Short-listed for the Pushkin House Russian Book Prize
More than twenty years ago, the NPR correspondent Anne Garrels first visited Chelyabinsk, a gritty military-industrial center a thousand miles east of Moscow. The longtime home of the Soviet nuclear program, the Chelyabinsk region contained beautiful lakes, shuttered factories, mysterious closed cities, and some of the most polluted places on earth. Garrels's goal was to chart the aftershocks of the U.S.S.R.'s collapse by traveling to Russia's heartland.
Returning again and again, Garrels found that the area's new freedoms and opportunities were exciting but also traumatic. As the economic collapse of the early 1990s abated, the city of Chelyabinsk became richer and more cosmopolitan, even as official corruption and intolerance for minorities grew more entrenched. Sushi restaurants proliferated; so did shakedowns. In the neighboring countryside, villages crumbled into the ground. Far from the glitz of Moscow, the people of Chelyabinsk were working out their country's destiny, person by person.
In Putin Country, Garrels crafts an intimate portrait of Middle Russia. We meet upwardly mobile professionals, impassioned activists who champion the rights of orphans and disabled children, and ostentatious mafiosi. We discover surprising subcultures, such as a vibrant underground gay community and a circle of determined Protestant evangelicals. And we watch doctors and teachers trying to cope with inescapable payoffs and institutionalized negligence. As Vladimir Putin tightens his grip on power and war in Ukraine leads to Western sanctions and a lower standard of living, the local population mingles belligerent nationalism with a deep ambivalence about their country's direction. Through it all, Garrels sympathetically charts an ongoing identity crisis. In the aftermath of the Soviet Union, what is Russia? What kind of pride and cohesion can it offer? Drawing on close friendships sustained over many years, Garrels explains why Putin commands the loyalty of so many Russians, even those who decry the abuses of power they regularly encounter.
Correcting the misconceptions of Putin's supporters and critics alike, Garrels's portrait of Russia's silent majority is both essential and engaging reading at a time when cold war tensions are resurgent.
A timely revisitation of renowned urbanist-activist Jane Jacobs' lifework, What We See invites thirty pundits and practitioners across fields to refresh Jacobs' economic, social and urban planning theories for the present day. Combining personal and professional observations with meditations on Jacobs' insights, essayists bring their diverse experience to bear to sketch the blueprints for the living city. The book models itself after Jacobs' collaborative approach to city and community building, asking community members and niche specialists to share their knowledge with a broader community, to work together toward a common goal of building the 21st-century city. The resulting collection of original essays expounds and expands Jacobs' ideas on the qualities of a vibrant, robust urban area. It offers the generalist, the activist, and the urban planner practical examples of the benefits of planning that encourages community participation, pedestrianism, diversity, environmental responsibility, and self-sufficiency. Bob Sirman, director of the Canada Council for the Arts, describes how built form should be an embodiment of a community narrative. Daniel Kemmis, former Mayor of Missoula, shares an imagined dialog with Jacobs, discussing the delicate interconnection between cities and their surrounding rural areas. And Roberta Brandes Gratz?urban critic, author, and former head of Public Policy of the New York State Preservation League?asserts the importance of architectural preservation to environmentally sound urban planning practices. What We See asks us all to join the conversation about next steps for shaping socially just, environmentally friendly, and economically prosperous urban communities.
Sustainability may seem like one more buzzword and cities and towns like the last places to change, but The Natural Step for Communities provides inspiring examples of communities that have made dramatic changes toward sustainability and explains how others can emulate their success.
Chronicled in the book are towns like vertorne , whose government operations recently became 100 percent fossil fuel-free, demonstrating that unsustainable municipal practices really can be overhauled. Arguing that the process of introducing change--whether converting to renewable energy or designing compact development--is critical to success, the authors outline why well-intentioned proposals often fail to win community approval and why an integrated approach--not "single-issue" initiatives--can surmount challenges of conflicting priorities, scarce resources and turf battles.
The book first clarifies the concept of sustainability, offering guiding principles--the Natural Step framework--that help identify sustainable action in any area. It then introduces the 60+ eco-municipalities of Sweden that have adopted changes to sustainable practices throughout municipal policies and operations. The third section explains how they did it and outlines how other communities in North America and elsewhere can do the same. Key to success is a democratic, "bottom-up" change process and clear guiding sustainability principles, such as the Natural Step framework.
The book will appeal to both general readers wishing to understand better what sustainability means and practitioners interested in introducing or expanding sustainable development in their communities.
Sarah James is the principal of a community planning consulting firm. She co-authored the American Planning Association's Planning for Sustainability Policy Guide and has published articles throughout the U.S. on this subject.
Torbj rn Lahti was the planner for Sweden's first eco-municipality and is directing a five-year sustainable community demonstration project. He was instrumental in forming the Swedish National Association of Eco-municipalities.
