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Urban Studies and Planning

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Nature, Technology, and the Sustainable City

When rain falls on the city, it creates urban runoff that cause flooding, erosion, and water pollution. Municipal engineers manage a complex network of technical and natural systems to treat and remove these temporary water flows from cities as quickly as possible. Urban runoff is frequently discussed in terms of technical expertise and environmental management, but it encompasses a multitude of such nontechnical issues as land use, quality of life, governance, aesthetics, and community identity, and is central to the larger debates on creating more sustainable and livable cities. In this book, Andrew Karvonen uses urban runoff as a lens to view the relationships among nature, technology, and society. Offering theoretical insights from urban environmental history, human geography, landscape and ecological planning, and science and technology studies as well as empirical evidence from case studies, Karvonen proposes a new relational politics of urban nature.
After describing the evolution of urban runoff practices, Karvonen analyzes the urban runoff activities in Austin and Seattle--two cities known for their highly contested public debates over runoff issues and exemplary stormwater management practices. The Austin case study highlights the tensions among urban development, property rights, land use planning, and citizen activism; the Seattle case study explores the city’s long-standing reputation for being in harmony with nature. Drawing on these accounts, Karvonen suggests a new relational politics of urban nature that is situated, inclusive, and action-oriented to address the tensions among nature, technology, and society.

Improving Collaborative Planning and Management

Collaborative approaches are increasingly common across a range of governance and policy areas. Single-issue, single-organization solutions often prove ineffective for complex, contentious, and diffuse problems. Collaborative efforts allow cross-jurisdictional governance and policy, involving groups that may operate on different decision-making levels. In Beyond Consensus, Richard Margerum examines the full range of collaborative enterprises in natural resource management, urban planning, and environmental policy. He explains the pros and cons of collaborative approaches, develops methods to test their effectiveness, and identifies ways to improve their implementation and results. Drawing on extensive case studies of collaborations in the United States and Australia, Margerum shows that collaboration is not just about developing a strategy but also about creating and sustaining arrangements that can support collaborative implementation.
Margerum outlines a typology of collaborative efforts and a typology of networks to support implementation. He uses these typologies to explain the factors that are likely to make collaborations successful and examines the implications for participants. The rich case studies in Beyond Consensus--which range from watershed management to transportation planning, and include both successes and failures--offer lessons in collaboration that make the book ideal for classroom use. It is also designed to help practitioners evaluate and improve collaborative efforts at any phase. The book’s theoretical framework provides scholars with a means to assess the effectiveness of collaborations and explain their ability to achieve results.

Local Perspectives on Global Injustices

Multinational corporations often exploit natural resources or locate factories in poor countries far from the demand for the products and profits that result. Developed countries also routinely dump hazardous materials and produce greenhouse gas emissions that have a disproportionate impact on developing countries. This book investigates how these and other globalized practices exact high social and environmental costs as poor, local communities are forced to cope with depleted resources, pollution, health problems, and social and cultural disruption. Case studies drawn from Africa, Asia, the Pacific Rim, and Latin America critically assess how diverse types of global inequalities play out on local terrains. These range from an assessment of the pros and cons of foreign investment in Fiji to an account of the work of transnational activists combating toxic waste disposal in Mozambique. Taken together, the chapters demonstrate the spatial disconnect between global consumption and production on the one hand and local environmental quality and human rights on the other. The result is a rich perspective not only on the ways industries, governments, and consumption patterns may further entrench existing inequalities but also on how emerging networks and movements can foster institutional change and promote social equality and environmental justice.

Community Planning Confronts Global Real Estate

Remarkably, grassroots-based community planning flourishes in New York City--the self-proclaimed “real estate capital of the world”--with at least seventy community plans for different neighborhoods throughout the city. Most of these were developed during fierce struggles against gentrification, displacement, and environmental hazards, and most got little or no support from government. In fact, community-based plans in New York far outnumber the land use plans produced by government agencies. In New York for Sale, Tom Angotti tells some of the stories of community planning in New York City: how activists moved beyond simple protests and began to formulate community plans to protect neighborhoods against urban renewal, real estate mega-projects, gentrification, and environmental hazards. Angotti, both observer of and longtime participant in New York community planning, focuses on the close relationships among community planning, political strategy, and control over land. After describing the political economy of New York City real estate, its close ties to global financial capital, and the roots of community planning in social movements and community organizing, Angotti turns to specifics. He tells of two pioneering plans forged in reaction to urban renewal plans (including the first community plan in the city, the 1961 Cooper Square Alternate Plan--a response to a Robert Moses urban renewal scheme); struggles for environmental justice, including battles over incinerators, sludge, and garbage; plans officially adopted by the city; and plans dominated by powerful real estate interests. Finally, Angotti proposes strategies for progressive, inclusive community planning not only for New York City but for anywhere that neighborhoods want to protect themselves and their land. New York for Sale teaches the empowering lesson that community plans can challenge market-driven development even in global cities with powerful real estate industries

