meditation on temporality, labor, colonialism and nationalism, and the relationship of the living to the dead.
One of the oldest metropolitan areas in North America, Montreal has evolved from a remote fur trading post in New France into an international center for services and technology. A city and an island located at the confluence of the Ottawa and St. Lawrence Rivers, it is uniquely situated to serve as an international port while also providing rail access to the Canadian interior. The historic capital of the Province of Canada, once Canada’s foremost metropolis, Montreal has a multifaceted cultural heritage drawn from European and North American influences. Thanks to its rich past, the city offers an ideal setting for the study of an evolving urban environment. Metropolitan Natures presents original histories of the diverse environments that constitue Montreal and it region. It explores the agricultural and industrial transformation of the metropolitan area, the interaction of city and hinterland, and the interplay of humans and nature. The fourteen chapters cover a wide range of issues, from landscape representations during the colonial era to urban encroachments on the Kahnawake Mohawk reservation on the south shore of the island, from the 1918–1920 Spanish flu epidemic and its ensuing human environmental modifications to the urban sprawl characteristic of North America during the postwar period.
Situations that politicize the environment are discussed as well, including the economic and class dynamics of flood relief, highways built to facilitate recreational access for the middle class, power-generating facilities that invade pristine rural areas, and the elitist environmental hegemony of fox hunting. Additional chapters examine human attempts to control the urban environment through street planning, waterway construction, water supply, and sewerage.
It’s easy to stand in awe of a city’s impressive skyline, marveling at its buildings reaching for the clouds and its vast network of roadways and train lines crisscrossing in every direction. It can often seem like everything in a city is man-made, all concrete, steel, and glass. But even the asphalt jungle is not all asphalt—a sidewalk’s cracks are filled with nature, if we know where and how to look. To aid us in this quest is Nature All Around Us, which will help us to recognize (and look after) the natural world we traipse through in our daily lives.
Nature All Around Us uses the familiar—such as summer Sundays humming with lawn mowers, gray squirrels foraging in planters, and flocks of pigeons—in order to introduce basic ecological concepts. In twenty-five short chapters organized by scale, from the home to the neighborhood to the city at large, it offers a subtle and entertaining education in ecology sure to inspire appreciation and ultimately stewardship of the environment. Various ecological concepts that any urban dweller might encounter are approachably examined, from understanding why a squirrel might act aggressively towards its neighbor to how nutrients and energy contained within a discarded apple core are recycled back into the food chain. Streaming through the work is an introduction to basic ecology, including the dangers of invasive species and the crucial role played by plants and trees in maintaining air quality.
Taken as a whole, Nature All Around Us is an unprecedented field guide to the ecology of the urban environment that invites us to look at our towns, cities, and even our backyards through the eyes of an ecologist. It is an entertaining, educational, and inspiring glimpse into nature in seemingly unnatural settings, a reminder that we don’t have to trek into the wild to see nature—we just have to open our eyes.
Cities are often thought to be separate from nature, but recent trends in ecocriticism demand that we consider them as part of the total environment. This new collection of essays sharpens the focus on the nature of cities by exploring the facets of an urban ecocriticism, by reminding city dwellers of their place in ecosystems, and by emphasizing the importance of this connection in understanding urban life and culture.
The editors—both raised in small towns but now living in major urban areas—are especially concerned with the sociopolitical construction of all environments, both natural and manmade. Following an opening interview with Andrew Ross exploring the general parameters of urban ecocriticism, they present essays that explore urban nature writing, city parks, urban "wilderness," ecofeminism and the city, and urban space. The volume includes contributions on topics as wide-ranging as the urban poetry of English writers from Donne to Gay, the manufactured wildness of a gambling casino, and the marketing of cosmetics to urban women by idealizing Third World "naturalness." These essays seek to reconceive nature and its cultural representations in ways that contribute to understanding the contemporary cityscape. They explore the theoretical issues that arise when one attempts to adopt and adapt an environmental perspective for analyzing urban life.
The Nature of Cities offers the ecological component often missing from cultural analyses of the city and the urban perspective often lacking in environmental approaches to contemporary culture. By bridging the historical gap between environmentalism, cultural studies, and urban experience, the book makes a statement of lasting importance to the development of the ecocritical movement.
