Dave Reid
Book Review

City Comforts – How to Build an Urban Village

By - Jul 22nd, 2010 04:58 pm
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City Comforts by David Sucher

City Comforts by David Sucher

“City Comforts – How to Build an Urban Village” by David Sucher is almost a CliffsNotes on the topic of urban planning.  While much of planning is about the big things or big projects, “this book shows examples of small things –city comforts– that make urban life pleasant: places where people can meet; methods to tame cars and to make buildings good neighbors; art that infuses personality into locations and makes them into places.”  To emphasis these ‘city comforts’ the book extensively uses photography to illustrate a design element, such as a photo of a curb as an example of the importance that curbs ramps play in allowing a parent to easily push a stroller on to the sidewalk.  It’s about how these little things make a great city.

On top of the small things that make cities comfortable, David Sucher also lays out his “Three Rules of Urban Design.”

  1. Build to the Sidewalk
  2. Make the Building Front “Permeable”
  3. Prohibit Parking Lots in Front of the Building

These rules are well understood by all urbanists, as they are key to building a walkable urban environment.  Buildings that are built to the sidewalk create the ‘streetwall’ that defines an urban environment, it creates place.  Making building fronts ‘permeable,’ is simply about connecting the interior to the exterior which makes walking more comfortable and appealing to pedestrians.  Finally, prohibiting parking lots in front of building insures pedestrians of a more enjoyable experience, as parking lots create gaps, encourages litter and crime, and causes a feeling of uneasiness for the pedestrian.

This is a great, easy read, that gives great examples on how to build a better urban built environment.

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Categories: Book Reviews

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