Best Selling Books in Nonfiction - Urban Planning & Development

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release date: May 01, 2018
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The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America

One of Publishers Weekly's 10 Best Books of 2017
Longlisted for the National Book Award

This “powerful and disturbing history” exposes how American governments deliberately imposed racial segregation on metropolitan areas nationwide (New York Times Book Review).

Widely heralded as a “masterful” (Washington Post) and “essential” (Slate) history of the modern American metropolis, Richard Rothstein’s The Color of Law offers “the most forceful argument ever published on how federal, state, and local governments gave rise to and reinforced neighborhood segregation” (William Julius Wilson). Exploding the myth of de facto segregation arising from private prejudice or the unintended consequences of economic forces, Rothstein describes how the American government systematically imposed residential segregation: with undisguised racial zoning; public housing that purposefully segregated previously mixed communities; subsidies for builders to create whites-only suburbs; tax exemptions for institutions that enforced segregation; and support for violent resistance to African Americans in white neighborhoods. A groundbreaking, “virtually indispensable” study that has already transformed our understanding of twentieth-century urban history (Chicago Daily Observer), The Color of Law forces us to face the obligation to remedy our unconstitutional past. 13 illustrations
release date: Sep 11, 2018
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Palaces for the People: How Social Infrastructure Can Help Fight Inequality, Polarization, and the  Decline of Civic Life
New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice

An eminent sociologist and bestselling author offers an inspiring blueprint for rebuilding our fractured society.

 
We are living in a time of deep divisions. Americans are sorting themselves along racial, religious, and cultural lines, leading to a level of polarization that the country hasn’t seen since the Civil War. Pundits and politicians are calling for us to come together, to find common purpose. But how, exactly, can this be done?
 
In Palaces for the People, Eric Klinenberg suggests a way forward. He believes that the future of democratic societies rests not simply on shared values but on shared spaces: the libraries, childcare centers, bookstores, churches, synagogues, and parks where crucial, sometimes life-saving connections, are formed. These are places where people gather and linger, making friends across group lines and strengthening the entire community. Klinenberg calls this the “social infrastructure”: When it is strong, neighborhoods flourish; when it is neglected, as it has been in recent years, families and individuals must fend for themselves.
 
Klinenberg takes us around the globe—from a floating school in Bangladesh to an arts incubator in Chicago, from a soccer pitch in Queens to an evangelical church in Houston—to show how social infrastructure is helping to solve some of our most pressing challenges: isolation, crime, education, addiction, political polarization, and even climate change.

Richly reported, elegantly written, and ultimately uplifting, Palaces for the People urges us to acknowledge the crucial role these spaces play in civic life. Our social infrastructure could be the key to bridging our seemingly unbridgeable divides—and safeguarding democracy.
release date: Mar 20, 2018
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Discrimination and Disparities


An empirical examination of how economic and other disparities arise

Economic and other outcomes differ vastly among individuals, groups, and nations. Many explanations have been offered for the differences. Some believe that those with less fortunate outcomes are victims of genetics. Others believe that those who are less fortunate are victims of the more fortunate.

Discrimination and Disparities gathers a wide array of empirical evidence from to challenge the idea that different economic outcomes can be explained by any one factor, be it discrimination, exploitation or genetics.

It is readable enough for people with no prior knowledge of economics. Yet the empirical evidence with which it backs up its analysis spans the globe and challenges beliefs across the ideological spectrum.

The point of Discrimination and Disparities is not to recommend some particular policy "fix" at the end, but to clarify why so many policy fixes have turned out to be counterproductive, and to expose some seemingly invincible fallacies--behind many counterproductive policies.

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The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York
One of the most acclaimed books of our time, winner of both the Pulitzer and the Francis Parkman prizes, The Power Broker tells the hidden story behind the shaping (and mis-shaping) of twentieth-century New York (city and state) and makes public what few have known: that Robert Moses was, for almost half a century, the single most powerful man of our time in New York, the shaper not only of the city's politics but of its physical structure and the problems of urban decline that plague us today.

In revealing how Moses did it--how he developed his public authorities into a political machine that was virtually a fourth branch of government, one that could bring to their knees Governors and Mayors (from La Guardia to Lindsay) by mobilizing banks, contractors, labor unions, insurance firms, even the press and the Church, into an irresistible economic force--Robert Caro reveals how power works in all the cities of the United States. Moses built an empire and lived like an emperor. He personally conceived and completed public works costing 27 billion dollars--the greatest builder America (and probably the world) has ever known. Without ever having been elected to office, he dominated the men who were--even his most bitter enemy, Franklin D. Roosevelt, could not control him--until he finally encountered, in Nelson Rockefeller, the only man whose power (and ruthlessness in wielding it) equalled his own.
release date: Oct 15, 2018
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Walkable City Rules: 101 Steps to Making Better Places
“Cities are the future of the human race, and Jeff Speck knows how to make them work.”
 —David Owen, staff writer at the New Yorker
  
Nearly every US city would like to be more walkable—for reasons of health, wealth, and the environment—yet few are taking the proper steps to get there. The goals are often clear, but the path is seldom easy. Jeff Speck’s follow-up to his bestselling Walkable City is the resource that cities and citizens need to usher in an era of renewed street life. Walkable City Rules is a doer’s guide to making change in cities, and making it now.
 