In Nature’s Entrepôt, the contributors view the planning, expansion, and sustainability of the urban environment of Philadelphia from its inception to the present. The chapters explore the history of the city, its natural resources, and the early naturalists who would influence future environmental policy. They then follow Philadelphia’s growing struggles with disease, sanitation, pollution, sewerage, transportation, population growth and decline, and other byproducts of urban expansion. Later chapters examine efforts in the modern era to preserve animal populations, self-sustaining food supplies, functional landscapes and urban planning, and environmental activism.
Philadelphia’s place as an early seat of government and major American metropolis has been well documented by leading historians. Now, Nature’s Entrepôt looks particularly to the human impact on this unique urban environment, examining its long history of industrial and infrastructure development, policy changes, environmental consciousness, and sustainability efforts that would come to influence not just this region but also the nation.
The history of New York City’s urban development often centers on titanic municipal figures like Robert Moses and on prominent inner Manhattan sites like Central Park. New York Recentered boldly shifts the focus to the city’s geographic edges—the coastlines and waterways—and to the small-time unelected locals who quietly shaped the modern city. Kara Murphy Schlichting details how the vernacular planning done by small businessmen and real estate operators, performed independently of large scale governmental efforts, refigured marginal locales like Flushing Meadows and the shores of Long Island Sound and the East River in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The result is a synthesis of planning history, environmental history, and urban history that recasts the story of New York as we know it.
Pittsburgh has a rich history of social consciousness in calls for justice and equity. Today, the movement for more sustainable practices is rising in Pittsburgh. Against a backdrop of Marcellus shale gas development, initiatives emerge for a sustainable and resilient response to the climate change and pollution challenges of the twenty-first century. People, institutions, communities and corporations in Pittsburgh are leading the way to a more sustainable future.
Examining the experience of a single city, with all of its social and political complexities and long industrial history, allows a deeper understanding of the challenges and opportunities inherent in adapting to a changing world. Choices for more sustainable pathways for the future include transforming the energy system, restoring infertile ground, and preventing pollution through green chemistry production. Throughout the book, case studies responding to ethical challenges give specific examples of successful ways forward. Inspired by Rachel Carson’s voice of precaution in protecting the Earth, this is a book about empowerment and hope.
Practical Ecology for Planners, Developers, and Citizens introduces and explains key ecological concepts for planners, landscape architects, developers, and others involved in planning and building human habitats. The book is tailored to meet the needs of busy land use professionals and citizens seeking a concise yet thorough overview of ecology and its applications. It offers clear guidelines and a wealth of information on how we can protect species and ecosystems while at the same creating healthy, sustainable human communities.
Throughout the book, the authors make ecological concepts accessible to readers with little or no scientific background. They present key ideas and information in simple and pragmatic terms, and provide numerous graphics to help explain important concepts. They also offer exercises for the reader to practice ecologically-based planning and design, along with a list of resources for practical information on ecology and conservation.
Practical Ecology for Planners, Developers, and Citizens will raise the level of ecological understanding among land use professionals and citizens, and is an invaluable new resource for anyone concerned with human land use and its environmental impacts.
Carved out of century-old farmland near Chicago, the Prairie Crossing development is a novel experiment in urban public policy that preserves 69 percent of the land as open space. The for-profit project has set out to do nothing less than use access to nature as a means to challenge America's failed culture of suburban sprawl.
The first comprehensive look at an American conservation community, Prairie Crossing goes beyond windmills and nest boxes to examine an effort to connect adults to the land while creating a healthy and humane setting for raising a new generation attuned to nature. John Scott Watson places Prairie Crossing within the wider context of suburban planning, revealing how two first-time developers implemented a visionary new land ethic that saved green space by building on it. The remarkable achievements include a high rate of resident civic participation, the reestablishment of a thriving prairie ecosystem, the reintroduction of endangered and threatened species, and improved water and air quality. Yet, as Watson shows, considerations like economic uncertainty, lack of racial and class diversity, and politics have challenged, and continue to challenge, Prairie Crossing and its residents.
For most of the past century, urban America was dominated by top-down policies serving the white business and cultural elite, the suburbs, and the automobile. At times these approaches were fiercely challenged by reformers such as Jane Addams and Jane Jacobs. Yet by the 1980s, mainstream policies had resulted in a nation of ravaged central cities, sprawling suburbs, social and economic polarization, and incalculable environmental damage.
