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One Line:

Pacific-based architecture firm WOHA offers a sustainable, urban alternative to the environmentally and socially destructive nature of modern mega cities.

Review:

Four years after the release of Breathing Architecture, Garden City Mega City continues to chronicle the pursuit of sustainable architecture and planning by Pacific-based architecture firm WOHA. Folding in subsequent years of creative proposals–both built and unbuilt–this new publication focuses on the environmental and social challenges of hyper-density in tall buildings. Author and photographer Patrick Bingham-Hall helps […]

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Reviewed: The Permaculture City

By: Toby Hemenway

One Line:

A well-written introduction to the notion of permaculture as a mantra for a lifestyle in the pursuit of balance and likely best suited for those new to the ideas and goals of sustainable living.

Review:

The roots of “permaculture” lie in sustainable farming practices. Centered around the use of natural, complementary relationships between crops in close proximity the resulting synergy produces higher yields per acre without the chemical backbone of single-crop farming. The idea is that any given plot can have a network of overlapping crops to form an agricultural ecosystem. The […]

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Reviewed: The Third Plate

By: Dan Barber

One Line:

A bold vision of evolution looking both backwards and forwards to build an ecological map for how our country grows and prepares its food.

Review:

Some could look at the 20th century as an era of achievement for American agriculture. Advancements in the crops we grow and how we grow them has bred an industry that can harvest more yield per acre than ever before. Companies have streamlined the processes of maintaining and harvesting produce to be ready for an […]

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Reviewed: Food Foolish

By: John M. Mandyck &Eric B. Schultz

One Line:

A fresh utilization of data from many sources helps to underscore the gravity of a global dilemma of food waste while falling short of the path and implementation of solutions.

Review:

Authors John Mandyck and Eric Schultz peel back the rind on the issue of food waste to showcase the gravity of its effects on not only the environment, but economic and cultural realities across the world. Together, the authors frame our propensity of wasting food as a truly global dilemma, leaving virtually all cultures around […]

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Reviewed: Retrofitting Suburbia: Urban Design Solutions for Redesigning Suburbs

By: Ellen Dunham-Jones &June Williamson

One Line:

A valuable overview of the challenges facing the outmoded nature of the American suburban landscape and analysis of the crucial first steps to be taken towards the next stage in the evolution of our development patterns.

Review:

The American development pattern of suburban planning has reached a level of maturity that allowed for a more thorough critique by the design community. Beyond its original goals of increasing home ownership and fostering living potential outside of city centers, the full effects of suburban planning are clearer now than ever before. It would be […]

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Reviewed: The Smart Growth Manual

By: Andres Duany, Jeff Speck, and Mike Lydon

One Line:

The experience of three planning veterans boiled into a valid list of smart growth concepts that can serve as a primer for new development efforts.

Review:

While there has been notable traction in the design community for efforts to retool the assumptions for sub-urban planning in America, in some ways the movement of “Smart Growth” suffers from the same haunting characteristics of “sustainability.” The very broadness of both terms, necessary to encapsulate the scale of all they contain and can possible […]

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Dark Age Ahead

By: Jane Jacobs

One Line:

Well known for her voice of calm critique, Jacobs examines the necessity several pillars of cultural vibrancy as well as why our failing to maintain them could levy an age of cultural deficiency for modern day North America that compromises defining aspects of who we are.

Review:

For those that have read the works of Jane Jacobs, she is not prone to writing about all of the things we are doing extremely well.  Her final literary installment is no different. Jacobs references historic Dark Ages–eras of where large amounts of resilience and cultural capital are lost–and relates them to the present course […]

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One Line:

From broad strokes to streetscape specifics, the author covers the deficiencies of modern street planning that hinder the pedestrian experience as well a coordinated attack to solve them. 

Review:

In the age of millennials, walkability is all the rage. If you’re talking to people born after 1975 then chances are giving planning preference to bikers and walkers will get you some head-bobs or thumbs up. The data continually points to younger populations being less interested in automotive access and more keen on what can […]

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Sustainable Urbanism: Urban Design With Nature

By: Douglas Farr

One Line:

A well-crafted overview of sustainable planning strategies with a broad lens that is valuable for a range of readers as a foundation to a library of stewardship.

Review:

The complexity of sustainability is one of its worse enemies. Our modern attempts to condense information can run counter to helping others understand the intricacies of our biosphere. With only portions of information the solutions can see deceivingly easy, mistakenly small in number or both. Some of the stronger voices end up being the ones […]

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Explosion Green

By: David Gottfried

One Line:

A low-stress read for an informative look behind the curtain from a key figure responsible for the start of the green building movement. 

Review:

For over two decades the USGBC’s LEED rating system has been an undeniably important part of the story of sustainability entering into the industries responsible for our built environment. Thanks to the work of countless individuals and organizations LEED is now a term known broadly outside of the cadre that designs and constructs buildings as well […]

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