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Urban Studies and Planning

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Adaptation and Transformation from the Ground Up

In communities across the country and around the world, people are coming together to rebuild and restore local environments that have been affected by crisis or disaster. In New Orleans after Katrina, in New York after Sandy, in Soweto after apartheid, and in any number of postindustrial, depopulated cities, people work together to restore nature, renew communities, and heal themselves. In Civic Ecology, Marianne Krasny and Keith Tidball offer stories of this emerging grassroots environmental stewardship, along with an interdisciplinary framework for understanding and studying it as a growing international phenomenon.

Krasny and Tidball draw on research in social capital and collective efficacy, ecosystem services, social learning, governance, social-ecological systems, and other findings in the social and ecological sciences to investigate how people, practices, and communities interact. Along the way, they chronicle local environmental stewards who have undertaken such tasks as beautifying blocks in the Bronx, clearing trash from the Iranian countryside, and working with traumatized veterans to conserve nature and recreate community. Krasny and Tidball argue that humans’ innate love of nature and attachment to place compels them to restore nature and places that are threatened, destroyed, or lost. At the same time, they report, nature and community exert a healing and restorative power on their stewards.

Water, Modernity, and the Urban Imagination

Water lies at the intersection of landscape and infrastructure, crossing between visible and invisible domains of urban space, in the tanks and buckets of the global South and the vast subterranean technological networks of the global North. In this book, Matthew Gandy considers the cultural and material significance of water through the experiences of six cities: Paris, Berlin, Lagos, Mumbai, Los Angeles, and London. Tracing the evolving relationships among modernity, nature, and the urban imagination, from different vantage points and through different periods, Gandy uses water as a lens through which to observe both the ambiguities and the limits of nature as conventionally understood.

Gandy begins with the Parisian sewers of the nineteenth century, captured in the photographs of Nadar, and the reconstruction of subterranean Paris. He moves on to Weimar-era Berlin and its protection of public access to lakes for swimming, the culmination of efforts to reconnect the city with nature. He considers the threat of malaria in Lagos, where changing geopolitical circumstances led to large-scale swamp drainage in the 1940s. He shows how the dysfunctional water infrastructure of Mumbai offers a vivid expression of persistent social inequality in a postcolonial city. He explores the incongruous concrete landscapes of the Los Angeles River. Finally, Gandy uses the fictional scenario of a partially submerged London as the starting point for an investigation of the actual hydrological threats facing that city.

Shrinking Our Carbon Footprint While Reimagining Urban Space

The United States has evolved into a nation of twenty densely populated megaregions. Yet despite the environmental advantages of urban density, urban sprawl and reliance on the private car still set the pattern for most new development. Cars guzzle not only gas but also space, as massive acreage is dedicated to roadways and parking. Even more pressing, the replication of this pattern throughout the fast-developing world makes it doubtful that we will achieve the reductions in carbon emissions needed to avoid climate catastrophe. In Rail and the City, architect Roxanne Warren makes the case for compact urban development that is supported by rail transit.

Calling the automobile a relic of the twentieth century, Warren envisions a release from the tyrannies of traffic congestion, petroleum dependence, and an oppressively paved environment. Technical features of rail are key to its high capacities, safety at high speeds, and compactness—uniquely qualifying it to serve as ideal infrastructure within and between cities. Ultimately, mobility could be achieved through extensive networks of public transit, particularly rail, supplemented by buses, cycling, walking, car-sharing, and small, flexible vehicles. High-speed rail, fed by local transit, could eliminate the need for petroleum-intensive plane trips of less than 500 miles.

Warren considers issues of access to transit, citing examples from Europe, Japan, and North America, and pedestrian- and transit-oriented urban design. Rail transit, she argues, is the essential infrastructure for a fluidly functioning urban society.

Visions and Histories of Urban Freeways

Urban freeways often cut through the heart of a city, destroying neighborhoods, displacing residents, and reconfiguring street maps. These massive infrastructure projects, costing billions of dollars in transportation funds, have been shaped for the last half century by the ideas of highway engineers, urban planners, landscape architects, and architects—with highway engineers playing the leading role. In Changing Lanes, Joseph DiMento and Cliff Ellis describe the evolution of the urban freeway in the United States, from its rural parkway precursors through the construction of the interstate highway system to emerging alternatives for more sustainable urban transportation.

DiMento and Ellis describe controversies that arose over urban freeway construction, focusing on three cases: Syracuse, which early on embraced freeways through its center; Los Angeles, which rejected some routes and then built I-105, the most expensive urban road of its time; and Memphis, which blocked the construction of I-40 through its core. Finally, they consider the emerging urban highway removal movement and other innovative efforts by cities to re-envision urban transportation.

