Reading List on Cities and Other Obsessions

We are avid readers of books on cities, architecture, and landscapes, and are always searching for our next great book.  Here are some publications from our 2016 reading list, and one we are looking forward to in 2017.  Enjoy!

The Well-Tempered City: What Modern Science, Ancient Civilizations, and Human Nature Teach Us About the Future of Urban Life by Jonathan Rose.  The thoughtful real estate developer creates a template for development that fuses equality, resilience, adaptability, and health.

Conservation for Cities: How to Plan and Build Natural Infrastructure by Robert McDonald.  Nature in the city provides a wide array of benefits to residents. This book offers a new approach to quantifying ecosystem services, and compares green priorities to traditional grey infrastructure.

The Nature of Urban Design: A New York Perspective on Resilience by Alexandros Washburn. Read this to understand the (sometimes incoherent) policy forces shaping dense, mixed-use communities addressing climate change.

Landscape as Urbanism: A General Theory by Charles Waldheim.  Traces the development of a new balance between ecology and industry.

City of Thorns: Nine Lives in the World’s Largest Refugee Camp by Ben Rawlence.  The refugee crisis is overwhelming – 1 in 122 people on earth are refugees – but this book follows nine people in the Dadaab settlement to put a human face on the forces of change.

A Burglar’s Guide to the City by Geoff Manaugh.  Followers of his BLDGBLOG website know the author’s preoccupation with security and defence, and this delightful book offers a completely different perspective on design, from those who wish to compromise it.

How to Survive Off the Grid: From Backyard Homesteads to Bunkers (And Everything in Between) by Tim Macwelch.  A DIY manual with gorgeous illustrations for doomsday preppers (and who isn’t concerned, these days?)

Alejandro Aravena: Elemental: Incremental Housing and Participatory Design Manual by Alejandro Aravena and Andres Iacobelli.  A realization that project funding could only construct half of the needed space for housing units in Chile led to allowing residents to complete the other half; a revelation in participatory design.

Reading Structures: 39 Projects and Built Works by Guy Nordenson.  Geek out on structure love in sections on engineering ephemera and the collaborations that led to some of the most innovative structures.

…and finally, we are looking forward to Disaster Risk Reduction for the Built Environment by Lee Bosher and Ksenia Chmutina.  If it is anything like Hazards and the Built Environment, it will be well researched and include a broad perspective on adaptation.

The cold weather encourages reading during this season, and the current political climate demands that we discover intelligent and sensible sources. Please share your own book recommendations with us!