Best Selling Audio Books in Nonfiction - Urban Planning & Development

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release date: Nov 28, 2017
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Vanishing New York: How a Great City Lost Its Soul
An unflinching portrait of gentrification in the twenty-first century, and a love letter to lost New York, by the creator of the popular and incendiary blog Vanishing New York

New York City has long been a destination for rebels and rule breakers, artists, writers, and other hopefuls longing to be part of its rich cultural exchange and unique social fabric. But today, modern gentrification is transforming the city from an exceptional, iconoclastic metropolis into a suburbanized luxury zone with a price tag only the top 1 percent can afford.

Blogger and cultural commentator Jeremiah Moss has emerged as one of the most outspoken and celebrated critics of this dramatic shift. He has spent the past decade observing and painstakingly documenting this sea change, and in Vanishing New York, he reports on the city's development in the twenty-first century, a period of "hyper-gentrification" that has resulted in the shocking transformation of beloved neighborhoods and the loss of treasured unofficial landmarks. Moss leads us on a colorful guided tour of the most changed parts of town-from the Lower East Side and Chelsea to Harlem and Williamsburg-lovingly eulogizing iconic institutions as they're replaced with soulless upscale boutiques, luxury condo towers, and suburban chains.
release date: Dec 08, 2015
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Happy City: Transforming Our Lives Through Urban Design
After decades of unchecked sprawl, more people than ever are moving back to the city. Dense urban living has been prescribed as a panacea for the environmental and resource crises of our time. But is it better or worse for our happiness? Are subways, sidewalks, and tower dwelling an improvement on the car-dependence of sprawl?

Award-winning journalist Charles Montgomery finds answers to such questions at the intersection between urban design and the emerging science of happiness, and during an exhilarating journey through some of the world's most dynamic cities. He meets the visionary mayor who introduced a "sexy" lipstick-red bus to ease status anxiety in Bogot�; the architect who brought the lessons of medieval Tuscan hill towns to modern-day New York City; the activist who turned Paris's urban freeways into beaches; and an army of American suburbanites who have transformed their lives by hacking the design of their streets and neighborhoods.

Full of rich historical detail and new insights from psychologists and Montgomery's own urban experiments, Happy City is an essential tool for understanding and improving our own communities.
release date: Jun 06, 2017
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The New Urban Crisis: How Our Cities Are Increasing Inequality, Deepening Segregation, and Failing the Middle Class--And What We Can Do about It
[Read by Traber Burns]

Richard Florida confronts the dark side of the creative economy he celebrated in The Rise of the Creative Class and grapples with the gentrification, inequality, and segregation it has created in our cities.

In recent years, the young, educated, and affluent have surged back into cities, reversing decades of suburban flight and urban decline. And yet all is not well, Richard Florida argues in The New Urban Crisis. Florida, one of the first scholars to anticipate this back-to-the-city movement in his groundbreaking The Rise of the Creative Class, demonstrates how the same forces that power the growth of the world's superstar cities also generate their vexing challenges: gentrification, unaffordability, segregation, and inequality. Meanwhile, many more cities still stagnate, and middle-class neighborhoods everywhere are disappearing. Our winner-take-all cities are just one manifestation of a profound crisis in today's urbanized knowledge economy.

A bracingly original work of research and analysis, The New Urban Crisis offers a compelling diagnosis of our economic ills and a bold prescription for more inclusive cities capable of ensuring growth and prosperity for all.

release date: Jun 14, 2016
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Street Smart: The Rise of Cities and the Fall of Cars
[Read by Don Hagen]

In December 1973 a section of New York's West Side Highway collapsed under the weight of a truck full of asphalt. The road was closed, which ought to have produced traffic chaos, but it didn't. The cars simply vanished. It was a moment of revelation: the highway had induced the demand for car travel. Samuel Schwartz was inspired by the lesson. He started to reimagine cities freed from their obligation to cars. Eventually, he found, he was not alone. Since the turn of the twenty-first century, a surreptitious revolution has taken place: every year Americans are driving fewer miles. Schwartz's Street Smart is an affectionate history of American cities and an inspiring off-road map to a more vibrant, active, and vigorous urban future.
release date: Dec 05, 2017
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How to Kill a City: Gentrification, Inequality, and the Fight for the Neighborhood
The term gentrification has become a buzzword to describe the changes in urban neighborhoods across the country, but we don't realize just how threatening it is. It means more than the arrival of trendy shops, much-maligned hipsters, and expensive lattes. The very future of American cities as vibrant, equitable spaces hangs in the balance.

Peter Moskowitz's How to Kill a City takes listeners from the kitchen tables of hurting families who can no longer afford their homes to the corporate boardrooms and political backrooms where destructive housing policies are devised. Along the way, Moskowitz uncovers the massive, systemic forces behind gentrification in New Orleans, Detroit, San Francisco, and New York. The deceptively simple question of who can and cannot afford to pay the rent goes to the heart of America's crises of race and inequality. In the fight for economic opportunity and racial justice, nothing could be more important than housing.

A vigorous, hard-hitting expose, How to Kill a City reveals who holds power in our cities-and how we can get it back.
release date: Feb 13, 2018
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High-Risers: Cabrini-Green and the Fate of American Public Housing

[Read by Ron Butler]

A remarkable work of journalistic and literary merit, High-Risers braids personal narratives, city politics, and national history to tell the timely and epic story of Chicago's Cabrini-Green, America's most iconic public housing project.

Built in the 1940s atop an infamous Italian slum, Cabrini-Green grew to twenty-three towers and a population of twenty-thousand -- all of it packed onto just seventy acres situated a few blocks from Chicago's ritzy Gold Coast. Cabrini-Green became synonymous with crime, squalor, and the failure of government. For the many who lived there, though, it was also a much-needed resource -- it was home. By 2011, every high-rise had been razed, the island of black poverty engulfed by the white affluence around it, and the families dispersed.

