The Heart of the City: Creating Vibrant Downtowns for a New Century

Island Press
Free sample

Downtowns are more than economic engines: they are repositories of knowledge and culture and generators of new ideas, technology, and ventures. They are the heart of the city that drives its future. If we are to have healthy downtowns, we need to understand what downtown is all about; how and why some American downtowns never stopped thriving (such as San Jose and Houston), some have been in decline for half a century (including Detroit and St. Louis), and still others are resurging after temporary decline (many, including Lower Manhattan and Los Angeles). The downtowns that are prospering are those that more easily adapt to changing needs and lifestyles.

In The Heart of the City, distinguished urban planner Alexander Garvin shares lessons on how to plan for a mix of housing, businesses, and attractions; enhance the public realm; improve mobility; and successfully manage downtown services. Garvin opens the book with diagnoses of downtowns across the United States, including the people, businesses, institutions, and public agencies implementing changes. In a review of prescriptions and treatments for any downtown, Garvin shares brief accounts—of both successes and failures—of what individuals with very different objectives have done to change their downtowns. The final chapters look at what is possible for downtowns in the future, closing with suggested national, state, and local legislation to create standard downtown business improvement districts to better manage downtowns.

This book will help public officials, civic organizations, downtown business property owners, and people who care about cities learn from successful recent actions in downtowns across the country, and expand opportunities facing their downtown. Garvin provides recommendations for continuing actions to help any downtown thrive, ensuring a prosperous and thrilling future for the 21st-century American city.
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About the author

Alexander Garvin is currently an adjunct professor at the Yale School of Architecture and President and CEO of AGA Public Realm Strategists, Inc., a planning and design firm in New York City that is responsible for significant public-realm projects throughout the United States. Over the last 49 years, he has held prominent positions in five New York City administrations, including Deputy Commissioner of Housing and City Planning Commissioner. He is the author of numerous books including The American City: What Works and What Doesn't and What Makes a Great City, published in 2016 by Island Press.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Island Press
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Published on
May 7, 2019
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Pages
264
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ISBN
9781610919500
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Language
English
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Genres
Architecture / Sustainability & Green Design
Architecture / Urban & Land Use Planning
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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We inhabit a vulnerable planet. The devastation caused by natural disasters such as the southern Asian tsunami, Hurricanes Katrina and Ike, and the earthquakes in China's Sichuan province, Haiti, and Chile—as well as the ongoing depletion and degradation of the world's natural resources caused by a burgeoning human population—have made it clear that "business as usual" is no longer sustainable. We need to find ways to improve how we live on this planet while minimizing our impact on it. Design for a Vulnerable Planet sounds a call for designers and planners to go beyond traditional concepts of sustainability toward innovative new design that fosters regeneration and resilience.

Drawing on his own and others' experiences across three continents, Frederick Steiner advocates design practice grounded in ecology and democracy and informed by critical regionalism and reflection. He begins by establishing the foundation for a more ecological approach to planning and design, adopting a broad view of ecology as encompassing human and natural, urban and wild environments. Steiner explores precedents for human ecological design provided by architect Paul Cret, landscape architect Ian McHarg, and developer George Mitchell while discussing their planning for the University of Texas campus, the Lake Austin watershed, and The Woodlands. Steiner then focuses on emerging Texas urbanism and extends his discussion to broader considerations beyond the Lone Star State, including regionalism, urbanism, and landscape in China and Italy. He also examines the lessons to be learned from human and natural disasters such as 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, and the BP oil spill. Finally, Steiner offers a blueprint for designing with nature to help heal the planet's vulnerabilities.