In the 1990s, this entrenched model finally yielded to change as local citizens, neighborhood groups, and other stakeholders, empowered by a spate of new laws and policies, began asserting their own needs and priorities. Though hampered by fiscal crises and internal disagreements, these popular initiatives launched what the author terms a new era of "humane urbanism" marked by a determination to make cities and suburbs greener, healthier, safer, more equitable, more efficient, and generally more people-friendly. In the process, the mayors, architects, engineers, and bureaucrats who had previously dominated urban policy found themselves relegated to supporting roles.
As Rutherford H. Platt points out, humane urbanism can take many forms, from affordable housing and networks of bike paths to refurbished waterfronts and urban farms. Often spontaneous, low-tech, and self-sustaining programs, their shared goal is to connect people to one another and to bring nature back into the city. Reclaiming American Cities examines both sides of this historic transformation: the long struggle against patricians and technocrats of earlier decades and the recent sprouting of grassroots efforts to make metropolitan America more humane and sustainable.
A major contribution to the nascent anthropology of urban environments, Reigning the River illuminates the complexities of river restoration in Kathmandu, Nepal’s capital and one of the fastest-growing cities in South Asia. In this rich ethnography, Anne M. Rademacher explores the ways that urban riverscape improvement involved multiple actors, each constructing ideals of restoration through contested histories and ideologies of belonging. She examines competing understandings of river restoration, particularly among bureaucrats in state and conservation-development agencies, cultural heritage activists, and advocates for the security of tens of thousands of rural-to-urban migrants settled along the exposed riverbed.
Rademacher conducted research during a volatile period in Nepal’s political history. As clashes between Maoist revolutionaries and the government intensified, the riverscape became a site of competing claims to a capital city that increasingly functioned as a last refuge from war-related violence. In this time of intense flux, efforts to ensure, create, or imagine ecological stability intersected with aspirations for political stability. Throughout her analysis, Rademacher emphasizes ecology as an important site of dislocation, entitlement, and cultural meaning.
Half of the world’s inhabitants now live in cities. In the next twenty years, the number of urban dwellers will swell to an estimated five billion people. With their inefficient transportation systems and poorly designed buildings, many cities—especially in the United States—consume enormous quantities of fossil fuels and emit high levels of greenhouse gases. But our planet is rapidly running out of the carbon-based fuels that have powered urban growth for centuries and we seem to be unable to curb our greenhouse gas emissions. Are the world’s cities headed for inevitable collapse?
The authors of this spirited book don’t believe that oblivion is necessarily the destiny of urban areas. Instead, they believe that intelligent planning and visionary leadership can help cities meet the impending crises, and look to existing initiatives in cities around the world. Rather than responding with fear (as a legion of doomsaying prognosticators have done), they choose hope. First, they confront the problems, describing where we stand today in our use of oil and our contribution to climate change. They then present four possible outcomes for cities: ”collapse,” “ruralized,” “divided,” and “resilient.” In response to their scenarios, they articulate how a new “sustainable urbanism” could replace today’s “carbon-consuming urbanism.” They address in detail how new transportation systems and buildings can be feasibly developed to replace our present low efficiency systems. In conclusion, they offer ten “strategic steps” that any city can take toward greater sustainability and resilience.
This is not a book filled with “blue sky” theory (although blue skies will be a welcome result of its recommendations). Rather, it is packed with practical ideas, some of which are already working in cities today. It frankly admits that our cities have problems that will worsen if they are not addressed, but it suggests that these problems are solvable. And the time to begin solving them is now.
What does it mean to be a resilient city in the age of a changing climate and growing inequity? As urban populations grow, how do we create efficient transportation systems, access to healthy green space, and lower-carbon buildings for all citizens?
Peter Newman, Timothy Beatley, and Heather Boyer respond to these questions in the revised and updated edition of Resilient Cities. Since the first edition was published in 2009, interest in resilience has surged, in part due to increasingly frequent and deadly natural disasters, and in part due to the contribution of our cities to climate change. The number of new initiatives and approaches from citizens and all levels of government show the promise as well as the challenges of creating cities that are truly resilient.
