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GaryP

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What are your favorite books dealing with anything urban?

My favorite is definitely Jane Jacobs "The Death and Life of Great American Cities"

An interesting book I read a few years back on construction and development...... "Skyscraper: The Making of a Building" by Karl Sabbagh

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My favorite is also The Death and Life of Great American Cities

Another good one is Suburban Nation: The Rise of Sprawl and the Decline of the American Dream

On a local level, I like Heart & Soul: The Story of Grand Rapids Neighborhoods

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On a local level, I like Heart & Soul: The Story of Grand Rapids Neighborhoods

I'm already happy I started this thread. That sounds like my next read!

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Death and Life of Great American Cities is also my favorite, hands down.

Speaking of Jane Jacobs, has anyone read her newest book, Dark Age Ahead, and is it any good? I'm having a hard time finding a copy of it around here.

There's also a book called The Sense of Place by a guy named Tony Hiss that is pretty good. James Howard Kunstler's first book, The Geography of Nowhere is also a good read IMO.

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Speaking of Jane Jacobs, has anyone read her newest book, Dark Age Ahead, and is it any good?

I read the first few pages at schulars a few month ago. It was very negative as I remember. I thought it was un-Jacobs like in that regard. In the past IMO she been more nuetral toward the future.

EDIT: What is going on with the quotes?

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Can you give me a little more insight into these two?  They both sound very interesting. 

I just read a thesis from one of the urban planet articles.  It was about the rise and dominance of New York; it was pretty good.

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Sure...

A Sense of Place spends a lot of time talking about what makes places "feel" they way they do. He uses the example of NYC's Grand Central Station a lot, and how the building, architecture, people, etc and everything going on at once creates a very distinct "feel". He also talks a lot about this kind of feeling in larger parks, such as Central Park. It's been awhile since I read this one, so my memory is a little fuzzy :wacko:

As for Kunstler's book, The Geography of Nowhere, it talks about how we have destroyed traditional main streets, small towns, and city cores with stupid zoning laws, sprawl, auto-dependency, etc etc. He says we have thrown a lot of history in the garbage by tearing down beautiful buildings and replacing them with crap. (GR City Hall, anyone? :) ) I first read this book a few years ago for a college class, and it really opened my eyes to good vs. bad urban design. It is a rather negative book and he focuses a lot of his rage towards cars. My only complaint is that he spends a lot of time pointing out mistakes and errors, but not a lot of practical, realistic ways to fix these errors. However, it is addressed more in his second book, although he makes it sound like making these changes is a peice of cake that can happen over night, which is definately not the case. He is also an engaging writer who keeps your attention, which is good. I found A Sense of Place to be a little dry.

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Two book that I have in front of me now:

Home From Nowhere by James Kunstler- if you like The Geography of Nowhere, then you will love the first half of this book.

A Feild Guide To Sprawl by Dolores Hayden and Jim Wark is more heavy on photographs. It is an ABC guidebook of sprawl developments and terms like "Logo Buildings", "Mall Glut", and "Ozoner". Each term is defined and has a overhead photo of a real world example. Not too heavy but still a good read.

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Not necessarily urban related, but more economics:

Freakonomics - Steven Levitt

Blink and The Tipping Point - Malcolm Gladwell

I thought these were all interesting and easy reads.

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Not necessarily urban related, but more economics:

Freakonomics - Steven Levitt

Blink and The Tipping Point - Malcolm Gladwell

I thought these were all interesting and easy reads.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I can't remember the title of this one, but it was about the underground of NYC... i.e., how the subways were built, etc. VERY interesting.

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What are your favorite books dealing with anything urban?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Inside Game / Outside Game by David Rusk is one of my favorites.

I also like Comeback Cities by Paul Grogan and Tony Proscio

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Living Downtown: The History of Residential Hotels in the United States

by Paul E. Groth

I used to own this one and absolutely pored over it. ISBN: 0520219546

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I can't recommend "Death and Life of Great American Cities" enough to this board. Another good one by Jane Jacobs is "The Economy of Cities," which explains how successful urban areas become self-sustaining engines for cultural and economic development.

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