THE NEW TRANSIT TOWN  by Hank Ditmar & Gloria Ohland

Best Practices in Transit-Oriented Development.  "Transit-oriented development (TOD) seeks to maximize access to mass transit and nonmotorized transportation with centrally located rail or bus stations surrounded by relatively high-density commercial and residential development. New Urbanists and smart growth proponents have embraced the concept and interest in TOD is growing, both in the United States and around the world.

The New Transit Town
brings together leading experts in planning, transportation, and sustainable design -- including Scott Bernstein, Peter Calthorpe, Jim Daisa, Sharon Feigon, Ellen Greenberg, David Hoyt, Dennis Leach, and Shelley Poticha -- to examine the first generation of TOD projects and derive lessons for the next generation. It offers topic chapters that provide detailed discussion of key issues along with case studies that present an in-depth look at specific projects."
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"A gold mine for those concerned with urban design, sustainable transportation, and the role that transit can play in making our cities livable.  An insightful analysis, documented by well-chosen case studies of international transit success stories - a must read for anyone who wishes to understand what it takes to make transit work in the modern auto-dominated era.  A fascinating and most readable book." 

Noted transportation expert Robert Cervero provides an on-the-ground look at more than a dozen mass transit success stories, introducing the concept of the "transit metropolis" - a region where a workable fit exists between transit services and urban form.  The author has spent more than three years studying cities around the world, and he makes a compelling case that metropolitan areas of any size and with any growth pattern - from highly compact to widely dispersed - can develop successful mass transit systems.  Purchase book

PLACEMAKING  by Charles C. Bohl

Developing Town Centers, Main Streets, and Urban Villages. The definitive guide to place making for town centers and walkable mixed-use development. The planning, design and development of town centers and urban villages with mixed uses in pedestrian-friendly settings is an essential, timeless foundation of communities that are livable, sustainable, enduring places.

This book will help navigate through the unique design and development issues and reveal how to make all elements work together in contemporary development and revitalization of main streets, town centers and urban villages.  Purchase book

PEDESTRIAN- AND TRANSIT ORIENTED DESIGN  by Reid Ewing and Keith Bartholomew

Explaining how to design spaces for pedestrians while also accommodating transit needs, this book is an excellent reference for students, public sector planners and officials, and private sector designers and developers seeking to make places more pedestrian- and transit-friendly. Written by a noted expert on pedestrian design and planning, this handbook contains examples of zoning codes from different localities.

Pedestrian- and Transit-Oriented Design provides practitioners with a road map for building truly world-class cities. Reid Ewing and Keith Bartholomew have brought together research from across the field of urban design to give readers proven tools for creating healthier, stronger communities that will thrive in the 21st century.
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"For more than forty years Jan Gehl has helped to transform urban environments around the world based on his research into the ways people actually use—or could use—the spaces where they live and work. In this revolutionary book, Gehl presents his latest work creating (or recreating) cityscapes on a human scale. He clearly explains the methods and tools he uses to reconfigure unworkable cityscapes into the landscapes he believes they should be: cities for people.

Taking into account changing demographics and changing lifestyles, Gehl emphasizes four human issues that he sees as essential to successful city planning. He explains how to develop cities that are Lively, Safe, Sustainable, and Healthy. Focusing on these issues leads Gehl to think of even the largest city on a very small scale. For Gehl, the urban landscape must be considered through the five human senses and experienced at the speed of walking rather than at the speed of riding in a car or bus or train. This small-scale view, he argues, is too frequently neglected in contemporary projects.

In a final chapter, Gehl makes a plea for city planning on a human scale in the fast- growing cities of developing countries. A “Toolbox,” presenting key principles, overviews of methods, and keyword lists, concludes the book. The book is extensively illustrated with over 700 photos and drawings of examples from Gehl’s work around the globe
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RETROFITTING SUBURBIA  by Ellen Dunham-Jones & June Williamson

This book is a comprehensive guide book for urban designers, planners, architects, developers, environmentalists, and community leaders that illustrates how existing suburban developments can be redesigned into more urban and more sustainable places.