There has been a revolution in urban transportation over the past five years—set off by start-ups across the US and internationally. Sleek, legible mobility platforms are connecting people to cars, trains, buses, and bikes as never before, opening up a range of new transportation options while improving existing ones. While many large city governments, such as Chicago, New York, and Washington, D.C., have begun to embrace creative forms and processes of government, mstill operate under the weight of an unwieldy, risk-averse bureaucracy.
With the advof self-driving vehicles and other technological shifts upon us, Gabe Klein asks how we can close the gap between the energized, aggressive world of start-ups and the complex bureaucracies struggling to change beyond a geologic time scale. From his experience as a food-truck entrepreneur to a ZipCar executive and a city transportation commissioner, Klein’s career has focused on bridging the public-private divide, finding and celebrating shared goals, and forging better cities with more nimble, consumer-oriented bureaucracies.
In Start-Up City, Klein, with David Vega-Barachowitz, demonstrates how to affect big, directional change in cities—and how to do it fast. Klein's objective is to inspire what he calls “public entrepreneurship,” a start-up-pace energy within the public sector, brought about by leveraging the immense resources at its disposal. Klein offers guidance for cutting through the morass, and a roadmap for getting real, meaningful projects done quickly and having fun while doing it.
This book is for anyone who wants to change the way we live in cities without waiting for the glacial pace of change in government.
During his three terms as mayor of Curitiba, Brazil in the 1970s and ‘80s, architect and urbanist Jaime Lerner transformed his city into a global model of the sustainable and livable community. From the pioneering Bus Rapid Transit system to parks designed to catch runoff and reduce flooding and the creation of pedestrian-only zones, Lerner has been the driving force behind a hof innovative urban projects. In more than forty years of work in cities around the globe, Lerner has found that changes to a community don’t need to be large-scale and expensive to have a transformative impact—in fact, one block, park, or a single person can have an outsized effect on life in the surrounding city.
In Urban Acupuncture, Lerner celebrates these “pinpricks” of urbanism—projects, people, and initiatives from around the world that ripple through their communities to uplift city life. With meditative and descriptive prose, Lerner brings readers around the world to streets and neighborhoods where urban acupuncture has been practiced best, from the bustling La Boqueria market in Barcelona to the revitalization of the Cheonggyecheon River in Seoul, South Korea. Through this journey, Lerner invites us to re-examine the true building blocks of vibrant communities—the tree-lined avenues, night vendors, and songs and traditions that connect us to our cities and to one another.
Urban Acupuncture is the first of Jaime Lerner’s visionary work to be published in English. It is a love letter to the elements that make a street hum with life or a neighborhood feel like home, penned by one of the world’s msuccessful advocates for sustainable and livable urbanism.
Ever lived in or visited a great city and wondered what makes it tick?








Over the next 15 years China is set to urbanise 300 million people and build the equivalent urban area of North America. London is set to grow by two million people by 2030 and in the same period São Paulo will increase by three million. This is the greatest period of urbanisation in human history and yet the buildings and places we are creating leave a great deal to be desired.


The world’s cities are increasingly becoming a one-stop solution of homogenous shopping centres and apartment towers. With hundreds of millions of people set to move to cities in the coming decades there is a huge social responsibility to ensure that people aren’t subjected to identikit lives that compromise health, wellbeing and general happiness.


Living in Wonderland seeks to explore the challenges currently facing urban development and masterplanning and to look at how the places people live, work and shop in can define a neighbourhood or city. Exploring real-life projects across the globe – all studied first-hand by the author – the book aims to encourage debate and promote innovative solutions in development and urbanism.


The book is designed to fill the gap between glossy and superficial coffee table books and theoretical academic papers. Its aim is to inspire practitioners and students of property development, architecture, town planning and anyone with an interest in the urban environment and to demonstrate the vital need to design places for people.

FEW TECHNOLOGICAL ACHIEVEMENTS are as impressive as the ability to see our own planet from outer space. The beautiful sphere suspended against the black void of space makes plain the bond that the billions of us on Earth have in common.

This global consciousness inspires space travellers who then provide emotional and spiritual observations. Their views from outer space awaken them to a grand realization that all who share our planet make up a single community. They think this viewpoint will help unite the nations of the world in order to build a peaceful future for the present generation and the ones that follow.

Many poets, philosophers, and writers have criticized the artificial borders that separate people preoccupied with the notion of nationhood. Despite the visions and hopes of astronauts, poets, writers, and visionaries, the reality is that nations are continuously at war with one another, and poverty and hunger prevail in many places throughout the world, including the United States.

So far, no astronaut arriving back on Earth with this new social consciousness has pro- posed to transcend the world's limitations with a world where no national boundaries exist. Each remains loyal to his/her particular nation-state, and doesn’t venture beyond patriotism - "my country, right or wrong" – because doing so may risk their positions.

Most problems we face in the world today are of our own making. We must accept that the future depends upon us. Interventions by mythical or divine characters in white robes descending from the clouds, or by visitors from other worlds, are illusions that cannot solve the problems of our modern world. The future of the world is our responsibility and depends upon decisions we make today. We are our own salvation or damnation. The shape and solutions of the future depend totally on the collective effort of all people working together.