In this novelistic and eye-opening narrative, Ben Austen tells the story of America's public housing experiment and the changing fortunes of American cities. It is an account told affectingly through the lives of residents who struggled to make a home for their families as powerful forces converged to accelerate the complex's demise. Beautifully written, rich in detail, and full of indelible portraits, High-Risers is a sweeping exploration of race, class, popular culture, and politics in modern America that brilliantly considers what went wrong in our nation's effort to provide affordable housing to the poor -- and what we can learn from those mistakes.

release date: Jan 26, 2009
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Little Pink House: A True Story of Defiance and Courage
SOON TO BE A MOTION PICTURE STARRING CATHERINE KEENER

"Catherine Keener nails the combination of anger, grace, and attitude that made Susette Kelo a nationally known crusader." -- Deadline Hollywood

Suzette Kelo was just trying to rebuild her life when she purchased a falling down Victorian house perched on the waterfront in New London, CT. The house wasn't particularly fancy, but with lots of hard work Suzette was able to turn it into a home that was important to her, a home that represented her new found independence.

Little did she know that the City of New London, desperate to revive its flailing economy, wanted to raze her house and the others like it that sat along the waterfront in order to win a lucrative Pfizer pharmaceutical contract that would bring new business into the city. Kelo and fourteen neighbors flat out refused to sell, so the city decided to exercise its power of eminent domain to condemn their homes, launching one of the most extraordinary legal cases of our time, a case that ultimately reached the United States Supreme Court.

In Little Pink House, award-winning investigative journalist Jeff Benedict takes us behind the scenes of this case -- indeed, Suzette Kelo speaks for the first time about all the details of this inspirational true story as one woman led the charge to take on corporate America to save her home.

Praise for the book:

"Passionate...a page-turner with conscience." -- Publishers Weekly


release date: Nov 30, 2016
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Ghetto: The Invention of a Place, the History of an Idea
This clear-eyed assessment of the history of the ghetto and of thinkers and doers who shaped American ideas about urban poverty gives a valuable new understanding to an age-old concept.

On March 29, 1516, the city council of Venice issued a decree forcing Jews to live in il geto -- a closed quarter named for the copper foundry that once occupied the area. The term stuck.

In this sweeping and original interpretation, Mitchell Duneier traces the idea of the ghetto from its beginnings in the sixteenth century and its revival by the Nazis to the present. As Duneier shows, we cannot understand the entanglements of race, poverty, and place in America today without recalling the history of the ghetto in Europe, as well as later efforts to understand the problems of the American city.

This is the story of the scholars and activists who tried to achieve that understanding. Their efforts to wrestle with race and poverty in their times cannot be divorced from their individual biographies, which often included direct encounters with prejudice and discrimination in the academy and elsewhere. Using new and forgotten sources, Duneier introduces us to Horace Cayton and St. Clair Drake, graduate students whose conception of the South Side of Chicago established a new paradigm for thinking about Northern racism and poverty in the 1940s. We learn how the psychologist Kenneth Clark subsequently linked Harlem's slum conditions with the persistence of black powerlessness in the civil-rights era, and we follow the controversy over Daniel Patrick Moynihan's report on the black family. We see how the sociologist William Julius Wilson redefined the debate about urban America as middle-class African Americans increasingly escaped the ghetto and the country retreated from racially specific remedies. And we trace the education reformer Geoffrey Canada's efforts to transform the lives of inner-city children with ambitious interventions, even as other reformers sought to help families escape their neighborhoods altogether.

Ghetto offers a clear-eyed assessment of the thinkers and doers who have shaped American ideas about urban poverty and the ghetto. The result is a valuable new understanding of an age-old concept.

release date: Feb 28, 2017
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The Well-Tempered City: What Modern Science, Ancient Civilizations, and Human Nature Teach Us About the Future of Urban Life
Cities are birthplaces of civilization; centers of culture, trade, and progress; cauldrons of opportunity-and the home of eighty percent of the world's population by 2050. As the 21st century progresses, metropolitan areas will bear the brunt of global megatrends such as climate change, natural resource depletion, population growth, income inequality, mass migrations, education and health disparities, among many others.

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.
release date: Sep 30, 2014
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Enough: Our Fight to Keep America Safe From Gun Violence
Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly, share their impassioned argument for responsible gun ownership.

After the 2011 Tucson shooting that nearly took her life, basic questions consumed Gabby Giffords and her family: Would Gabby survive the bullet through her brain? Would she walk again? Speak? Her hard-won recovery, though far from complete, has now allowed her and Mark to ask larger questions that confront us as a nation: How can we address our nation’s epidemic of gun violence? How can we protect gun rights for law abiding citizens, while keeping firearms out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill? What can we do about gun trafficking and other threats to our communities?

Enough goes behind the scenes of Gabby and Mark’s creation of Americans for Responsible Solutions, an organization dedicated to promoting responsible gun ownership and encouraging lawmakers to find solutions to gun violence, despite their widespread fear of the gun lobby. As gun owners and strong supporters of the Second Amendment, Gabby and Mark offer a bold but sensible path forward, preserving the right to own guns for collection, recreation, and protection while taking common-sense actions to prevent the next Tucson, Aurora, or Newtown. Poll after poll shows that most Americans agree with Gabby and Mark’s reasonable proposals.

As the book follows Gabby and Mark from the halls of Congress to communities across the country, it provides an intimate window into the recovery of one of our nation’s most inspiring public figures and reveals how she and her husband have taken on the role of co-advocates for one of the defining issues of our time.
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