The authors’ hopeful approach to creating cities that are not only resilient, but striving to become regenerative, is now organized around their characteristics of a resilient city. A resilient city is one that uses renewable and distributed energy; has an efficient and regenerative metabolism; offers inclusive and healthy places; fosters biophilic and naturally adaptive systems; is invested in disaster preparedness; and is designed around efficient urban fabrics that allow for sustainable mobility.
Resilient Cities, Second Edition reveals how the resilient city characteristics have been achieved in communities around the globe. The authors offer stories, insights, and inspiration for urban planners, policymakers, and professionals interested in creating more sustainable, equitable, and, eventually, regenerative cities. Most importantly, the book is about overcoming fear and generating hope in our cities. Cities will need to claim a different future that helps us regenerate the whole planet–this is the challenge of resilient cities.
Seattle, often called the “Emerald City,” did not achieve its green, clean, and sustainable environment easily. This thriving ecotopia is the byproduct of continuing efforts by residents, businesses, and civic leaders alike. In Seattle and the Roots of Urban Sustainability, Jeffrey Craig Sanders examines the rise of environmental activism in Seattle amidst the “urban crisis” of the 1960s and its aftermath.
Like much activism during this period, the environmental movement began at the grassroots level—in local neighborhoods over local issues. Sanders links the rise of local environmentalism to larger movements for economic, racial, and gender equality and to a counterculture that changed the social and political landscape. He examines emblematic battles that erupted over the planned demolition of Pike Place Market, a local landmark, and environmental organizing in the Central District during the War on Poverty. Sanders also relates the story of Fort Lawton, a decommissioned army base, where Audubon Society members and Native American activists feuded over future land use.
The rise and popularity of environmental consciousness among Seattle’s residents came to influence everything from industry to politics, planning, and global environmental movements. Yet, as Sanders reveals, it was in the small, local struggles that urban environmental activism began.
Shock Cities is environmental history of the highest order. This searching work is the first trans-Atlantic study to examine the industrial city in holistic terms, looking at the transformation of its land, water, and air. Harold L. Platt demonstrates how the creation of industrial ecologies spurred the reorganization of urban areas into separate spheres, unhealthy slums in the center and garden estates in the suburbs. By comparing Chicago and Manchester, Platt also shows how the ruling classes managed the political creation of urban space to ensure financial gain—often to the environmental detriment of both regions.
Shock Cities also recasts the age of industry within a larger frame of nature. Frightening epidemics and unnatural "natural disasters" forced the city dwellers onto the path of environmental reform. Crusaders for social justice such as Chicago's Jane Addams and Manchester's Charles Rowley led class-bridging campaigns to clean up the slums. Women activists and other "municipal housekeepers" promoted regulations to reduce air pollution. Public health experts directed efforts to improve sanitation.
Out of these reform movements, the Progressives formulated new concepts of environmental conservation and regional planning. Comparing the two cities, Platt highlights the ways in which political culture and institutions act to turn social geography into physical shapes on the ground. This focus on the political formation of urban space helps illuminate questions of social and environmental justice. Shock Cities will be of enormous value to students of ecology, technology, urban planning, and public health in the Western world.
Winner of the 2020 Robert E. Park Award for Best Book from the Community and Urban Sociology Section of the American Sociological Association
From a dive bar in New Orleans to a leafy residential street in Minneapolis, many establishments and homes in cities across the nation share a troubling and largely invisible past: they were once sites of industrial manufacturers, such as plastics factories or machine shops, that likely left behind carcinogens and other hazardous industrial byproducts. In Sites Unseen, sociologists Scott Frickel and James Elliott uncover the hidden histories of these sites to show how they are regularly produced and reincorporated into urban landscapes with limited or no regulatory oversight. By revealing this legacy of our industrial past, Sites Unseen spotlights how city-making has become an ongoing process of social and environmental transformation and risk containment.
To demonstrate these dynamics, Frickel and Elliott investigate four very different cities—New Orleans, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, and Portland, Oregon. Using original data assembled and mapped for thousands of former manufacturers’ locations dating back to the 1950s, they find that more than 90 percent of such sites have now been converted to urban amenities such as parks, homes, and storefronts with almost no environmental review. And because manufacturers tend to open plants on new, non-industrial lots rather than on lots previously occupied by other manufacturers, associated hazards continue to spread relatively unabated. As they do, residential turnover driven by gentrification and the rising costs of urban living further obscure these sites from residents and regulatory agencies alike.