Cities in Sub-Saharan Africa are experiencing rapid population growth. Yet their economic growth has not kept pace. Why? One factor might be low capital investment, due in part to Africa's relative poverty: Other regions have reached similar stages of urbanization at higher per capita GDP. This study, however, identifies a deeper reason: African cities are closed to the world. Compared with other developing cities, cities in Africa produce few goods and services for trade on regional and international markets To grow economically as they are growing in size, Africa's cities must open their doors to the world. They need to specialize in manufacturing, along with other regionally and globally tradable goods and services. And to attract global investment in tradables production, cities must develop scale economies, which are associated with successful urban economic development in other regions. Such scale economies can arise in Africa, and they will--if city and country leaders make concerted efforts to bring agglomeration effects to urban areas. Today, potential urban investors and entrepreneurs look at Africa and see crowded, disconnected, and costly cities. Such cities inspire low expectations for the scale of urban production and for returns on invested capital. How can these cities become economically dense--not merely crowded? How can they acquire efficient connections? And how can they draw firms and skilled workers with a more affordable, livable urban environment? From a policy standpoint, the answer must be to address the structural problems affecting African cities. Foremost among these problems are institutional and regulatory constraints that misallocate land and labor, fragment physical development, and limit productivity. As long as African cities lack functioning land markets and regulations and early, coordinated infrastructure investments, they will remain local cities: closed to regional and global markets, trapped into producing only locally traded goods and services, and limited in their economic growth.
When and how were cities born? Does urbanization foster innovation and economic development? What was the level of urbanization in traditional societies? Did the Industrial Revolution facilitate urbanization? Has the growth of cities in the Third World been a handicap or an asset to economic development?In this revised translation of De J richo Mexico, Paul Bairoch seeks the answers to these questions and provides a comprehensive study of the evolution of the city and its relation to economic life. Bairoch examines the development of cities from the dawn of urbanization (Jericho) to the explosive growth of the contemporary Third World city. In particular, he defines the roles of agriculture and industrialization in the rise of cities. A hefty history, from the Neolithic onward. It's ambitious in scope and rich in subject, detailing urbanization and, of course, the links between cities and economies. Scholarly, accessible, and significant.--Newsday This book offers a path-breaking synthesis of the vast literature on the history of urbanization.--John C. Brown, Journal of Economic Literature One leaves this volume with the feeling of positions intelligently argued and related to the existing state of theory and knowledge. One also has the pleasure of reading a book unusually well-written. It will long both be a standard and stimulate new thought on the central issue of urban and economic growth.--Thomas A. Reiner, Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science
In this eye-opening work of economic theory, Jane Jacobs argues that it is cities--not nations--that are the drivers of wealth. Challenging centuries of economic orthodoxy, in Cities and the Wealth of Nations the beloved author contends that healthy cities are constantly evolving to replace imported goods with locally-produced alternatives, spurring a cycle of vibrant economic growth. Intelligently argued and drawing on examples from around the world and across the ages, here Jacobs radically changes the way we view our cities--and our entire economy.
This collection of essays provides a review and restatement of concepts and analytical insights about the relations between the dynamics of the production system and urban society. A number of questions underline the arrangement of the book, and constitute the central debates in the individual chapters. These questions include: how have large cities and city systems developed in the context of economic globalization and the restructuring processes of the international economy?; what are the restructuring strategies of firms within the urban economy?; how have social and political harmonization and polarization in urban society been affected by entrepreneurial strategies?; and what has been the response of other urban participants, and in particular local authorities to economic restructuring?
The contributors to this collection question the boundaries and limitations that are imposed on the study of cities by urban sociology. They do not disagree that during most of their history, the regions and peoples of the world have been organized hierarchically and that there are differences that need to be explained. But they see the processes and relations that link regions and people together as the main factor that explains these differences. It is the differentiation and not the differences per se that constitute this volume's focus and, in its respective accounts, taking care not to privilege any one region or time period on the basis of its presumed special characteristics. Against this background the book is divided into three parts. Part one deals with places outside of western Europe and with times that preceded the establishment of the European-based capitalist world-economy. The articles in part two discuss the different aspects of the concept of hegemony and the establishment of domination as these apply to cities in the world-system. In part three the focus shifts back to extra-European zones where the patterns of transformation around cities under the aegis of capitalist world-economy are examined.
This book constitutes an important addition to the literature on cities. By approaching cities from a large-scale and a long-term perspective, the contributors develop a historical explanation of some of the different patterns of development that affected particular cities in their interaction with the world-economy. This historical and holistic perspective represents an improvement over most of urban sociology, where cities or aspects of cities are studied in isolation from all contingent and contextual factors. This book can be used by scholars, graduate, and upper-division undergraduate students of urban history and sociology.