100 Essential Books of Planning: Decade Nine


A new golden age emerges — at least for the publication of planning books. Several new concepts catch hold with the public and the profession such as sustainability and livability. The public begins to take an active interest in planning and community visioning and new forms of participation emerge. New concerns over the impacts of natural hazards add to the planners concern with the environment.

Making Equity Planning Work

Leadership in the Public Sector
Norman Krumholz, John Forester

The book provides one of the first detailed personal accounts of a sustained and effective equity-planning practice that influenced urban policy. Recounting their real-life experiences in equity planning in Cleveland, the authors give a clear illustration through case studies.

Edge City

Life on the New Frontier
Joel Garreau

Garreau examines America's "edge cities" or suburban cities, chronicling their rise across the country over the past 100 years. His work changed the perception of suburbia and its role relative to central cities. As people moved to suburbs, so did employment. The size and number of these cities influences how planning now approaches edge cities and their social implications.

Great Streets

Allan B. Jacobs

Jacobs demonstrates the importance of streets as placemaking elements through beautifully drafted plans and illustrations of worthy prototypes. He explores how design shapes a street and the importance of streets in creating community.

The New Urbanism

Toward an Architecture of Community
Peter Katz et al.

A seminal work, the book that introduced new urbanism to a wide popular audience and enthusiastic professionals, Katz and colleagues offered case studies and handsome illustrations to make their points. The book captured the movement to reestablish a sense of neighborhood and community in face of sprawl.

Visions for a New American Dream

Process, Principles, and an Ordinance to Plan and Design Small Communities
Anton Nelessen

The growing sophistication and emphasis on tools for helping communities visualize growth and change was encapsulated in Nelessen's book. His Visual Preference Survey was one of the first visioning tools. In addition, his ability to illustrate neo-traditional design helped awaken an interest in historic character and quality of design that emerged in force as a planning concern in the 1990s.

Rural By Design

Maintaining Small Town Character
Randall Arendt

Growing out of his work in New England and an appreciation for the design of small communities, Arendt revealed how towns could grow and maintain their character through density, good site planning, and compatible design. His work reinforced efforts to achieve growth management, address sprawl, and the conserve natural and cultural landscapes. Arendt offered, with grace and humor, practical solutions to guiding growth and conserving land.

Ethical Land Use

Principles of Policy and Planning
Timothy Beatley

Planning as a professional with an adopted code of ethics expanded its view of ethical professional practice in this work. Beatley maintained that planning policy decisions invariably involve ethical choices and used actual case studies and hypothetical scenarios to guide planners to ethical choices in their everyday work.

The Geography of Nowhere

The Rise and Decline of America's Man-Made Landscape
James Howard Kunstler

Tracing America's evolution from tight-knit and coherent communities to a landscape of sprawl and anonymity, Kunstler discussed the stark economic, social, and spiritual costs paid for this lifestyle. Kunstler's impact was to call attention to the loss of community identity. He called upon readers to reinvent the places of live and work for a revived civic art and life.

Best Development Practices

Doing the Right Thing and Making Money at the Same Time
Reid Ewing

Ewing draws upon case examples of some of today's most acclaimed developments and recommends best practice guidelines to help developers create vibrant, livable communities — and still make money. One of the rare studies of how places are developed using sound planning principles (at least in part) and measures the result. The books practical advice proved to be a great draw.

Natural Hazard Mitigation

Recasting Disaster Policy and Planning
David R. Godschalk, Timothy Beatley, Philip Berke, David J. Brower, Edward J. Kaiser, Charles C. Bohl, R. Matthew Goebel

The role of planning in hazard mitigation and recovery appeared on the agenda in the 1990s as the issues of climate change and sustainability became more pressing. This book, one of the first thorough discussions of the issue, provided insight into how hazard mitigation both worked and needed to be reformed.

Transportation for Livable Cities

Vukan R. Vuchic

Vuchic placed transportation at the heart good planning. He explores its role in smart growth and sustainable urban living, covering everything from roads and transit to traffic calming.

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