Frickel and Elliott show that these hidden processes have serious consequences for city-dwellers. While minority and working class neighborhoods are still more likely to attract hazardous manufacturers, rapid turnover in cities means that whites and middle-income groups also face increased risk. Since government agencies prioritize managing polluted sites that are highly visible or politically expedient, many former manufacturing sites that now have other uses remain invisible. To address these oversights, the authors advocate creating new municipal databases that identify previously undocumented manufacturing sites as potential environmental hazards. They also suggest that legislation limiting urban sprawl might reduce the flow of hazardous materials beyond certain boundaries.
A wide-ranging synthesis of urban and environmental scholarship, Sites Unseen shows that creating sustainable cities requires deep engagement with industrial history as well as with the social and regulatory processes that continue to remake urban areas through time.
A Volume in the American Sociological Association's Rose Series in Sociology.
Cities today are increasingly at the forefront of the environmental and social crisis—they are simultaneously a major cause and a potential solution. Across the world, a new wave of urban social movements is rising to fight against corporate control, social exclusion, hostile immigration policies, gender oppression, and ecological devastation. These movements are building economic, social, and political alternatives based on solidarity, equality, and participation. This anthology develops the debates that began at the recent Transnational Institute of Social Ecology’s (TRISE) conference about the dire need to rebuild the social and political realities of our world’s cities. It discusses the prospects of radical urban movements; examines the revolutionary potential of the concept of “the Right to the City,” and looks at how activists, scholars, and community movements can work together towards an ecological and democratic future. A fruitful conversation between theory and practice, this book opens new ground for rethinking systemic urban change in a way that challenges oppression and transforms how people work, create, and live together.
In 2006 Abu Dhabi launched an ambitious project to construct the world’s first zero-carbon city: Masdar City. In Spaceship in the Desert Gökçe Günel examines the development and construction of Masdar City's renewable energy and clean technology infrastructures, providing an illuminating portrait of an international group of engineers, designers, and students who attempted to build a post-oil future in Abu Dhabi. While many of Masdar's initiatives—such as developing a new energy currency and a driverless rapid transit network—have stalled or not met expectations, Günel analyzes how these initiatives contributed to rendering the future a thinly disguised version of the fossil-fueled present. Spaceship in the Desert tells the story of Masdar, at once a “utopia” sponsored by the Emirati government, and a well-resourced company involving different actors who participated in the project, each with their own agendas and desires.
The Spectator and the Topographical City examines Pittsburgh’s built environment as it relates to the city’s unique topography. Martin Aurand explores the conditions present in the natural landscape that led to the creation of architectural forms; man’s response to an unruly terrain of hills, hollows, and rivers. From its origins as a frontier fortification to its heyday of industrial expansion; through eras of City Beautiful planning and urban Renaissance to today’s vision of a green sustainable city; Pittsburgh has offered environmental and architectural experiences unlike any other place.
Aurand adopts the viewpoint of the spectator to study three of Pittsburgh’s “terrestrial rooms”: the downtown Golden Triangle; the Turtle Creek Valley with its industrial landscape; and Oakland, the cultural and university district. He examines the development of these areas and their significance to our perceptions of a singular American city, shaped to its topography.
A serious but often overlooked impact of the random, unplanned growth commonly known as sprawl is its effect on economic and racial polarization. Sprawl-fueled growth pushes people further apart geographically, politically, economically, and socially. Atlanta, Georgia, one of the fastest-growing areas in the country, offers a striking example of sprawl-induced stratification.Sprawl City uses a multi-disciplinary approach to analyze and critique the emerging crisis resulting from urban sprawl in the ten-county Atlanta metropolitan region. Local experts including sociologists, lawyers, urban planners, economists, educators, and health care professionals consider sprawl-related concerns as core environmental justice and civil rights issues.Contributors focus on institutional constraints that are embedded in urban sprawl, considering how government housing, education, and transportation policies have aided and in some cases subsidized separate but unequal economic development and segregated neighborhoods. They offer analysis of the causes and consequences of urban sprawl, and outline policy recommendations and an action agenda for coping with sprawl-related problems, both in Atlanta and around the country.Contributors are Natalie Brown, Robert D. Bullard, William W. Buzbee, James Chapman, Dennis Creech, Russell W. Irvine, Charles Jaret, Chad G. Johnson, Glenn S. Johnson, Kurt Phillips, Elizabeth P. Ruddiman, and Angel O. Torres.The book illuminates the rising class and racial divisions underlying uneven growth and development, and provides a timely source of information for anyone concerned with those issues, including the growing environmental justice movement as well as planners, policy analysts, public officials, community leaders, and students of public policy, geography, or planning.
