This introduction to the field of urban design offers a comprehensive survey of the processes necessary to implement urban design work, explaining the vocabulary, the rules, the tools, the structures, and the resources in clear and accessible style. Providing a comprehensive framework for understanding urban design principles and strategies, the author argues that urban design is both a process and a collaboration in which the different forces involved are knit together. Moving from the regional scale down to the scale of places, the book examines the goals and strategies of the urban designer from the viewpoints of the private sector, public sector, and community. The text is illustrated throughout with photographs and drawings that make theory and practice relevant and alive.
Dobbins (architecture, Georgia Tech Univ.) has actively taught and practiced the professions of architectural design and urban design for 40 years and, until 2002, served as the Atlanta commissioner of planning and development. Here, he summarizes almost half a century of his active professional involvement with architectural design and urban planning. His purpose is to illustrate the public policy and professional pedagogy of urban design as a way to bring together the citizens, politicians, business people, and professionals in common business and design decisions. Dobbins includes a thorough, useful bibliography, listing over 50 authors, including W.H. Whyte, Lewis Mumford, Kevin Lynch, Jonathan Barnett, and Christopher Alexander. VERDICT This is a tedious, difficult read with a dearth of illustrations. It's aimed at students as a textbook of administrative action and decision making and will only be of use to those with a specific technical interest in the subject.—Peter Kaufman, Boston Architectural Coll.