Beyond Taco Trucks and Day Labor

Every day in American cities street vendors spread out their wares on sidewalks, food trucks serve lunch from the curb, and homeowners hold sales in their front yards—examples of the wide range of informal activities that take place largely beyond the reach of government regulation. This book examines the “informal revolution” in American urban life, exploring a proliferating phenomenon often associated with developing countries rather than industrialized ones and often dismissed by planners and policy makers as marginal or even criminal. The case studies and analysis in The Informal City challenge this narrow conception of informal urbanism.

The chapters look at informal urbanism across the country, empirically and theoretically, in cities that include Los Angeles, Sacramento, Seattle, Portland, Phoenix, Kansas City, Atlantic City, and New York City. They cover activities that range from unpermitted in-law apartments and ad hoc support for homeless citizens to urban agriculture, street vending and day labor. The contributors consider the nature and underlying logic of these activities, argue for a spatial understanding of informality and its varied settings, and discuss regulatory, planning, and community responses.

Contributors
Jacob Avery, Ginny Browne, Matt Covert, Margaret Crawford, Will Dominie, Renia Ehrenfeucht, Jeffrey Hou, Nabil Kamel, Gregg Kettles, Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris, Kate Mayerson, Alfonso Morales, Vinit Mukhija, Michael Rios, Donald Shoup, Abel Valenzuela Jr. Mark Vallianatos, Peter M. Ward

Mixing Human-Computer Interactions with Human-Food Interactions

Our contemporary concerns about food range from food security to agricultural sustainability to getting dinner on the table for family and friends. This book investigates food issues as they intersect with participatory Internet culture—blogs, wikis, online photo- and video-sharing platforms, and social networks—in efforts to bring about a healthy, socially inclusive, and sustainable food future. Focusing on our urban environments provisioned with digital and network capacities, and drawing on such “bottom-up” sociotechnical trends as DIY and open source, the chapters describe engagements with food and technology that engender (re-)creative interactions.

In the first section, “Eat,” contributors discuss technology-aided approaches to sustainable dining, including digital communication between farmers and urban consumers and a “telematic” dinner party at which guests are present electronically. The chapters in “Cook” describe, among other things, “smart” chopping boards that encourage mindful eating and a website that supports urban wild fruit foraging. Finally, “Grow” connects human-computer interaction with achieving a secure, safe, and ethical food supply, offering chapters on the use of interactive technologies in urban agriculture, efforts to trace the provenance of food with a “Fair Tracing” tool, and other projects.

Contributors
Joon Sang Baek, Pollie Barden, Eric P. S. Baumer, Eli Blevis, Nick Bryan-Kinns, Robert Comber, Jean Duruz, Katharina Frosch, Anne Galloway, Geri Gay, Jordan Geiger, Gijs Geleijnse, Nina Gros, Penny Hagen, Megan Halpern, Greg Hearn, Tad Hirsch, Jettie Hoonhout, Denise Kera, Vera Khovanskaya, Ann Light, Bernt Meerbeek, William Odom, Kenton O’Hara, Charles Spence, Mirjam Struppek, Esther Toet, Marc Tuters, Katharine S. Willis, David L. Wright, Grant Young

Community Reconstruction, Place Remaking, and Environmental Justice in the City

Environmental justice as studied in a variety of disciplines is most often associated with redressing disproportionate exposure to pollution, contamination, and toxic sites. In Neighborhood as Refuge, Isabelle Anguelovski takes a broader view of environmental justice, examining wide-ranging comprehensive efforts at neighborhood environmental revitalization that include parks, urban agriculture, fresh food markets, playgrounds, housing, and waste management. She investigates and compares three minority, low-income neighborhoods that organized to improve environmental quality and livability: Casc Antic, in Barcelona; Dudley, in the Roxbury section of Boston; and Cayo Hueso, in Havana.

Despite the differing histories and political contexts of these three communities, Anguelovski finds similar patterns of activism. She shows that behind successful revitalization efforts is what she calls “bottom to bottom” networking, powered by broad coalitions of residents, community organizations, architects, artists, funders, political leaders, and at times environmental advocacy groups. Anguelovski also describes how, over time, environmental projects provide psychological benefits, serving as a way to heal a marginalized and environmentally traumatized urban neighborhood. They encourage a sense of rootedness and of attachment to place, creating safe havens that offer residents a space for recovery. They also help to bolster residents’ ability to deal with the negative dynamics of discrimination and provide spaces for broader political struggles including gentrification. Drawing on the cases of Barcelona, Boston, and Havana, Anguelovski presents a new holistic framework for understanding environmental justice action in cities, with the right to a healthy community environment at its core.