"Sustainability" is more than the latest "green" buzzword. It represents a new way of viewing the interactions of human society and the natural world. Sustainability in America's Cities highlights how America's largest cities are acting to develop sustainable solutions to conflicts between development and environment.
As sustainability rises to the top of public policy agendas in American cities, it is also emerging as a new discipline in colleges and universities. Specifically designed for these educational programs, this is the first book to provide empirically based, multi-disciplinary case studies of sustainability policy, planning, and practice in action. It is also valuable for everyone who designs and implements sustainability initiatives, including policy makers, public sector and non-profit practitioners, and consultants.
Sustainability in America's Cities brings together academic and practicing professionals to offer firsthand insight into innovative strategies that cities have adopted in renewable energy and energy efficiency, climate change, green building, clean-tech and green jobs, transportation and infrastructure, urban forestry and sustainable food production. Case studies examine sustainability initiatives in a wide range of American cities, including San Francisco, Honolulu, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Milwaukee, New York City, Portland, Oregon and Washington D.C. The concluding chapter ties together the empirical evidence and recounts lessons learned for sustainability planning and policy.
The walk from my apartment in Greenwich Village to my studio in Tribeca takes about twenty minutes, depending upon the route and whether I stop for a coffee and the Times. Invariably, though, it begins with a trip down the stairs.
And so sets out architecture critic Michael Sorkin on his daily walk from his home in a Manhattan old-law-style tenement building. Sorkin has followed the same path for over fifteen years, a route that has allowed him to observe the startling transformations in New York during this period of great change. Twenty Minutes in Manhattan is his personal, anecdotal account of his casual encounters with the physical space and social dimensions of this unparalleled city.
From the social gathering place of the city stoop to Washington Square Park, Sorkin’s walk takes the reader on a wry, humorous journey past local characters, neighborhood stores and bodegas, landmark buildings, and overlooked streets. His perambulations offer him—and the reader—opportunities to not only engage with his surroundings but to consider a wide range of issues that fascinate Sorkin as an architect, urbanist, and New Yorker. Whether he is despairing at street garbage or marveling at elevator etiquette, Twenty Minutes in Manhattan offers a testing ground for his ideas of how the city can be newly imagined and designed, addressing such issues as the crisis of the environment, free expression and public space, historic preservation, and the future of the neighborhood as a concept.
Inspired by Sorkin’s close, attentive relationship to his beloved city, Twenty Minutes in Manhattan is in the end a valentine to the idea of the city that ultimately offers a practical set of solutions that are relevant to not only the preservation and improvement of New York but to urban environments everywhere.
The Boston Harbor Islands have been called Boston's "hidden shores." While some are ragged rocks teeming with coastal wildlife, such as oystercatchers and harbor seals, others resemble manicured parks or have the appearance of wooded hills rising gently out of the water. Largely ignored by historians and previously home to prisons, asylums, and sewage treatment plants, this surprisingly diverse ensemble of islands has existed quietly on the urban fringe over the last four centuries. Even their latest incarnation as a national park and recreational hub has emphasized their separation from, rather than their connection to, the city.
In this book, Pavla Šimková reinterprets the Boston Harbor Islands as an urban archipelago, arguing that they have been an integral part of Boston since colonial days, transformed by the city's changing values and catering to its current needs. Drawing on archival sources, historic maps and photographs, and diaries from island residents, this absorbing study attests that the harbor islands' story is central to understanding the ways in which Boston has both shaped and been shaped by its environment over time.
This trailblazing book outlines an interdisciplinary "process model" for urban design that has been developed and tested over time. Its goal is not to explain how to design a specific city precinct or public space, but to describe useful steps to approach the transformation of urban spaces. Urban Ecological Design illustrates the different stages in which the process is organized, using theories, techniques, images, and case studies. In essence, it presents a "how-to" method to transform the urban landscape that is thoroughly informed by theory and practice.
