Two new texts guide practitioners and students in planning for resilience and ecological planning

Two new texts guide practitioners and students in planning for resilience and ecological planning

Texas A&M University

Island Press’ fall 2014 catalog featured two new offerings from scholars associated with Texas A&M University’s Department of Landscape Architecture & Urban Planning.

Procedures to create resilient communities — places that avoid, absorb and recover quickly from natural disasters — are detailed in “Planning for Community Resilience,” a new handbook that shows communities how to lower their risks from physical and social hazards by assessing their vulnerabilities and creating a plan to address them. Resilience, the authors point out, depends on planning that considers all populations in the community.

Disaster resiliency is a crucial issue for communities everywhere, said co-author Walter Gillis Peacock, director of the university’s Hazard Reduction & Recovery Center (HRRC).

“The number of natural disasters occurring annually has more than doubled globally since 1980,” he said. “These catastrophes are increasing in number and magnitude, causing greater damage from rising sea levels and other effects of climate change.”

The book, based on HRRC research along the Texas coast, is intended for city planners, elected officials, floodplain managers, natural hazard managers, planning commissioners, local business leaders and citizen organizers. It evolved from a curriculum developed and delivered by the authors for the APA’s Planner’s Training Service (PTS) in 2011 and 2012.

The book’s coauthors are John Cooper, associate professor of practice in the Department of Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning, Jaimie Hicks Masterson, program coordinator for the Texas Target Communities program, Shannon Van Zandt, director of the Center for Housing and Urban Development, and Himanshu Grover, an assistant professor of urban planning at the University of Washington, who earned a Ph.D. in Urban and Regional Science at Texas A&M in 2010.  They are joined by former Galveston planner Lori Feild Schwarz, now Comprehensive Planning Manager for Plano, TX.

Also featured in Island Press’ fall line-up is “The Ecological Design and Planning Reader,” a collection of scholarly works including theory, methods and exemplary practice, that spans 150 years, from Henry David Thoreau’s “Walden 1854” to an investigation of ecological planning in The Woodlands, Texas.  This new book of classic and contemporary writings illustrating key themes shaping the theory and practice of ecological design and planning, compiled by Forster Ndubisi, head of Texas A&M’s Department of Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning, became available in early December 2014.

“The collection provides students, scholars, researchers and practitioners with a solid foundation for understanding the relationship between human systems and the natural environment,” states the book’s publisher, Island Press. “Concerted efforts to balance human use with ecological concerns are needed now more than ever, as humanity experiences rapid global urbanization, with intensified pressures on the natural environment to accommodate people’s daily needs for food, work, shelter and recreation.”

Posted January 5, 2015

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