While there has been considerable attention by practitioners and academics to development in urban cores and new neighborhoods on the periphery of cities, there has been little attention to the redesign and redevelopment of existing suburbs. The authors, both architects and noted experts on the subject, show how development in existing suburbs can absorb new growth and evolve in relation to changed demographic, technological, and economic conditions. Retrofitting Suburbia was named winner in the Architecture & Urban Planning category of the 2009 American Publishers Awards for Professional and Scholarly Excellence
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VISUALIZING DENSITY  by Julie Campoli and Alex MacLean

This vivid and visual book is one of the essential guides to understanding the concept of density. It provides aerial photos and street pattern maps for the entire range of housing density in America – from 0.2 units per acre in Beverly Hills to nearly 300 units per acre in New York City.

Visualizing Density includes an illustrated manual on planning and designing for “good” density, and a catalog of more than 250 diverse neighborhoods across the country, noting density in housing units per acre for each site. Four photographs of each location are included—close-up, context, neighborhood, and plan views—to provide an impartial and comparative view of the many ways to design neighborhoods.

Consumer demand for more walkable, mixed-use, and concentrated neighborhoods is already on the rise among some demographic groups—the 70 million retiring baby boomers, for example, and young professionals seeking transit-oriented development for shorter commutes. But for others, density continues to have negative connotations. In many established urban neighborhoods, concerns about traffic congestion and parking, and strains on infrastructure, schools, and parks have led to resistance to more concentrated settlement patterns.

Many people have difficulty estimating density from visual cues or distinguishing quantitative (measured) and qualitative (perceived) density. We tend to overestimate the density of monotonous, amenity-poor developments and underestimate the density of well-designed, attractive projects, thereby reinforcing the negative stereotypes. A primary objective of this work is to correct these misperceptions
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WALKABLE CITY  by Jeff Speck

"Timely and important, a delightful, insightful, irreverent work . . . Should be required reading." --The Christian Science Monitor

A Best Book of the Year according to Planetizen and the American Society of Landscape Architects

Jeff Speck has dedicated his career to determining what makes cities thrive. And he has boiled it down to one key factor: walkability.
Making downtown into a walkable, viable community is the essential fix for the typical American city; it is eminently achievable and its benefits are manifold.

able City--bursting with sharp observations and key insights into how urban change happens--lays out a practical, necessary, and inspiring vision for how to make American cities great again.
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GREAT STREETS  by Allan Jacobs

Which are the world's best streets, and what are the physical, designable characteristics that make them great? To answer these questions, Allan Jacobs has surveyed street users and design professionals and has studied a wide array of street types and urban spaces around the world. With more than 200 illustrations, all prepared by the author, along with analysis and statistics, Great Streets offers a wealth of information on street dimensions, plans, sections, and patterns of use, all systematically compared. It also reveals Jacobs's eye for the telling human and social details that bring streets and communities to life.

An extensive introduction discusses the importance of streets in creating communities and criteria for identifying the best streets. The essays that follow examine 15 particularly fine streets, ranging from medieval streets in Rome and Copenhagen to Venice's Grand Canal, from Parisian boulevards to tree-lined residential streets in American cities. Jacobs also looks at several streets that were once very fine but are less successful today, such as Market Street in San Francisco, identifying the factors that figure in their decline.
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THE NEW CIVIC ART  by Andres Duany, Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, and Robert Alminana

Elements of Town Planning. New Civic Art is simply the best reference book available on the art and science of urban planning. Its encyclopedic nature provides an invaluable reference for those practicing in the field or those simply interested in the underlying principles and their application to communities and cities across the country.

While providing minimal "textbook" style narrative, the book is arranged in a series of 2,000+ plans, drawings, and photos illustrating the core theories of new urbanism and its historical predecessors. Each entry is accompanied by a concise description and context upon which to view the example.  
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REDESIGNING CITIES  by Jonathan Barnett

Principles, Practice, Implementation.  An excellent new book from a leading urban design thinker.  "Jonathan Barnett points the way for us to make our urban areas more livable, attractive, and economically competitive.  He captures the lessons we've learned about livable communities, describes the tools and techniques that work, and points us toward the creation of tomorrow's success stories. 

Redesigning Cities is a great read for transportation and urban planners, and anyone else interested in understanding the relationship between urban design, land use, and transportation.  Barnett does an excellent job of explaining lessons learned - what to avoid from the past, and what we need to do to get it right in the future.  This highlights the importance of urban design to the shaping of cities, and provides practical solutions to the problems of poor design, poverty, and sprawl."
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SUBURBAN NATION  by Andres Duany, Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, & Jeff Speck

This book sets forth more clearly than anyone has done in our time the elements of good town planning. A lively lament about the failures of postwar planning, this is also that rare book that offers solutions - an essential handbook.

Like "an architectural version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, our main streets and neighborhoods have been replaced by alien substitutes, similar but not the same," state Duany, Plater-Zyberk and Speck in this bold and damning critique. The authors, who lead a firm that has designed more than 200 new neighborhoods and community revitalization plans, challenge nearly half a century of widely accepted planning and building practices that have produced sprawling subdivisions, shopping centers and office parks connected by new highways.

These practices, they contend, have not only destroyed the traditional concept of the neighborhood, but eroded such vital social values as equality, citizenship and personal safety. Further, they charge that current suburban developments are not only economically and environmentally "unsustainable," but "not functional" because they isolate and place undue burdens on at-home mothers, children, teens and the elderly.

Adapting the precepts that famed urbanologist Jane Jacobs used to critique unhealthy city planning, Duany, Plater-Zyberk and Speck call for a revolution in suburban design that emphasizes neighborhoods in which homes, schools, commercial and municipal buildings would be integrated in pedestrian-accessible, safe and friendly settings
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"This is a guide to the new wave of 'transit villages', communities that hug metropolitan rail systems in order to reduce 'gridlock' and expedite growth.  It shows how this new approach to urban development encourages community development, and includes case studies of successful transit villages.  Now you can see first-hand how such goundbreaking transit villages as Mission Valley station in San Diego and Ballston Station in northern Virginia are setting a new standard in urban development.

This book shows how to design efficient, environmentally friendly transit communities that hug metropolitan rail systems to reduce gridlock and spur growth.  It shows you how to handle everything from transportation and real estate development to zoning, site planning and master planning... develop pedestrian access, mixed-use environments and diversified housing... create a 'sense of place' in these unique communities... and much more.  You also get detailed case studies showing how you can apply recent transit village successes in the U.S., Sweden, Canada and other countries."  Purchase book

THE REGIONAL CITY  By Peter Calthorpe and William Fulton

Planning for the End of Sprawl.  "This is an important book that arrives at a powerful conclusion: older neighborhoods and newer suburbs all share a common, regional destiny.  The challenges of affordable housing, concentrated poverty, aging inner-ring suburbs and underachieving schools must be addressed regionally if our cities are to thrive in the new global economy.  The best instructional guide yet from moving from sprawl to livable communities... a compelling case for why every large U.S. metropolitan area should adopt some form of regional governance concerning transportation, affordable housing, tax-base sharing, and more equal educational opportunities.

Essential reading for environmentalists, it provides the foundation for a powerful movement to repair and revitalize our decaying communities and protect our threatened ecosystems.  With wisdom, insight and great clarity, the authors decode the rhetoric of regionalism and present a persuasive case for how a productive regional framework of policy, design and program can work inclusively from the bottom up.  The re-imagination of our collective habitats and marks the end of over a century of inhuman planning.  This is a grounded, fundamental book steeped in experience and wisdom, reflecting equally the ethos of architecture, social justice, and environmental activism."
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THE END OF THE SUBURBS  by Leigh Gallagher

Excellent new book on the sweeping changes unfolding across America - the demise of the suburbs, and the rise of city living and TOD.

In The End of the Suburbs the author traces the rise and fall of American suburbia from the stately railroad suburbs that sprung up outside American cities in the 19th and early 20th centuries to current-day sprawling exurbs where residents spend as much as four hours each day commuting.

Along the way she shows why suburbia was unsustainable from the start and explores the hundreds of new, alternative communities that are springing up around the country and promise to reshape our way of life for the better.
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Ecology, Community, and the American Dream. "The environmental, economic, and social limits to growth in our metropolitan regions are reaching crisis proportions. This book advocates a fundamental change in our patterns of building. In addition to defining a new direction in planning, this is a how-to book - providing the means as well as the principles for change.

Author Peter Calthorpe's guidelines are neither an architectural manifesto nor a utopian proposal; they describe alternatives now shaping the debate over growth in communities across the
United States
. Comprehensive in scope, they simultaneously address the housing, traffic, environmental, and social problems inherent in sprawl. This is a book for architects, engaged citizens, urban planners, environmentalists, and housing activist - for people seeking to understand their present conditions and develop a vision of a sustainable future."  Purchase book


Sustainability and Cities examines the urban aspect of sustainability issues, arguing that cities are a necessary focus for that global agenda.  The authors make the case that the essential character of a city's land use results from how it manages its transportation, and that only by reducing our automobile dependence will we be able to successfully accommodate all elements of the sustainability agenda.  The authors consider the changing urban economy in the information age, and describe the extent of automobile dependence worldwide.  They provide an updated survey of global cities that examines a range of sustainability factors and indicators, and, using a series of case studies, demonstrate how cities around the world are overcoming the problem of automobile dependence.

They also examine the connections among transportation and other issues-including water use and cycling, waste management, greening the urban landscape, and more-and explain how all elements of sustainability can be managed simultaneously.  
The authors end with a consideration of how professional planners can promote the sustainability agenda, and the ethical base needed to ensure that this critical set of issues is taken seriously in the world's cities.  Purchase book

CAR FREE CITIES  by J.H. Crawford 

In Carfree Cities, J.H. Crawford argues persuasively that modern personal car usage is a technology that has become deleterious to modern city life.  The author has done us all a great service by crafting a wonderfully readable book that beautifully blends vision and practicality. The reference model for Carfree Cities proposed in this meticulously considered work could quite possibly be the blueprint for reviving not only the art of building but also the art of living itself.

More than half of the world's petrol sources have already been exhausted, and now, with rapidly industrializing countries with huge populations like China and India, demand and competition for petrol will skyrocket and accordingly prices will too. This is one of the three bases that Crawford sets for the radical revisioning of global city planning to abandon autocentric tendencies, and perhaps the most persuasive. The two others, that auto-use is destroying the Earth and that car-free developments, like Venice and very old sectors of European cities, are intrinsically more beautiful and livable areas, are both valid and convincing. But recent economic realities, as is currently being evidenced in global oil prices, perhaps serve to allow the reader to actually consider the feasibility and necessity of abandonining continued suburbanization, rather than just relegating the thought as a utopian but impractical solution.  Purchase book

NEW DEPARTURES  by Anthony Perl 

Rethinking Rail Passenger Policy in the Twenty-First Century
.  "New Departures is not only the most comprehensive look at rail passenger service in North America, it is the most timely.  With air travel suddenly becoming a mature industry after September 11th, the nation is realizing that it is missing a vital balance in passenger transportation, a balance that could be provided by high speed passenger rail service." 

"This timely book puts railroading on a new footing, making it a solvable problem.  New Departures lays out the many ways a variety of high-speed rail systems can rapidly be assembled to contribute to our safety and security, while restoring enjoyment and ease to American travel."  Purchase book


"Cities around the world are being wrecked by the ever-increasing burden of traffic.  A significant part of the problem is the enduring popularity of the private car - still an attractive and convenient option to many, who turn a blind eye to the environmental and public health impact.  This book shows that attractive and practical alternatives to a car dependent society are possible.  With the growth of car ownership and use reaching crisis proportions in our cities it is imperative to find and implement alternatives if cities are to survive and prosper.  The book reveals how transport technology is developing, in particular, showing how it can be integrated into the urban environment.

The book opens with a look at the 'best' of current transportation systems and goes on to explore such advanced technologies as automated highways, covered cities, monorails, new elevated systems, smart cars, guided buses, as well as intelligent highways, and car-free housing.  The importance, too, of simple measures such as walking and cycling are covered as being an essential part of any future city as well as that of an 'integrated transport' if people are to be encouraged to get out of their cars."
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