The 101 rules are practical yet engaging—worded for arguments at the planning commission, illustrated for clarity, and packed with specifications as well as data. For ease of use, the rules are grouped into 19 chapters that cover everything from selling walkability, to getting the parking right, escaping automobilism, making comfortable spaces and interesting places, and doing it now!
 
Walkable City was written to inspire; Walkable City Rules was written to enable. It is the most comprehensive tool available for bringing the latest and most effective city-planning practices to bear in your community. The content and presentation make it a force multiplier for place-makers and change-makers everywhere.
  
 
release date: Jul 17, 2018
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New Dark Age: Technology and the End of the Future

New Dark Age is among the most unsettling and illuminating books I’ve read about the Internet, which is to say that it is among the most unsettling and illuminating books I’ve read about contemporary life.”  – New Yorker

As the world around us increases in technological complexity, our understanding of it diminishes. Underlying this trend is a single idea: the belief that our existence is understandable through computation, and more data is enough to help us build a better world.

In reality, we are lost in a sea of information, increasingly divided by fundamentalism, simplistic narratives, conspiracy theories, and post-factual politics. Meanwhile, those in power use our lack of understanding to further their own interests. Despite the apparent accessibility of information, we’re living in a new Dark Age.

From rogue financial systems to shopping algorithms, from artificial intelligence to state secrecy, we no longer understand how our world is governed or presented to us. The media is filled with unverifiable speculation, much of it generated by anonymous software, while companies dominate their employees through surveillance and the threat of automation.

In his brilliant new work, leading artist and writer James Bridle surveys the history of art, technology, and information systems, and reveals the dark clouds that gather over our dreams of the digital sublime.

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release date: Jul 10, 2018
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The Poisoned City: Flint's Water and the American Urban Tragedy

When the people of Flint, Michigan, turned on their faucets in April 2014, the water pouring out was poisoned with lead and other toxins.

Through a series of disastrous decisions, the state government had switched the city’s water supply to a source that corroded Flint’s aging lead pipes. Complaints about the foul-smelling water were dismissed: the residents of Flint, mostly poor and African American, were not seen as credible, even in matters of their own lives.

It took eighteen months of activism by city residents and a band of dogged outsiders to force the state to admit that the water was poisonous. By that time, twelve people had died and Flint’s children had suffered irreparable harm. The long battle for accountability and a humane response to this man-made disaster has only just begun.

In the first full account of this American tragedy, Anna Clark's The Poisoned City recounts the gripping story of Flint’s poisoned water through the people who caused it, suffered from it, and exposed it. It is a chronicle of one town, but could also be about any American city, all made precarious by the neglect of infrastructure and the erosion of democratic decision making. Places like Flint are set up to fail―and for the people who live and work in them, the consequences can be fatal.

release date: Sep 25, 2018
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The Next American City: The Big Promise of Our Midsize Metros
From four-term Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett, a hopeful and illuminating look at the dynamic and inventive urban centers that will lead the United States in coming years.

Oklahoma City. Indianapolis. Charleston. Des Moines. What do these cities have in common? They are cities of modest size but outsized accomplishment, powered by a can-do spirit, valuing compromise over confrontation and progress over political victory. These are the cities leading America . . . and they're not waiting for Washington's help.

As mayor of one of America's most improved cities, Cornett used a bold, creative, and personal approach to orchestrate his city's renaissance. Once regarded as a forgettable city in "flyover country," Oklahoma City has become one of our nation's most dynamic places-and it is not alone. In this book, Cornett translates his city's success-and the success of cities like his-into a vision for the future of our country.

The Next American City is a story of civic engagement, inventive public policy, and smart urban design. It is a study of the changes re-shaping American urban life-and a blueprint for those to come.
release date: Nov 12, 2013
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Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America, One Step at a Time

"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. Walk-

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.

release date: Jan 09, 2018
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The New Localism: How Cities Can Thrive in the Age of Populism

The New Localism provides a roadmap for change that starts in the communities where most people live and work.

In their new book, The New Localism, urban experts Bruce Katz and Jeremy Nowak reveal where the real power to create change lies and how it can be used to address our most serious social, economic, and environmental challenges.

Power is shifting in the world: downward from national governments and states to cities and metropolitan communities; horizontally from the public sector to networks of public, private and civic actors; and globally along circuits of capital, trade, and innovation.

This new locus of power―this new localism―is emerging by necessity to solve the grand challenges characteristic of modern societies: economic competitiveness, social inclusion and opportunity; a renewed public life; the challenge of diversity; and the imperative of environmental sustainability. Where rising populism on the right and the left exploits the grievances of those left behind in the global economy, new localism has developed as a mechanism to address them head on.

New localism is not a replacement for the vital roles federal governments play; it is the ideal complement to an effective federal government, and, currently, an urgently needed remedy for national dysfunction.

In The New Localism, Katz and Nowak tell the stories of the cities that are on the vanguard of problem solving. Pittsburgh is catalyzing inclusive growth by inventing and deploying new industries and technologies. Indianapolis is governing its city and metropolis through a network of public, private and civic leaders. Copenhagen is using publicly owned assets like their waterfront to spur large scale redevelopment and finance infrastructure from land sales.

Out of these stories emerge new norms of growth, governance, and finance and a path toward a more prosperous, sustainable, and inclusive society. Katz and Nowak imagine a world in which urban institutions finance the future through smart investments in innovation, infrastructure and children and urban intermediaries take solutions created in one city and adapt and tailor them to other cities with speed and precision.

As Katz and Nowak show us in The New Localism, “Power now belongs to the problem solvers.”

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