Once you’ve read a few good book on visionary town planning, it doesn’t make you angry when you see uninspiring littered communities with bad town planning, it just makes you sad, as you know that towns can be so much more. So rather than get exasperated with town planners, it may just be they have little imagination and knowledge. So rather than send an angry email, why not gift them one or more of these books?! Also read of the importance of our public parks.
Why Public Space Matters is a book that suggests to not sell off land to business, but make public spaces sustainable greenways for the public to play, meet, talk, read, debate and work. Looking at public spaces from New York to Costa Rica, the author shows why they matter and why they are at risk, then looks at how we can expand and protect them, both at grassroots and national level. Setha M Low is a professor of environmental psychology, and director of the Public Space Research Group at the City University of New York.
For green spaces, avoid toxic plants near pets (also don’t plant in railings, where nocturnal wildlife could get trapped). Avoid facing indoor foliage to gardens, to help stop birds flying into windows.
The Smart Growth Manual is the ultimate guide to town planning by American architect who designed the towns of Seaside (Florida) and Mt. Laurel (Alabama). Also read Street Design which covers building height to street width ratios, landscaping and street geometry.
People Cities is a book looking at how Danish architect Jan Gehl transformed Copenhagen from traffic gridlock to the world’s walking paradise. He made the main street carfree, then brought in cycle renting areas, heated the streets (it’s Denmark!) to encourage people to socialise in the evening without cars. His work has influenced many places worldwide, with the philosophy that when you plan (or makeover a city) you have to do from ‘walking speed’ not through driving through an area.
digital before/after images of New Urbanism
Urban Advantage is a free ‘online book’ for town planners, by an American who earns his living producing digital before/after images of what towns could look like by widening pavements, planting trees etc. Take a look – it’s pretty addictive when you see what can be done!
a town centre; we all recognise this, don’t we?
a private street of houses:
a public space for all:
a route to school: