Atlas of Cities
The Atlas of Cities presents a unique taxonomy of cities that looks at different aspects of their physical, economic, social, and political structures; their interactions with each other and with their hinterlands; the challenges and opportunities they present; and where cities might be going in the future.
Edited by Paul Knox, with foreword by Richard Florida.
The Well-Tempered City
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.
Autonomous Vehicles & the Good City
Autonomous vehicles (AVs) have the potential to be either a boon or a burden to our cities. Walkable City author Jeff Speck lays out rules intended to ease the pain and increase the pleasure of the eventual AV proliferation.
Watch this talk on YouTube.
Once in a Great City
In Once in a Great City, David Maraniss shows that before the devastating riot, before the decades of civic corruption and neglect, and white flight; before people trotted out the grab bag of rust belt infirmities and competition from abroad to explain Detroit’s collapse, one could see the signs of a city’s ruin. Detroit at its peak was threatened by its own design. It was being abandoned by the new world economy and by the transfer of American prosperity to the information and service industries. In 1963, as Maraniss captures it with power and affection, Detroit summed up America’s path to prosperity and jazz that was already past history.
World-renown architect Bjarke Ingels shares his process and projects in this light and thoughtful TEDx talk.
Watch it on YouTube.
In Autonorama: The Illusory Promise of High-Tech Driving, technology historian Peter Norton argues that driverless cars cannot be the safe, sustainable, and inclusive “mobility solutions” that tech companies and automakers are promising us. The salesmanship behind the driverless future is distracting us from investing in better ways to get around that we can implement now. Unlike autonomous vehicles, these alternatives are inexpensive, safe, sustainable, and inclusive.
Public transit is a powerful tool for addressing a huge range of urban problems, including traffic congestion and economic development as well as climate change. But while many people support transit in the abstract, it’s often hard to channel that support into good transit investments. Part of the problem is that transit debates attract many kinds of experts, who often talk past each other. Ordinary people listen to a little of this and decide that transit is impossible to figure out. Jarrett Walker believes that transit can be simple, if we focus first on the underlying geometry that all transit technologies share. In Human Transit, Walker supplies the basic tools, the critical questions, and the means to make smarter decisions about designing and implementing transit services. Human Transit explains the fundamental geometry of transit that shapes successful systems; the process for fitting technology to a particular community; and the local choices that lead to transit-friendly development. Whether you are in the field or simply a concerned citizen, here is an accessible guide to achieving successful public transit that will enrich any community.
Curbed is an American real estate and urban design website founded as a blog by Lockhart Steele in 2006. The full website, founded in 2010, featured sub-pages dedicated to specific real estate markets and metropolitan areas across the United States.
No One At The Wheel
Sam Schwartz, America’s most celebrated transportation guru, describes in No One At The Wheel the revolution in self-driving cars. The ramifications will be dramatic, and the transition will be far from seamless. It will overturn the job market for the one in seven Americans who work in the trucking industry. It will cause us to grapple with new ethical dilemmas-if a car will hit a person or a building, endangering the lives of its passengers, who will decide what it does? It will further erode our privacy, since the vehicle can relay our location at any moment. And, like every other computer-controlled device, it can be vulnerable to hacking
Urbanism in a New Mobility Age
Urbanism in a New Mobility Age: Blurring the lines between architecture, public space, and movement. Samuel Shackelford’s thesis addresses the future possibilities of our cities with the introduction of autonomous and electric vehicles.
The Ideal City
The city is an always changing human experiment. But in the last half century, it has changed more than ever before – with little sign of slowing down. As this phenomenon takes place, an increasing number of architects, innovators and policy-makers are rethinking the city to make the most of space and resources. This book chronicles the design of urban futures. From apps designed to curb food waste to inventive fresh water infrastructure, The Ideal City explores the many initiatives and experiments, all with the shared goal of making the cities of tomorrow a happier, healthier and more inclusive place to be.
Produced by Bloomberg Philanthropies and The Aspen Institute, Bloomberg CityLab is the leading global summit for city leaders and cross-sector urban thinkers, experts, and artists to connect with each other and to create and share scalable solutions for cities’ most pressing challenges.
Urbanized is a feature-length documentary about the design of cities, which looks at the issues and strategies behind urban design and features some of the world’s foremost architects, planners, policymakers, builders, and thinkers.
City Beautiful is a YouTube channel dedicated to educating everyone about cities and city planning, particularly transportation, land use planning, and urban design.
Over the past ten years, urban planners, technology companies, and governments have promoted smart cities with a somewhat utopian vision of urban life made knowable and manageable through data collection and analysis. Emerging smart cities have become both crucibles and showrooms for the practical application of the Internet of Things, cloud computing, and the integration of big data into everyday life. Are smart cities optimized, sustainable, digitally networked solutions to urban problems? Or are they neoliberal, corporate-controlled, undemocratic non-places? Smart Cities offers a concise introduction to smart cities, presenting key concepts, definitions, examples, and historical contexts, along with discussions of both the drawbacks and the benefits of this approach to urban life.
Streetfight: Handbook for an Urban Revolution
As New York City’s transportation commissioner, Janette Sadik-Khan managed the seemingly impossible and transformed the streets of one of the world’s greatest, toughest cities into dynamic spaces safe for pedestrians and bikers. Her approach was dramatic and effective: Simply painting a part of the street to make it into a plaza or bus lane not only made the street safer, but it also lessened congestion and increased foot traffic, which improved the bottom line of businesses. Real-life experience confirmed that if you know how to read the street, you can make it function better by not totally reconstructing it but by reallocating the space that’s already there.
Breaking the street into its component parts, Streetfight demonstrates, with step-by-step visuals, how to rewrite the underlying “source code” of a street, with pointers on how to add protected bike paths, improve crosswalk space, and provide visual cues to reduce speeding. Achieving such a radical overhaul wasn’t easy, and Streetfight pulls back the curtain on the battles Sadik-Khan won to make her approach work. She includes examples of how this new way to read the streets has already made its way around the world, from pocket parks in Mexico City and Los Angeles to more pedestrian-friendly streets in Auckland and Buenos Aires, and innovative bike-lane designs and plazas in Austin, Indianapolis, and San Francisco. Many are inspired by the changes taking place in New York City and are based on the same techniques. Streetfight deconstructs, reassembles, and reinvents the street, inviting readers to see it in ways they never imagined.