Thursday, December 29, 2011

Urbanism in the Age of Climate Change

by Laura Kozak

Peter Calthorpe (Island Press, 2011)
With a methodology that is both academic and practical, Berkley scholar and designer Peter Calthorpe, a founder of the Congress for New Urbanism, establishes a powerful argument for the future of cities, citing transportation and urban design as the most significant opportunities for simultaneously improving quality of life and reducing carbon emissions. Calthorpe provides a big-picture snapshot of current and projected trends in global and American fuel consumption, carbon emissions and land use, with a tone that is decidedly absent of a dooms-day inevitability. Instead, we are offered an optimistic championing of urbanism; principles that harken back to the urban planning of pre-automobile America, with the added benefit of 21st century technology. The book also articulates a 21st century imperative: the world is urbanizing, and the organization of cities will be a key tool in addressing climate change.
Urbanism in the Age of Climate Change takes an interdisciplinary though non-holistic approach, both in its exploration of the problems cities face, and in its offering of solutions. Prioritizing quantitative analysis - that is, statistics and studies that look at the spatial organization of the city, measurable performance aspects and human statistics - Urbanism does not take an in-depth look at economics or socio-political factors, or their impact on the conditions of urban life.

more urban planning book reviews:

The Heights: The Anatomy of a Skyscraper

Book - Architecture and Violence

Léon Krier discusses The Architecture of Community

The City Beautiful Movement by William H. Wilson

Book Review: Self Sufficient City Envisioning the habitat of the future

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