I lately had to re-arrange my books. Luckily, they are all digital, so I didn’t have to carry them around, but my cataloging method was really messed up, and I had to transfer files between folders. I know, it’s a first world problem. Anyway, while doing so, I came across some great books I’ve recently read about urban planning. Here are three of them:
Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America, One Step at a Time / Jeff Speck (2012)
Jeff Speck is an American urbanist based in Washington DC. His latest book, Walkable City, is his successful manifesto for making cities more walkable. The core of the book consists of ten chapters, or ‘steps’ in Speck’s words, each is dealing with a different aspect of the relation between walkability and cities. Speck keeps it short and doesn’t address only to experts - I actually used some of the examples in the book to explain to some laymen acquaintances about urban planning.
I strongly recommend to also purchase the audiobook, narrated by Speck himself. I listened to the entire thing while jogging around my neighborhood when I lived in Stockholm, a truly walkable city.
Human Transit: How Clearer Thinking about Public Transit Can Enrich Our Communities and Our Lives / Jarrett Walker (2011)
This book deals with the "whys" and the "hows" of urban planning, but from a different perspective, than Speck. While Speck is talking mainly about walking, Jarrett Walker has dedicated the entire book for public transportation and how to get this complex and controversial topic right. Walker is a well-experienced transit planner and also the author of a fascinating blog dealing with public transit. Unlike Speck’s book, I wouldn’t recommend this book to everybody, especially if they don’t have a basic knowledge of planning. However, if you are interested in this very important aspect, Human transit is a great opportunity to have some great insights.
You can follow Walker on twitter. Sometimes he is publishing deals on the book.
Urban Street Design Guide / National Association of City Transportation Officials (2013)
I have mentioned the Urban Street Design Guide before, but it deserves some more attention in this blog. The National Association of City Transportation Officials have basically summed up, in a visual way, their guidelines for street design. Unlike the two books above, one is not expected to read it from cover to cover, but rather occasionally look up a specific design. I have to admit that I did read it cover to cover and enjoyed every moment.