Dream Cities: Seven Urban Ideas That Shape the World
Publisher's Description: From the acclaimed landscape designer, historian, and author of American Eden, a lively, unique, and accessible cultural history of modern cities—from suburbs, downtown districts, and exurban sprawl, to shopping malls and “sustainable” developments—that allows us to view them through the planning, design, architects, and movements that inspired, created, and shaped them.
Customer Development & Research Manager, Semrin's recommendation: As a (self-proclaimed) history nerd, I relish the opportunity to learn about how things came to be the way they are. This is an interesting look into some key ideas that shaped the modern cities we know and love!
Publisher's Description: The Human City ponders the purpose of the city and investigates the factors that drive most urban development today. Armed with his own astute research, a deep-seated knowledge of urban history, and a sound grasp of economic, political, and social trends, Kotkin pokes holes in what he calls the “retro-urbanist” ideology and offers a thought-provoking case for dispersion centered on human values.
Customer Development & Research Manager Semrin's Recommendation: The sociologist in me geeks out when economics, politics, and social trends collide. I find it fascinating to understand the human side of urbanism and what drives urban development.
This Is Where You Belong: The Art and Science of Loving the Place You Live
Publisher's Description: "The average restless American will move 11.7 times in a lifetime. For Melody Warnick, it was move #6, from Austin, Texas, to Blacksburg, Virginia, that threatened to unhinge her. In the lonely aftermath of unpacking, she wondered: Aren’t we supposed to put down roots at some point? How does the place we live become the place we want to stay? This time, she had an epiphany. Rather than hold her breath and hope this new town would be her family’s perfect fit, she would figure out how to fall in love with it—no matter what."
Marketing Manager Anna's Recommendation: So if according to the author, most Americans will move nearly a dozen times in a lifetime, I'm over halfway there! I've already moved six times to three different countries. For my inner urbanist, moving to a new place is very exciting, but it also breaks my heart to leave family or friends whenever I move. This book helps you love each move you make, and guides you toward finding inner peace in a new location!
Reviewer's Description: “This book will have a lasting influence on the future quality of public open spaces. By helping us better understand the larger public life of cities, Life between Buildings can only move us toward more lively and healthy public places. Buy this book, find a comfortable place to sit in a public park or plaza, begin reading, look around. You will be surprised at how you will start to see (and design) the world differently.”
Founder/CEO Mariela's Recommendation: If you want to know where I got my fascination with understanding the relationship between the built environment and our behavior, you have three sources to blame for my urban-data geekdom: 1) Miami's lack of place (you've heard me bemoan this a lot on the blog); 2) William Whyte's Social Life of Small Urban Spaces; and 3) this book!! Not only does this perfectly describe the happy medium us urban designers live in - more contextual (outside the building) than the architect and more micro (at the street level) than the planner - it's a superb look at why urban design matters and why its impact on our experiences must be studied, measured, and understood (and yes, through data!). A MUST read!
Customer Development & Research Manager, Semrin's Recommendation: Who says print is dead? In a world where some of our most pressing issues are condensed into 140 characters or less, let’s try to bring back and support publications exploring topics (in depth) that impact our daily lives. Get the politically aware urbanist in your life a subscription to one (ore more) of these top publications (who, yes, also happen to report on some very interesting stories related to urban development). Some of our favorites include: Monocle, New York Times, Washington Post, The Atlantic, The Economist, National Geographic, and Smithsonian Magazine.
In addition, please make sure you are subscribed to your local newspaper and support journalism in your state! And while you're at it, if you're not already subscribed to our newsletter, you can do so here!