Reflecting on Planning and the Planet: Summer Readings that Help You Think

Lastmonth’s blog outlined how to find books recommended by many planners—important,classic, or accessible. However,summer is also a time to push your viewpoint a bit further. For those wantingreadings that might push you tothink differently about planning, the following lists are useful startingpoints. (And a note to planners—we need more of these lists reflecting different placesand people and issues!)

2 minute read

June 29, 2008, 2:14 PM PDT

By Ann Forsyth


Lastmonth's blog outlined how to find books recommended by many planners-important,classic, or accessible.

However,summer is also a time to push your viewpoint a bit further. For those wantingreadings that might push you tothink differently about planning, the following lists are useful startingpoints. (And a note to planners-we need more of these lists reflecting different placesand people and issues!)

  • Interested in good books from academic planning authors, then go to the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning. ACSP gives the Davidoff award roughly every two years. The winners used to be  listed at the bottom of the nomination page  but were unfortunately dropped in their new web site (updated 2010) and include some favorites like Lisa Peattie's Planning: Rethinking Ciudad Guayana and Peter Marris' Meaning and Action.
  • More internationally, while United Nations publications aren't noted for their gripping character, there are important exceptions. The UN Habitat publications released in conjunction with Eathscan receive good reviews from my undergraduate students. They see them as well illustrated, accessible, informative, and "balanced" in terms of covering a range of topics, views, and geographies, see http://www.earthscan.co.uk/?tabid=37&st=basic&se=habitat. However, various UN agencies also provide free books including the Department of Economic and Social Affairs' highly illustrated Trends in Sustainable Development 2008-2009 at http://www.un.org/esa/sustdev/publications/trends2008/

Andonce you have spent some days investigating these statistics you might try thislist of the 100 favorite mysteries of the 20th century from the IndependentMystery Booksellers Association at http://www.mysterybooksellers.com/favorites.html#favorites.I am personally testing out a number on this list this summer.


Ann Forsyth

Trained in planning and architecture, Ann Forsyth is a professor of urban planning at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. From 2007-2012 she was a professor of city and regional planning at Cornell. She taught previously at at the University of Minnesota, directing the Metropolitan Design Center (2002-2007), Harvard (1999-2002), and the University of Massachusetts (1993-1999) where she was co-director of a small community design center, the Urban Places Project. She has held short-term positions at Columbia, Macquarie, and Sydney Universities.

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