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New Book - "Cities Alive: Jane Jacobs, Christopher Alexander, and the Roots of the New Urban Renaissance"

Sustasis Press
Oct 16, 2017
Portland , OR


What are the key ideas behind the UN's "New Urban Agenda"? In a time of rapid urbanization, how will they be implemented?

A new book by Michael Mehaffy, named one of Planetizen's "100 Most Influential Urbanists," describes the overlapping ideas of Jane Jacobs and Christopher Alexander, two of the most fascinating and important thinkers about cities. Mehaffy, a consultant on the New Urban Agenda, describes how both authors made key contributions to the ideas behind this historic document -- adopted by consensus by all 193 member states of the UN -- and both contributed to our deepening understanding of how cities can work best for people.

Cities Alive - cover"Lively and easy to read... very helpfully brings the ideas of Jacobs and Alexander to our discussions of the future of city. The final chapters really shine, outlining the ways that their “complex systems thinking” produces key concepts for urban planning and design — with the help of Mehaffy, translating their work into useful knowledge and practices."

— Setha Low, Director, Public Space Research Group, The Graduate Center, CUNY

"I can’t think of anyone better to write this important book than Michael Mehaffy - one of the most thoughtful and articulate writers on both Jane Jacobs and Christopher Alexander. They are both pioneers of the placemaking movement that is now becoming global."

— Fred Kent, President, Project for Public Spaces

“Talented at taking seemingly abstract ideas like pattern languages and making them realistic and implementable.”

— Emily Talen, Professor of Planning, University of Chicago

“A major a very deep and readable account of city structure.” 

— Nikos Salingaros, mathematician and urban theorist 

"I find his voice as a writer fascinating and compelling."

— Christopher Alexander, architect and author

The book is ideal for practicing professionals, elected officials, students, activists, and anyone who cares about the future of cities.

The author, Michael W. Mehaffy, Ph.D., is currently Senior Researcher in urban sustainability at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, and Director of the Future of Places Research Network. He is also Director of the Sustasis Foundation based in Portland, Oregon. He is an educator, speaker and consultant in sustainable development with an international practice.

The book is available for order now in paperback ($19.95) and eBook ($9.95) through Amazon and other booksellers.  Further information and links are at

Published on:
October 15, 2017 - 11:15am
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