Written by one of this country’s foremost urban historians, Downtown is the first history of what was once viewed as the heart of the American city. It tells the fascinating story of how downtown—and the way Americans thought about downtown—changed over time. By showing how businessmen and property owners worked to promote the well-being of downtown, even at the expense of other parts of the city, it also gives a riveting account of spatial politics in urban America.
Drawing on a wide array of contemporary sources, Robert M. Fogelson brings downtown to life, first as the business district, then as the central business district, and finally as just another business district. His book vividly recreates the long-forgotten battles over subways and skyscrapers in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. And it provides a fresh, often startling perspective on elevated highways, parking bans, urban redevelopment, and other controversial issues. This groundbreaking book will be a revelation to scholars, city planners, policymakers, and general readers interested in American cities and American history.
The Street Project is the story about humanity’s relationship to the streets and the global citizen-led fight to make communities safer.
Digging deep into the root causes of traffic violence, the filmmakers engage a diverse array of experts including street historian Peter Norton, city planner Jeff Speck, and urban design expert Mikael Colville-Andersen. These expert interviews are interwoven with the stories of real people working to make their communities safer.
Directed by Jennifer Boyd.
In The Well-Tempered City, Jonathan F. P. Rose—the man who “repairs the fabric of cities”—distills a lifetime of interdisciplinary research and firsthand experience into a five-pronged model for how to design and reshape our cities with the goal of equalizing their landscape of opportunity. Drawing from the musical concept of “temperament” as a way to achieve harmony, Rose argues that well-tempered cities can be infused with systems that bend the arc of their development toward equality, resilience, adaptability, well-being, and the ever-unfolding harmony between civilization and nature. These goals may never be fully achieved, but our cities will be richer and happier if we aspire to them, and if we infuse our every plan and constructive step with this intention.
In Icebergs, Zombies, and the Ultra Thin, Matthew Soules issues an indictment of how finance capitalism dramatically alters not only architectural forms but also the very nature of our cities and societies. We rarely consider architecture to be an important factor in contemporary economic and political debates, yet sparsely occupied ultra-thin “pencil towers” develop in our cities, functioning as speculative wealth storage for the superrich, and cavernous “iceberg” homes extend architectural assets many stories below street level. Meanwhile, communities around the globe are blighted by zombie and ghost urbanism, marked by unoccupied neighborhoods and abandoned housing developments.
Discover how local government and business leaders are working together to improve services in underserved neighborhoods, to add affordable housing, and to strengthen education, workforce, and financial outcomes for all – and how these efforts are paying off in terms of economic growth for the region. Building Equitable Cities covers best practices and proven policies, providing readers with replicable tools, techniques, and processes.
By Henry Cisneros, Janis Bowdler, Jeffrey Lubell.
The Providence Streets Coalition is an alliance of community organizations, local businesses, schools, institutions, civic leaders, and engaged individuals advocating for people-friendly streets in Providence. We support providing more transportation options to improve safety, equity, sustainability, prosperity, health, and quality-of-life in our city and region.
The health impacts of environmental noise are a growing concern among both the general public and policy-makers in Europe. Burden of disease from environmental noise is a publication prepared by experts in working groups convened by the WHO Regional Office for Europe to provide technical support to policy-makers and their advisers in the quantitative risk assessment of environmental noise, using evidence and data available in Europe.
Bringing together a diverse team of leading scholars and professionals, Fair Shared Cities offers a variety of insights into ongoing gender mainstreaming policies in Europe with a focus on urban/spatial planning.
By Inés Sánchez de Madariaga and Marion Roberts.
Hebert Gans’ study of Italian Americans in Boston’s West End is one of the classics of contemporary sociology.
Providing a first-hand account of life in an inner city of contemporary sociology, Urban Villagers is a systematic and sensitive analysis of working-class culture and of the politicians, planners, and other outside professionals who affected it.
The epic rivalry of Jacobs and Moses, played out amid the struggle for the soul of a city, is one of the most dramatic and consequential in modern American history. In Wrestling With Moses, acclaimed reporter and urban planning policy expert Anthony Flint recounts this thrilling David-and-Goliath story, the legacy of which echoes through our society today.
Segregation by Design is a personal project of Adam Paul Susaneck, an NYC-based architect.
Using historic aerial photography, this ongoing project aims to document the destruction of communities of color due to red-lining, “urban renewal,” and freeway construction. Through a series of stark aerial before-and-after comparisons, figure-ground diagrams, and demographic data, this project will reveal the extent to which the American city was methodically hollowed out based on race. The project will cover the roughly 180 municipalities which received federal funding from the 1956 Federal Highway Act, which created the interstate highway system.
