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The American City : What Works, What Doesn't

The American City : What Works, What Doesn't
Author: Alexander Garvin
ISBN 13: 9780071373678
ISBN 10: 71373675
Edition: 2
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Professional
Publication Date: 2002-06-19
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 560
List Price: $62.95

Since the release of the First Edition in 1995, this critically acclaimed resource has become THE standard reference work on urban planning and design, providing proven strategies for professionals and priceless "real world" insight for students. This new Second Edition offers detailed, expert coverage of all the latest trends, projects, and programs in the ever-changing world of urban design.

"...a magnificent work. I was expecting the common sense approach to current conditions but I was surprised at the interpolation of historical lessons. There is no one that spans the two worlds better." — Andres Duany (architect and town planner)

"I will read it again and again, sometimes from front to back, sometimes from back to front, sometimes to page through at random, sometimes to consult and help me with a particular problem. I guarantee dog-eared pages within a year." — Paul Goldberger

The American City: What Works, What Doesn't analyzes more than 300 key programs and projects initiated in 150 major cities, suburban areas, and towns—showing why some projects succeeded brilliantly in accomplishing their goals, why others failed, and the lessons to be learned from both the successes and the failures. Taking a unique multidisciplinary approach to the complex challenges of urban and suburban regeneration, this superb sourcebook explores:

* The need for city planning to generate a widespread and sustained private market reaction in order to succeed

* The six ingredients of project success: market, location, design, financing, entrepreneurship, and time

* Innovative ways to revitalize cities through the use of parks, playgrounds, cultural centers, convention centes, shopping centers, sports arenas, and more

* Methods for increasing access to affordable housing and revitalizing neighborhoods

* Everything you need to know about zoning and historical preservation laws


* Added sections on stadiums and entertainment centers, business improvement districts, "big box" retailing, tax credit housing, environmental issues, loft housing, and more

* Coverage of key recent projects in the most significant areas of urban planning

* Complete updates of all statistical information and projects covered in the prior edition

Whether your interest is government, the nonprofit sector, or the private market—if the subject is cities and how they work—this book is the place to begin.

What have been the very best urban and suburban projects conceived and implemented across the United States? What was the guiding philosophy behind each of them? Why were they successful? How did they make our cities, suburban areas, and towns better places?

What projects didn't work and why? Was the philosophy that inspired them misguided or was the failure in the execution? How can these unsuccessful projects help us solve the myriad of today's urban problems?

This new Second Edition of what has become THE standard reference on urban planning and design, practicing city planner and noted urban scholar Alexander Garvin surveys what has been done to improve America's cities over the past 100 years—analyzing more than 300 programs and projects. Taking a rare multidisciplinary approach, Garvin shows how the combination of individual and private-sector efforts, community-level action, and broad-based government policy can and has achieved an urban regeneration.

It is the author's contention that we DO know how to solve urban problems and have been successfully fixing cities for two centuries. He argues, that by studying and learning from the past, we CAN solve each seemingly intractable modern crises and the scarcity of public open space, the lack of safe, affordable housing, the degradation of the environment, the erosion of the tax base, and countless other problems plague our cities and suberbs.

The book presents six ingredients of project success—market, location, design, financing, entrepreneurship, and time—and examines the ways in which these factors affect success or failure. Garvin argues that project success is not enough, and that effective city planning occurs only when the project also improves the surrounding city. Consequently, he calls for a redefinition of urban and surburban planning in which public action generates a desirable, widespread, and sustained private market reaction.


* New issues in urban planning such as stadiums and entertainment centers, business improvement districts, "big box" retailing, tax credit housing, and loft housing

* The use of parks to initiate development, change land use patterns, and reshape entire metropolitan regions

* Methods for increasing access to affordable housing and revitalizing neighborhoods

* The role of civic centers, cultural centers, convention centers, and sports centers as generators of mumicipal improvement

* The ways in which the fully pedestrianized street, the transitway, and second-floor skywalk can affect the economy, utility, and quality of life issues

* PLUS hard-to-find information on zoning law, historic preservation, and environmental protection...a look at government efforts to reduce the cost of housing development through tax policies and direct subsidies...an analysis of the dynamics of neighborhood change...and more prescriptions for solving the urban problems of the new millennium than you will find in any other book on the American city!

Alexander Garvin has combined a career in urban planning and real estate with teaching, architecture, and public service. He is currently Vice President for Planning, Design, and Development of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, commissioner on the New York City Planning Commission, and Managing Director for Planning NYC2012, the committee to bring the Summer Olympics to New York in 2012.

Garvin is Adjunct Professor of Urban Planning and Management at Yale University, where he has taught a wide range of subjects including "Introduction to the Study of the City," which for more than three decades has remained one of the most popular courses in Yale College.

Garvin is one of the principal authors of Urban Parks and Open Space published in 1997 jointly by the Trust for Public Land and the Urban Land Institute. His latest book Parks, Recreation, and Open Space: A 21st Century Agenda, was published in 2001 by the American Planning Association.

American Reference Books Annual

The 1st edition of this work was published in 1995 and very quickly became a classic in the field of urban studies and was adopted as a textbook in many universities for courses in urban planning and related fields. It is not surprising that this new edition was eagerly anticipated. The author, a Yale Professor for Urban Planning and Management for over 35 years, in addition to being a practicing architect and real estate developer, attempted to discover what makes for successful urban planning by examining some 300 programs and projects in cities across the country. He focused on what he terms "the six ingredients of project success" -- market, location, design, financing, entrepreneurship, and time. Unlike previous works in the field, this volume addresses planning from a multidisciplinary approach including architectural, political, sociological, and economical aspects.

Each of the 18 chapters describes various projects and demonstrates how the six ingredients affect the success or failure of planning in specific areas: for example, housing rehabilitation, revitalizing neighborhoods, land use regulation, and preserving the past. Some of the projects described in the 1st edition are updated, as is all of the statistical information. Sections on some newer areas of concern -- entertainment centers, stadiums, environmental issues, and loft housing -- are also added. The table of contents presents an outline of the information in each chapter, making it fairly easy to find subtopics of a particular area; however, the index makes it possible to find specific projects and more detailed information. The text is enhanced by the inclusion of well-chosen black-and-white photographs, someshowing before and after views of urban, and occasionally suburban, development.

Although the book will probably be used most often by students and professionals in some aspect of urban planning, the easy-to-read style, interesting content, and photographs will make it appreciated by others who are interested in making the future of their own environments more beautiful and practically livable. Both academic and public libraries should find this a useful addition to their collection.