Today, global land use is affected by a variety of factors, including urbanization and the growing interconnectedness of economies and markets. This book examines the challenges and opportunities we face in achieving sustainable land use in the twenty-first century. While land resources remain finite, the global population is projected to reach ten billion by the end of the century, bringing issues of ethics and fairness to center stage. Who should decide how land is used? Where does competition for land occur, and why? Moreover, accelerating globalization, increasing demand for animal protein in our diets, the need for new sources of energy, and the global scarcity of land have led to a decoupling of land use and local control, which raises issues of governance. The contributors, from a range of disciplines and countries, present new analytical perspectives and tools for understanding key issues in global land use.

The chapters consider such topics as food production and land use; case studies of urbanization and agriculture in Brazil and China; telecoupling and connections to distant places; emerging institutions of land-use governance; public and private regulation of land use; uniquely urban issues of land use; and future steps to sustainability.

Contributors
Graeme Auld, Anthony J. Bebbington, Tor A. Benjaminsen, Hilda Blanco, Christopher G. Boone, Saturnino M. Borras, Jr., Wang Chunyu, Ruth DeFries, Xiangzheng Deng, Hallie Eakin, Jennifer C. Franco, Bradford S. Gentry, Peter J. Gregory, Dagmar Haase, Helmut Haberl, Vanessa Hull, Carol A. Hunsberger, John S. I. Ingram, Elena G. Irwin, Anne-Marie Izac, Suzi Kerr, Jennifer Koch, Tobias Kuemmerle, Eric F. Lambin, Yingzhi Lin, Jianguo Liu, Shuaib Lwasa, Peter J. Marcotullio, Matias E. Margulis, Cheikh Mbow, Ole Mertz, Peter Messerli, Patrick Meyfroidt, Emilio Moran, Harini Nagendra, Stephan Pauleit, Steward T. A. Pickett, Tobias Plieninger, Charles L. Redman, Anette Reenberg, Ximena Rueda, Heike Schroeder, Karen C. Seto, Thomas Sikor, Simon R. Swaffield, Billie Lee Turner II, Caroline Upton, Birka Wicke, Makoto Yokohari, Karl Zimmerer

A History of Suburban Corporate Landscapes

By the end of the twentieth century, America’s suburbs contained more office space than its central cities. Many of these corporate workplaces were surrounded, somewhat incongruously, by verdant vistas of broad lawns and leafy trees. In Pastoral Capitalism, Louise Mozingo describes the evolution of these central (but often ignored) features of postwar urbanism in the context of the modern capitalist enterprise.

These new suburban corporate landscapes emerged from a historical moment when corporations reconceived their management structures, the city decentralized and dispersed into low-density, auto-dependent peripheries, and the pastoral--in the form of leafy residential suburbs--triumphed as an American ideal. Greenness, writes Mozingo, was associated with goodness, and pastoral capitalism appropriated the suburb’s aesthetics and moral code. Like the lawn-proud suburban homeowner, corporations understood a pastoral landscape’s capacity to communicate identity, status, and right-mindedness.

Mozingo distinguishes among three forms of corporate landscapes--the corporate campus, the corporate estate, and the office park--and examines suburban corporate landscapes built and inhabited by such companies as Bell Labs, General Motors, Deere & Company, and Microsoft. She also considers the globalization of pastoral capitalism in Europe and the developing world including Singapore, India, and China. Mozingo argues that, even as it is proliferating, pastoral capitalism needs redesign, as do many of our metropolitan forms, for pressing social, cultural, political, and environmental reasons. Future transformations are impossible, however, unless we understand the past. Pastoral Capitalism offers an indispensible chapter in urban history, examining not only the design of corporate landscapes but also the economic, social, and cultural models that determined their form.

A Landscape History of New England takes a view of New England’s landscapes that goes beyond picture postcard-ready vistas of white-steepled churches, open pastures, and tree-covered mountains. Its chapters describe, for example, the Native American presence in the Maine Woods; offer a history of agriculture told through stone walls, woodlands, and farm buildings; report on the fragile ecology of tourist-friendly Cape Cod beaches; and reveal the ethnic stereotypes informing Colonial Revivalism. Taken together, they offer a wide-ranging history of New England’s diverse landscapes, stretching across two centuries.

The book shows that all New England landscapes are the products of human agency as well as nature. The authors trace the roles that work, recreation, historic preservation, conservation, and environmentalism have played in shaping the region, and they highlight the diversity of historical actors who have transformed both its meaning and its physical form. Drawing on a wide range of disciplines--including history, geography, environmental studies, literature, art history, and historic preservation--the book provides fresh perspectives on New England’s many landscapes: forests, mountains, farms, coasts, industrial areas, villages, towns, and cities. Generously illustrated, with many archival photographs, A Landscape History of New England offers readers a solid historical foundation for understanding the great variety of places that make up New England.

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