Over the last fifty years, the process of community building has been lost in the process of city building. City and suburban design divides us from others in our communities, destroys natural habitats, and fails to provide a joyful context for our lives. In Design for Ecological Democracy, Randolph Hester proposes a remedy for our urban anomie. He outlines new principles for urban design that will allow us to forge connections with our fellow citizens and our natural environment. He demonstrates these principles with abundantly illustrated examples—drawn from forty years of design and planning practice—showing how we can design cities that are ecologically resilient, that enhance community, and that give us pleasure.

Hester argues that it is only by combining the powerful forces of ecology and democracy that the needed revolution in design will take place. Democracy bestows freedom; ecology creates responsible freedom by explaining our interconnectedness with all creatures. Hester's new design principles are founded on three fundamental issues that integrate democracy and ecology: enabling form, resilient form, and impelling form. Urban design must enable us to be communities rather than zoning-segregated enclaves and to function as informed democracies. A simple bench at a centrally located post office, for example, provides an opportunity for connection and shared experience. Cities must be ecologically resilient rather than ecologically imperiled, adaptable to the surrounding ecology rather than dependent on technological fixes. Resilient form turns increased urban density, for example, into an advantage. And cities should impel us by joy rather than compel us by fear; good cities enrich us rather than limit us. Design for Ecological Democracy is essential reading for designers, planners, environmentalists, community activists, and anyone else who wants to improve a local community.

Cultural Innovation in the Second Industrial Revolution

At the close of the nineteenth century, industrialization and urbanization marked the end of the traditional understanding of society as rooted in agriculture. Urban Modernity examines the construction of an urban-centered, industrial-based culture--an entirely new social reality based on science and technology. The authors show that this invention of modernity was brought about through the efforts of urban elites--businessmen, industrialists, and officials--to establish new science- and technology-related institutions. International expositions, museums, and other such institutions and projects helped stem the economic and social instability fueled by industrialization, projecting the past and the future as part of a steady continuum of scientific and technical progress. The authors examine the dynamic connecting urban planning, museums, educational institutions, and expositions in Paris, London, Chicago, Berlin, and Tokyo from 1870 to 1930. In Third Republic Paris, politicians, administrators, social scientists, architects, and engineers implemented the future city through a series of commissions, agencies, and organizations; in rapidly expanding London, cultures of science and technology were both rooted in and constitutive of urban culture; in Chicago after the Great Fire, Commercial Club members pursued civic ideals through scientific and technological change; in Berlin, industry, scientific institutes, and the popularization of science helped create a modern metropolis; and in Meiji-era Tokyo (Edo), modernization and Westernization went hand in hand.

Personal Urban Mobility for the 21st Century

This book provides a long-overdue vision for a new automobile era.

The cars we drive today follow the same underlying design principles as the Model Ts of a hundred years ago and the tail-finned sedans of fifty years ago. In the twenty-first century, cars are still made for twentieth-century purposes. They’re well suited for conveying multiple passengers over long distances at high speeds, but inefficient for providing personal mobility within cities—where most of the world’s people now live. In this pathbreaking book, William Mitchell and two industry experts reimagine the automobile, describing vehicles of the near future that are green, smart, connected, and fun to drive. They roll out four big ideas that will make this both feasible and timely.

First, we must transform the DNA of the automobile, basing it on electric-drive and wireless communication rather than on petroleum, the internal combustion engine, and stand-alone operation. This allows vehicles to become lighter, cleaner, and “smart” enough to avoid crashes and traffic jams. Second, automobiles will be linked by a Mobility Internet that allows them to collect and share data on traffic conditions, intelligently coordinates their movements, and keeps drivers connected to their social networks. Third, automobiles must be recharged through a convenient, cost-effective infrastructure that is integrated with smart electric grids and makes increasing use of renewable energy sources. Finally, dynamically priced markets for electricity, road space, parking space, and shared-use vehicles must be introduced to provide optimum management of urban mobility and energy systems.