Part cultural meander, part memoir, Flâneuse takes us on a distinctly cosmopolitan jaunt that begins in New York, where Elkin grew up, and transports us to Paris via Venice, Tokyo, and London, all cities in which she’s lived. We are shown the paths beaten by such flâneuses as the cross-dressing nineteenth-century novelist George Sand, the Parisian artist Sophie Calle, the wartime correspondent Martha Gellhorn, and the writer Jean Rhys. With tenacity and insight, Elkin creates a mosaic of what urban settings have meant to women, charting through literature, art, history, and film the sometimes exhilarating, sometimes fraught relationship that women have with the metropolis.
It began as a housing marvel. Two decades later, it ended in rubble. But what happened to those caught in between?
The Pruitt-Igoe Myth tells the story of the transformation of the American city in the decades after World War II, through the lens of the infamous Pruitt-Igoe housing development and the St. Louis residents who called it home.
Directed by Chad Freidrichs.
Public Produce makes a uniquely contemporary case not for central government intervention, but for local government involvement in shaping food policy. In what Darrin Nordahl calls “municipal agriculture,” elected officials, municipal planners, local policymakers, and public space designers are turning to the abundance of land under public control (parks, plazas, streets, city squares, parking lots, as well as the grounds around libraries, schools, government offices, and even jails) to grow food.
The rebuilding of ground zero is one of the most architecturally, politically, and emotionally complex urban renewal projects in American history. From the beginning, the effort has been fraught with controversy, delays and politics. The struggle has encompassed eleven years, nineteen government agencies, a dozen projects and over $20 billion.
Aside from the staggering engineering challenges of the site itself, a major complicating factor in the rebuilding of the World Trade Center is the sheer number of interested parties. Politicians, developers, architects, insurance companies, local residents, and relatives of 9/11 victims all profess a claim to the site and are often in conflict with one another. According to The New York Times, “Where some saw lucrative real estate, others saw a graveyard. Where some saw Rockefeller Center or Lincoln Center or Grand Central Terminal, others saw Gettysburg.”
What was once ground zero is now a frenzied construction site. Three thousand workers are building four of the tallest skyscrapers in America, an iconic – and complicated – train station, a performing arts center and a sacred memorial and museum. What will emerge in downtown Manhattan over the next few years will redefine the city – and the country – for generations.
16 Acres is the story of how and why this historic project got built. At the heart of the story is the dramatic tension between noblest intentions, the desire of everyone involved to “get it right,” and the politics, hubris, ego and ideology that is the bedrock of New York City. What does it say about us as New Yorkers, as Americans?
As with all great urban projects, from the Pyramids to Rome’s Colosseum to Rockefeller Center, a small group of powerful people will dictate the outcome. With inside access to the project and these key players, 16 Acres tells the story behind the headlines. Who are these men and women? What motivates them? How will their personalities shape the project? And, ultimately, will it succeed? The film also follows the dramatic rush to complete the memorial in time, and the key players as they prepare to converge on the site for the10th anniversary.
Produced by Richard Hankin.
Originally the birthplace of the middle class, Detroit is now on the brink of complete collapse. Loosing over 25% of it’s population and 50% of its manufacturing jobs over the past decade, Detroit is now in a state of emergency. Racial tension, globalization, lack of innovation, and corporate greed has led to a moment of truth for Detroit.
DETROPIA is a cinematic tapestry featuring the lives of several citizens trying to survive the D and make sense of what is happening to their city.
Produced by Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady.
Ten years ago, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and the disaster that followed, promises were made, forgotten, and renewed. What would become of New Orleans in the years ahead? How would this city and its people recover—and what meaning would its story have, for America and the world?
In Why New Orleans Matters, first published only months after the disaster, award-winning author and longtime New Orleans resident Tom Piazza illuminates the storied culture and still-evolving future of this great and vital American metropolis. Piazza evokes the sensuous textures of the city that gave us jazz music, Creole cooking, and a unique style of living; he examines the city’s undercurrents of corruption and racism, and explains how its people endure and transcend them. And, perhaps most important, he bears witness to the city’s spirit: its grace and beauty, resilience and soul.
In Trains, Buses, People, Second Edition: An Opinionated Atlas of US and Canadian Transit, transit expert and “transportation hero” Christof Spieler provides a new section on inclusivity to help agencies understand how to welcome riders regardless of race, gender, income, or disability.