The authors note that urban design is viewed as an interface between different disciplines. They describe the field as "peacefully overrun, invaded, and occupied" by city planners, architects, engineers, and landscape architects (with developers and politicians frequently joining in). They suggest that environmental concerns demand the consideration of ecology and sustainability issues in urban design. It is, after all, the urban designer who helps to orchestrate human relationships with other living organisms in the built environment.
The overall objective of the book is to reinforce the role of the urban designer as an honest broker and promoter of design processes and as an active agent of social creativity in the production of the public realm.
In Urban Lowlands, Steven T. Moga looks closely at the Harlem Flats in New York City, Black Bottom in Nashville, Swede Hollow in Saint Paul, and the Flats in Los Angeles, to interrogate the connections between a city’s actual landscape and the poverty and social problems that are often concentrated at its literal lowest points. Taking an interdisciplinary perspective on the history of US urban development from the nineteenth to the mid-twentieth century, Moga reveals patterns of inequitable land use, economic dispossession, and social discrimination against immigrants and minorities. In attending to the landscapes of neighborhoods typically considered slums, Moga shows how physical and policy-driven containment has shaped the lives of the urban poor, while wealth and access to resources have been historically concentrated in elevated areas—truly “the heights.” Moga’s innovative framework expands our understanding of how planning and economic segregation alike have molded the American city.
More than half the world’s population currently lives in urban areas, and virtually all of the world’s population growth over the next three decades is expected to be in cities. What impact will this growth have on the environment? What can we do now to pave the way for resource longevity? Sustainability has received considerable attention in recent years, though conceptions of the term remain vague. Using a wide array of cities around the globe as case studies, this timely book explores the varying nature of global urban-environmental stresses and the complexities involved in defining sustainability policies. Working with six core themes, the editor examines the past, present, and future of urban sustainability within local, national, and global contexts.
“Cities are green” is becoming a common refrain. But Calthorpe argues that a more comprehensive understanding of urbanism at the regional scale provides a better platform to address climate change. In this groundbreaking new work, he shows how such regionally scaled urbanism can be combined with green technology to achieve not only needed reductions in carbon emissions but other critical economies and lifestyle benefits. Rather than just providing another checklist of new energy sources or one dimensional land use alternatives, he combines them into comprehensive national growth scenarios for 2050 and documents their potential impacts. In so doing he powerfully demonstrates that it will take an integrated approach of land use transformation, policy changes, and innovative technology to transition to a low carbon economy.
To accomplish this Calthorpe synthesizes thirty years of experience, starting with his ground breaking work in sustainable community design in the 1980s following through to his current leadership in transit-oriented design, regional planning, and land use policy. Peter Calthorpe shows us what is possible using real world examples of innovative design strategies and forward-thinking policies that are already changing the way we live.
This provocative and engaging work emerges from Calthorpe’s belief that, just as the last fifty years produced massive changes in our culture, economy and environment, the next fifty will generate changes of an even more profound nature. The book, enhanced by its superb four-color graphics, is a call to action and a road map for moving forward.
As long as humans have existed, they’ve worked and competed with plants to shape their surroundings. As cities developed and expanded, their diverse spaces were covered with and colored by weeds. In Weeds, Zachary J. S. Falck presents a comprehensive history of “happenstance plants” in American urban environments. Beginning in the late nineteenth century and continuing to the present, he examines the proliferation, perception, and treatment of weeds in metropolitan centers from Boston to Los Angeles.
In dynamic city ecosystems, population movements and economic cycles establish and transform habitats where vegetation continuously changes. Americans came to associate weeds with infectious diseases and allergies, illegal dumping, vagrants, drug dealers, and decreased property values. Local governments and citizens’ groups attempted to eliminate unwanted plants to better their urban environments and improve the health and safety of inhabitants. Over time, a growing understanding of the natural environment made “happenstance plants” more tolerable and even desirable.
In the twenty-first century, scientists have warned that the effects of global warming and the heat-trapping properties of cities are producing more robust strains of weeds. Falck shows that nature continues to flourish where humans have struggled: in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, in the abandoned homes of the California housing bust, and alongside crumbling infrastructure. Weeds are here to stay.