The fundamental reinvention of the automobile won’t be easy, but it is an urgent necessity—to make urban mobility more convenient and sustainable, to make cities more livable, and to help bring the automobile industry out of crisis.

Four Big Ideas That Could Transform the Automobile• Base the underlying design principles on electric-drive and wireless communications rather than the internal combustion engine and stand-alone operation• Develop the Mobility Internet for sharing traffic and travel data• Integrate electric-drive vehicles with smart electric grids that use clean, renewable energy sources• Establish dynamically priced markets for electricity, road space, parking space, and shared-use vehicles

Inside Modern European Cities

Urban Machinery investigates the technological dimension of modern European cities, vividly describing the most dramatic changes in the urban environment over the last century and a half. Written by leading scholars from the history of technology, urban history, and the sociology of science and technology, the book views the European city as a complex construct entangled with technology. The chapters examine the increasing similarity of modern cities and their technical infrastructures (including communication, energy, industrial, and transportation systems) and the resulting tension between homogenization and cultural differentiation. The contributors emphasize the concept of circulation—the process by which architectural ideas, urban planning principles, engineering concepts, and societal models spread across Europe as well as from the United States to Europe. They also examine the parallel process of appropriation—how these systems and practices have been adapted to prevailing institutional structures and cultural preferences. Urban Machinery, with contributions by scholars from eight countries and more than thirty illustrations (many of them rare photographs never published before), includes studies from northern and southern and from eastern and western Europe, and also discusses how European cities were viewed from the periphery (modernizing Turkey) and from the United States.

Contributors
Hans Buiter, Paolo Capuzzo, Noyan Dinçkal, Cornelis Disco, Pál Germuska, Mikael Hård, Martina Heßler, Dagmara Jajeniak-Quast, Andrew Jamison, Per Lundin, Thomas J. Misa, Dieter Schott, and Marcus Stippak

People, Places, and the Politics of Urban Planning

In distressed urban neighborhoods where residential segregation concentrates poverty, liquor stores outnumber supermarkets, toxic sites are next to playgrounds, and more money is spent on prisons than schools, residents also suffer disproportionately from disease and premature death. Recognizing that city environments and the planning processes that shape them are powerful determinants of population health, urban planners today are beginning to take on the added challenge of revitalizing neglected urban neighborhoods in ways that improve health and promote greater equity. In Toward the Healthy City, Jason Corburn argues that city planning must return to its roots in public health and social justice. The first book to provide a detailed account of how city planning and public health practices can reconnect to address health disparities, Toward the Healthy City offers a new decision-making framework called “healthy city planning” that reframes traditional planning and development issues and offers a new scientific evidence base for participatory action, coalition building, and ongoing monitoring. To show healthy city planning in action, Corburn examines collaborations between government agencies and community coalitions in the San Francisco Bay area, including efforts to link environmental justice, residents’ chronic illnesses, housing and real estate development projects, and planning processes with public health. Initiatives like these, Corburn points out, go well beyond recent attempts by urban planners to promote public health by changing the design of cities to encourage physical activity. Corburn argues for a broader conception of healthy urban governance that addresses the root causes of health inequities.

Michael Gecan, a longtime community organizer, offers in this book a disturbing conclusion: the kinds of problems that began to afflict large cities in the 1970s have now spread to the suburbs and beyond. The institutional cornerstones of American life are on an extended decline. No longer young, no longer without limitations or constraints, the country is facing a midlife crisis.Drawing on personal experiences and the stories of communities in Illinois, New York, and other areas, Gecan draws a vivid picture of civic, political, and religious institutions in trouble, from suburban budget crises to failing public schools. Gecan shows that the loss of social capital has followed closely upon institutional failure. He looks in particular at the two main support systems of social mobility and economic progress for the majority of working poor Americans in the first half of the last century--the Roman Catholic school system and the American public high school. As these institutions that generated social progress have faded, those depending on social regression--prisons, jails, and detention centers--have thrived. Can we reverse the trends? Gecan offers hope and a direction forward. He calls on national and local leadership to shed old ways of thinking and face new realities, which include not only the substantial costs of change but also its considerable benefits. Only then will we enjoy the next rich phase of our local and national life.

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