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Urban Studies and Planning

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A Measured Manifesto for a Plural Urbanism

Urban design in practice is incremental, but architects imagine it as scaled-up architecture—large, ready-to-build pop-up cities. This paradox of urban design is rarely addressed; indeed, urban design as a discipline lacks a theoretical foundation. In The Largest Art, Brent Ryan argues that urban design encompasses more than architecture, and he provides a foundational theory of urban design beyond the architectural scale. In a “declaration of independence” for urban design, Ryan describes urban design as the largest of the building arts, with qualities of its own.

Infrastructure Legibility and Governance

Waste is material information. Landfills are detailed records of everyday consumption and behavior; much of what we know about the distant past we know from discarded objects unearthed by archaeologists and interpreted by historians. And yet the systems and infrastructures that process our waste often remain opaque. In this book, Dietmar Offenhuber examines waste from the perspective of information, considering emerging practices and technologies for making waste systems legible and how the resulting datasets and visualizations shape infrastructure governance.

The Future of the Car and Urban Mobility

The twentieth century was the century of the automobile; the twenty-first will see mobility dramatically re-envisioned. Automobiles altered cityscapes, boosted economies, and made personal mobility efficient and convenient for many. We had a century-long love affair with the car. But today, people are more attached to their smartphones than their cars. Cars are not always the quickest mode of travel in cities; and emissions from the rapidly growing number of cars threaten the planet.

From Loncheras to Lobsta Love

The food truck on the corner could be a brightly painted old-style lonchera offering tacos or an upscale mobile vendor serving lobster rolls. Customers range from gastro-tourists to construction workers, all eager for food that is delicious, authentic, and relatively inexpensive. Although some cities that host food trucks encourage their proliferation, others throw up regulatory roadblocks. This book examines the food truck phenomenon in North American cities from Los Angeles to Montreal, taking a novel perspective: social justice.

Reluctant Activists and Natural Gas Drilling

When natural gas drilling moves into an urban or a suburban neighborhood, a two-hundred-foot-high drill appears on the other side of a back yard fence and diesel trucks clog a quiet two-lane residential street. Children seem to be having more than the usual number of nosebleeds. There are so many local cases of cancer that the elementary school starts a cancer support group.

Urban Divides

Globalization promised an interconnected world, yet our cities are increasingly divided. In the past decade, for example, thousands of miles of new border walls have been constructed, many in urban contexts. People embrace the idea of walls out of fear, and leaders make promises that only reinforce divisions. Boundaries, of course, are not a new phenomenon. They have historically defined communities for cultural, political, and economic purposes. As urbanization increases and economic inequality reaches record levels, however, urban divides are becoming more pervasive.

Remaking the Politics of Displacement

Portland, Oregon, is one of the most beautiful, livable cities in the United States. It has walkable neighborhoods, bike lanes, low-density housing, public transportation, and significant green space—not to mention craft-beer bars and locavore food trucks. But liberal Portland is also the whitest city in the country. This is not circumstance; the city has a long history of officially sanctioned racialized displacement that continues today.
 

Alternative Development Models for Emerging Economies

Many emerging nations, particularly those least developed, lack basic critical infrastructural services—affordable energy, clean drinking water, dependable sanitation, and effective public transportation, along with reliable food systems. Many of these countries cannot afford the complex and resource-intensive systems based on Western, single-sector, industrialized models. In this book, Hillary Brown and Byron Stigge propose an alternate model for planning and designing infrastructural services in the emerging market context.

Urban Environments in Los Angeles, Hong Kong, and China

Over the past four decades, Los Angeles, Hong Kong, and key urban regions of China have emerged as global cities—in financial, political, cultural, environmental, and demographic terms. In this book, Robert Gottlieb and Simon Ng trace the global emergence of these urban areas and compare their responses to a set of six urban environmental issues.

A Case for Truly Smart and Sustainable Cities

The future of humanity is urban, and the nature of urban space enables, and necessitates, sharing—of resources, goods and services, experiences. Yet traditional forms of sharing have been undermined in modern cities by social fragmentation and commercialization of the public realm. In Sharing Cities, Duncan McLaren and Julian Agyeman argue that the intersection of cities’ highly networked physical space with new digital technologies and new mediated forms of sharing offers cities the opportunity to connect smart technology to justice, solidarity, and sustainability.

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