Urban sidewalks, critical but undervalued public spaces, have been sites for political demonstrations and urban greening, promenades for the wealthy and the well-dressed, and shelterless shelters for the homeless. On sidewalks, decade after decade, urbanites have socialized, paraded, and played, sold their wares, and observed city life. These many uses often overlap and conflict, and urban residents and planners try to include some and exclude others.
Web 2.0 tools, including blogs, wikis, and photo sharing and social networking sites, have made possible a more participatory Internet experience. Much of this technology is available for mobile phones, where it can be integrated with such device-specific features as sensors and GPS. From Social Butterfly to Engaged Citizen examines how this increasingly open, collaborative, and personalizable technology is shaping not just our social interactions but new kinds of civic engagement with cities, communities, and spaces.
Crisis—whether natural disaster, technological failure, economic collapse, or shocking acts of violence—can offer opportunities for collaboration, consensus building, and transformative social change. Communities often experience a surge of collective energy and purpose in the aftermath of crisis. Rather than rely on government and private-sector efforts to deal with crises through prevention and mitigation, we can harness post-crisis forces for recovery and change through innovative collaborative planning.
Biological sewage treatment, like electricity, power generation, telephones, and mass transit, has been a key technology and a major part of the urban infrastructure since the late nineteenth century. But sewage treatment plants are not only a ubiquitous component of the modern city, they are also ecosystems—a hybrid variety that incorporates elements of both nature and industry and embodies multiple contradictions.
Lectures on Urban Economics offers a rigorous but nontechnical treatment of major topics in urban economics. To make the book accessible to a broad range of readers, the analysis is diagrammatic rather than mathematical. Although nontechnical, the book relies on rigorous economic reasoning. In contrast to the cursory theoretical development often found in other textbooks, Lectures on Urban Economics offers thorough and exhaustive treatments of models relevant to each topic, with the goal of revealing the logic of economic reasoning while also teaching urban economics.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.