Urban Studies
Featured Items
The City in Mind: Meditations on the Urban Condition
The City in Mind
Meditations on the Urban Condition
Paperback      ISBN: 0743227239

In the highly acclaimed The Geography of Nowhere, James Howard Kunstler declared suburbia "a tragic landscape" and fueled a fierce debate over how we will live in twenty-first-century America. Here, Kunstler turns his discerning eye to urban life in America and beyond in dazzling excursions to classical Rome, the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan, Louis-Napoleon's Paris, the "gigantic hairball" that is contemporary Atlanta, the ludicrous spectacle of Las Vegas, and more. Seeking to discover what is constant and enduring in cities at their greatest, Kunstler explores how America got lost in suburban wilderness and locates pathways that might lead to civic revival. His authoritative tour is both a concise history of cities and a stunning critique of how they can aid or hinder social and civil progress. By turns dramatic and comic, The City in Mind is an exceptional glimpse into the urban condition.

The Civilized Engineer
The Civilized Engineer
Paperback      ISBN: 0312025599

Civil engineer Samuel Forman's The Civilized Engineer is aimed at both those observing and commenting externally on engineering, and the practicing engineer--to reveal something of the art behind great engineering achievements, and to stimulate debate upon the author's hypothesis that "in its moment of ascendance, engineering is faced with the trivialization of its purpose and the debasement of its practice."

Rachel and Her Children: Homeless Families in America
Rachel and Her Children
Homeless Families in America
Paperback      ISBN: 0307345890

The story that jolted the conscience of the nation when it first appeared in The New Yorker

Jonathan Kozol is one of America's most forceful and eloquent observers of the intersection of race, poverty, and education. His books, from the National Book Award-winning Death at an Early Age to his most recent, the critically acclaimed Shame of the Nation, are touchstones of the national conscience. First published in 1988 and based on the months the author spent among America's homeless, Rachel and Her Children is an unforgettable record of the desperate voices of men, women, and especially children caught up in a nightmarish situation that tears at the hearts of readers. With record numbers of homeless children and adults flooding the nation's shelters, Rachel and Her Children offers a look at homelessness that resonates even louder today.
Sidewalk
Sidewalk
Paperback      ISBN: 0374527253

An exceptional ethnography marked by clarity and candor, Sidewalk takes us into the socio-cultural environment of those who, though often seen as threatening or unseemly, work day after day on "the blocks" of one of New York's most diverse neighborhoods. Sociologist Duneier, author of Slim's Table, offers an accessible and compelling group portrait of several poor black men who make their livelihoods on the sidewalks of Greenwich Village selling secondhand goods, panhandling, and scavenging books and magazines.

Duneier spent five years with these individuals, and in Sidewalk he argues that, contrary to the opinion of various city officials, they actually contribute significantly to the order and well-being of the Village. An important study of the heart and mind of the street, Sidewalk also features an insightful afterword by longtime book vendor Hakim Hasan. This fascinating study reveals today's urban life in all its complexity: its vitality, its conflicts about class and race, and its surprising opportunities for empathy among strangers.

Sidewalk is an excellent supplementary text for a range of courses:

INTRODUCTION TO SOCIOLOGY Shows how to make important links between micro and macro; how a research project works; how sociology can transform common sense.

RACE AND ETHNIC RELATIONS: Untangles race, class, and gender as they work together on the street.

URBAN STUDIES Asks how public space is used and contested by men and women, blacks and whites, rich and poor, and how street life and political economy interact.

DEVIANCE: Looks at labeling processes in treatment of the homeless;
interrogates the "broken windows" theory of policing.

LAW AND SOCIETY: Closely examines the connections between formal and informal systems of social control.

METHODS: Shows how ethnography works; includes a detailed methodological appendix and an afterword by research subject Hakim Hasan.

CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY Sidewalk engages the rich terrain of recent developments regarding representation, writing, and authority; in the tradition of Elliot Liebow and Ulf Hannerz, it deals with age old problems of the social and cultural experience of inequality; this is a telling study of culture on the margins of American society.

CULTURAL STUDIES: Breaking down disciplinary boundaries, Sidewalk shows how books and magazines are received and interpreted in discussions among working-class people on the sidewalk; it shows how cultural knowledge is deployed by vendors and scavengers to generate subsistence in public space.

SOCIOLOGY OF CULTURE: Sidewalk demonstrates the connections between culture and human agency and innovation; it interrogates distinctions between legitimate subcultures and deviant collectivities; it illustrates conflicts over cultural diversity in public space; and, ultimately, it shows how conflicts over meaning are central to social life.

