Story and Sustainability
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Story and Sustainability

Planning, Practice, and Possibility for American Cities

Edited by Barbara Eckstein and James A. Throgmorton





Story and Sustainability explores the role of story in planning theory and practice, with the goal of creating U.S. cities able to balance competing claims for economic growth, environmental health, and social justice. In the book, urban practitioners and scholars from fields as diverse as American studies, English, geography, history, planning, and criminal justice reflect critically on the traditional exclusionary power of storytelling and on its potential to facilitate the transformations of imagination, theory, and practice necessary to create sustainable, democratic American cities. The book begins with an editors' introduction identifying story, sustainable U.S. cities, and democracy as the three key themes. Part I advances and refines these concepts, connects them to contemporary U.S. urban planning, and provides tools that can be used when reading and interpreting the texts in part II. Part II exemplifies, amplifies, and modifies the key themes and arguments through the presentation of eight texts: theoretical and experiential, academic and nonacademic, expository and narrative, and familiar and unfamiliar. The combined focus on story and urban sustainability makes this book a unique contribution to planning literature.


Out of Print ISBN: 9780262050708 279 pp. | 9 in x 6 in


$6.75 S | £5.99 ISBN: 9780262550437 279 pp. | 9 in x 6 in


Barbara Eckstein

Barbara Eckstein is Associate Professor of English at the University of Iowa.

James A. Throgmorton

James A. Throgmorton is Associate Professor of Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Iowa.


  • American metropolitan areas are shaped by stories about city life as varied as the dreams of city planners, the hopes of community activists and downtown developers, and the self-fulfilling prophecy of white flight generated by tales of inner city crime. At long last, Story and Sustainability gives these stories—and more—the attention they deserve, combining theoretical insight with on-the-ground investigation of their impact. The book is a major addition to the literature about cities.

    Gerald E. Frug

    Louis D. Brandeis Professor, Harvard Law School, and author of City Making: Building Communities without Building Walls

  • These rich essays teach us about politics and place, about memory and hope, about planning and organizing to transform our neighborhoods and cities. We read about New Urbanist schemes and resistance to landfills, ambitious action research overcoming tall odds, and much more, and we come away often moved, a bit daunted, refreshed, and inspired as well.

    John Forester

    Department of City and Regional Planning, Cornell University