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!)
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.
- Michigan's planning program creates a summer reading list for students that goes beyond the classics: http://taubmancollege.umich.edu/planning/students/recommended_reading/ (Updated 2010). These books can supplement the MIT courseware readings, and the Planners Network Disorientation Guide, in my earlier post. (For the guide go to http://www.plannersnetwork.org/publications/disorientation.html, download the guide, and go to pages 13-15.)
- Smart Growth Online provides a lengthy book list complete with capsule reviews and dealing with topics from affordable housing to green infrastructure at http://www.smartgrowth.org/library/bytype.asp?typ=14 The New England chapter of the Congress for the new Urbanism has a similar but shorter list at http://www.cnunewengland.org/Resources/reading_list.htm
- 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/
- If you are tired of actually reading about planning try watching Hans Rosling's terrific 2006 lecture on global poverty and health statistics: http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/hans_rosling_shows_the_best_stats_you_ve_ever_seen.html (25 mins). You can do this by yourself-and explore his data including variables on urbanization--by downloading the flash animation from Rosling's web site (http://www.gapminder.org/).
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.