Magic Lands: Western Cityscapes and American Culture After 1940
Magic Lands
Western Cityscapes and American Culture After 1940
Hardcover      ISBN: 0520077032

The American West conjures up images of pastoral tranquility and wide open spaces, but by 1970 the Far West was the most urbanized section of the country. Exploring four intriguing cityscapes--Disneyland, Stanford Industrial Park, Sun City, and the 1962 Seattle World's Fair--John Findlay shows how each created a sense of cohesion and sustained people's belief in their superior urban environment. This first book-length study of the urban West after 1940 argues that Westerners deliberately tried to build cities that differed radically from their eastern counterparts.

In 1954, Walt Disney began building the world's first theme park, using Hollywood's movie-making techniques. The creators of Stanford Industrial Park were more hesitant in their approach to a conceptually organized environment, but by the mid-1960s the Park was the nation's prototypical "research park" and the intellectual downtown for the high-technology region that became Silicon Valley.

In 1960, on the outskirts of Phoenix, Del E. Webb built Sun City, the largest, most influential retirement community in the United States. Another innovative cityscape arose from the 1962 Seattle World's Fair and provided a futuristic, somewhat fanciful vision of modern life.

These four became "magic lands" that provided an antidote to the apparent chaos of their respective urban milieus. Exemplars of a new lifestyle, they are landmarks on the changing cultural landscape of postwar America.
Building Commons and Community
Building Commons and Community
Hardcover      ISBN: 0976605473

Building Commons and Community documents 45 years of the late Karl Linn's legacy creating neighborhood spaces for communities and by communities. In this richly-ilustrated landscape-format hardcover book, Linn presents his philosophies and practical wisdom.

Linn created some of America's first community design centers, and his work inspired Eunice Shriver to initiate Americorps. In this richly-illustrated book, Linn presents his philosophies and practical wisdom to help people use the resources they find in their own surroundings to create welcoming shared spaces.

In addition to an extensive addendum of resources for creating community commons, this work contains colorful photo-essay case studies of projects that cross boundaries between professional design and neighborhood activism provide inspiration and guidance for citizens and professionals who wish to collaborate to strengthen communities. Projects include community gardens, playgrounds, parks and other gathering places built on derelict or unused property by the people who use them.

Landscape architect and child psychologist Karl Linn (1923-2005) was a beloved, down-to-earth, visionary leader of grassroots community building, who brought life to economically disenfranchised neighborhoods in cities from Boston to Berkeley. His book documents the creativity and ingenuity of working-class citizens, students and volunteer professionals who transformed derelict vacant lots and drab institutional settings into colorful and lively community commons in Boston, New York, Newark, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Louisville KY, Pittsburgh, Columbus OH, Chicago, St. Louis, San Francisco and Berkeley.

Society, Culture, and Urbanization
Society, Culture, and Urbanization
Hardcover      ISBN: 080392478x

Eisenstadt and Shachar provide new insights into the development of urban civilization. They use a comparative and historical approach to analyse early forms of urban development within preindustrial societies. After reviewing the existing theories of urbanization, the authors present a new macrosocietal and comparative theoretical approach. They analyse nine civilizations in the context of their political regimes, social processes, and cultures.

The Next American Metropolis: Ecology, Community, and the American Dream
The Next American Metropolis
Ecology, Community, and the American Dream
Paperback      ISBN: 1878271687

Regarding issues of urban sprawl Visit Sprawl Net, at Rice University. It's under construction, but it should be an interesting resource. Check out the traffic in the land of commuting. And, finally, enjoy Los Angeles: Revisiting the Four Ecologies.

Amazing Grace: The Lives of Children and the Conscience of a Nation
Amazing Grace
The Lives of Children and the Conscience of a Nation
Paperback      ISBN: 0060976977

The children in this book defy the stereotypes of urban youth too frequently presented by the media. Tender, generous and often religiously devout, they speak with eloquence and honesty about the poverty and racial isolation that have wounded but not hardened them.

The book does not romanticize or soften the effects of violence and sickness. One fourth of the child-bearing women in the neighborhoods where these children live test positive for HIV. Pediatric AIDs, life-consuming fires and gang rivalries take a high toll. Several children die during the year in which this narrative takes place.

A gently written work, Amazing Grace asks questions that are at once political and theological. What is the value of a child's life? What exactly do we plan to do with those whom we appear to have defined as economically and humanly superfluous? How cold -- how cruel, how tough -- do we dare be?

Biopolis: Patrick Geddes and the City of Life
Biopolis
Patrick Geddes and the City of Life
Hardcover      ISBN: 0262232111

The Scottish urbanist and biologist Patrick Geddes (1854-1932) is perhaps best known for introducing the concept of region to architecture and planning. At the turn of the 20th century, he was one of the strongest advocates of town planning and an active participant in debates about the future of the city. He was arguably the first planner to recognize the importance of historic city centres, and his renewal work in Edinburgh's Old Town is visible and impressive to this day.