Prefabrication offers a simple path to the green home of your dreams, and in her latest book, Prefabulous author Sheri Koones highlights the many ways of using prefabrication to create almost-off-the-grid homes—houses that are not only environmentally friendly but often operate at nearly zero annual energy cost.
Taking energy from the grid when necessary and returning any excess energy produced, almost-off-the-grid homes function on a fraction of the energy required by most houses, and additionally are more comfortable, healthier, quieter inside, and far cheaper to operate. As energy costs continue to rise, the almost-off-the-grid house proves its worth.
Prefabulous + Almost Off the Grid profiles more than 30 of the most energy-efficient homes in the United States, and this hardworking guide reveals how homeowners can achieve similar results with floor plans, the latest, most efficient technologies, and multiple images of the exterior and interior of each home.

Praise for Prefabulous + Almost Off the Grid:

Recipient of the 2013 Robert Bruss Gold Book Award from the National Association of Real Estate Editors (NAREE)

“You can build a high quality, environmentally friendly and efficient home at a reasonable price with a look and feel of a traditional home. Advancements like those used in our house and the other houses in this book will transform the homebuilding industry.” —Christine Todd Whitman, former governor of New Jersey and administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency

“The time has come to throw out the old stereotypes and to embrace prefab building techniques as the way of the future—and the best approach for today. For anyone wanting to create a house that’s sustainable in every sense of the word, this book is an excellent place to start.” —Sarah Susanka, architect and author of The Not So Big House series

“I'm passionate about prefab because I know that it can spark an incredibly positive change in the building industry and dramatically reduce costs and construction duration. Prefabulous + Almost Off the Grid is an enlightening guide on using prefab to create your own affordable, energy-efficient home.” —Bruce Ratner, chairman and chief executive of the Forest City Ratner Companies

“Sheri Koones highlights the many ways of using prefabrication to create almost-off-the-grid homes that are not only environmentally friendly but often operate at nearly zero annual energy cost. . . . This is an easy-on-the-eyes guide that includes floor plans and multiple images of the exterior and interior of each home. It is not a manual for green construction, but a general overview of aspects of prefab and green construction. And it does that well.” —Natural Life magazine

“If you’re ready to do something about your energy dependence, or if you enjoy stories of people who’ve bucked the trends, you owe it to yourself to give Prefabulous + Almost Off the Grid a look. Beautifully illustrated, it ends with a great resources list for the homes showcased.” —Examiner.com

“Indispensable guide to creating the ideal, almost-off-the-grid home. . . . This text is both timely and tempting to anyone interested in inhabiting a more comfortable and cost-efficient abode.” —Bask

“This attractive coffee-table-style book, the third in Koones’s Prefabulous series, features 32 prefabricated houses that, to a greater or lesser extent, boast environmentally friendly, efficient, and renewable-energy elements.” —Publishers Weekly
 
The definitive guide to urban planning and design--completely updated and now in full color

In the Third Edition of The American City: What Works, What Doesn't, award-winning city planner and renowned urban scholar Alexander Garvin examines more than 350 programs and projects that have been implemented nationwide in 150 cities and suburbs, evaluates their successes and failures, and offers relevant lessons learned from them.

Nearly all of the book's 650 illustrations are now in full color and consist almost entirely of photographs, maps, and diagrams produced especially for the Third Edition. Garvin discusses major urban initiatives that have emerged over the past two decades, such as Chicago's Millennium Park, Houston's Uptown Business District, and Metropolitan Denver's FasTracks multicounty rapid transit network. He reexamines the wide range of places and strategies covered in the previous edition, offering new analyses and insights. A new chapter on retrofitting the city for a modern commercial economy is included.

This practical guide presents six key ingredients of project success--market, location, design, financing, time, and entrepreneurship--and explains how to combine these elements in a mutually reinforcing manner. Garvin demonstrates how the synthesis of individual and private-sector efforts, community-level action, and broad-based government policy can--and has--achieved urban and suburban regeneration.

COVERAGE INCLUDES:

A realistic approach to city and suburban planning Ingredients of success--market, location, design, financing, time, and entrepreneurship Parks, playgrounds, and open space Retail shopping Palaces for the people--libraries, stadiums, museums, and other public facilities Retrofitting the city for a modern commercial economy The life and death of the City of Tomorrow--implications of national urban redevelopment programs Downtown management Increasing the housing supply Reducing housing costs Housing rehabilitation Clearing the slums Revitalizing neighborhoods Residential suburbs New-towns-in-town New-towns-in-the-country Land use regulation Historic preservation Comprehensive planning
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