Book Reviews

  • Garbage Land – Book Review

    Garbage Land, by Elizabeth Royte, is billed as a book about "the secret trail of trash". The author follows her waste streams from her Brooklyn home to their various destinations across the Northeast. This includes ride alongs with "san men", visits to metal scrappers, discussions with composters, tours of MRF plants (materials recovery facility), water treatment plants, and the Fresh Kills landfill.

  • The Wealth of Cities by John Norquist – Book Review

    Milwaukee's former Mayor, John Norquist, in his book The Wealth of Cities writes up the impacts of U.S. policies on our cities, lays out his foundational beliefs that today form a key plank of the New Urbanism movement, and shares his insight into how he believes cities should be governed.

  • The Great Good Place by Ray Oldenburg – Book Review

    The Great Good Place, by Ray Oldenburg, discusses a part of community life that is fading in the U.S.

  • The Great Reset by Richard Florida – Book Review

    Richard Florida, author of The Rise of the Creative Class, takes a broad look at the current economic crisis in his latest book.

  • The High Cost of Free Parking – Book Review

    The High Cost of Free Parking makes the American Planning Association’s 100 Essential Books of Planning, and for good reason. Not because it is a particularly easy read, but because it will challenge the way you think about parking, that is assuming you think about parking.

  • Carjacked – The Culture of the Automobile – Book Review

    Carjacked, The Culture of the Automobile and Its Effects On Our Lives, explores the love, lust, and reality of America's car culture. The authors, Catherine Lutz and Anne Lutz Fernandez, have a refreshing and realistic take on America's car obsession and its broad implications. From a teenager's first car to an adult's quest for the best car on the road, Carjacked has stories from across the country about the lengths people go to to get that coveted automobile. The latter half of the book extensively (but impressively briskly) explores the physiological, economical, and sociological effects of American car culture.

  • City Comforts – How to Build an Urban Village – Book Review

    “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...

  • Traffic

    Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us) – Book Review

    Tom Vanderbilt's in-depth, fact filled, and thought provoking "Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us)" dives into how factors, such as human nature, the automobile, and the built environment impact how we drive.

  • Book Review

    Green Metropolis

    Author David Owen, makes a strong argument, and one that flies in the face of many activities and technologies that are traditionally labeled as 'green'. Instead he argues that truly living green, is living dense.

  • Book Review

    Pedaling Revolution

    Jeff Mapes, author of “Pedaling Revolution: How Cyclists Are Changing American Cities,” provides an in-depth history of cycling, and looks at how cycling is changing U.S. cities for the better. Although in the U.S. cycling has long been viewed as a recreational activity, he appropriately ties together the rise of urban biking with urban planning in a story that needed to be told.

  • The Plan of Chicago – Book Review

    The Plan of Chicago is a quick and easy read that's perhaps best described as a launchpad. Carl Smith breaks down key aspects of Burnham's plan in his book and details how they came to be, who influenced them, and how they turned out. For someone who hasn't actually read the actual plan (not required or expected for reading this book), author Carl Smith uses just the right amount of detail to illustrate the concepts.

  • Have a Happy Urbanist Black Friday!

    Black Friday is just around the corner, and we want in with the Wal-Mart's and Best Buy's of the world. No we're not opening a big box store at Pabst Farms, but we are unveiling a new feature on the site. If you're one of those inquisitive types that likes to read books (or even someone that just likes to own books to look smart), please consider buying a book from our list of recommended urbanist books.