Beyond Great: The New Urbanism and Beyond, edited by Tigran Hass

New Urbanism and Beyond from Rizzoli

New Urbanism and Beyond, edited by Tigran Hass and published by Rizzoli is now out and appearing in stores. With an all-star list of contributors, it's certainly one of the most insightful and comprehensive examinations of the New Urbanism (and beyond) since the Charter book.

Here's a review posted by Michael Mehaffy at Amazon :

An outstanding compendium of “some of the brightest urban minds of today“ (Manuel Castells),
May 17, 2008
Michael W. Mehaffy (Portland, Oregon)
This book, which brings together an impressive array of 67 leading thinkers in urbanism today, is likely to become a classic resource for students, instructors, professionals, policymakers, activists, and anyone who is fascinated with cities and their future. It is also a rewarding treasury of ideas, drawings, photographs and case study information, offering a delightful browse or more careful study.

The book, an outgrowth of a 2004 conference at the Swedish Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, presents a provocative range of thought from many of the most legendary thinkers of the last half-century on cities, architecture and urbanism, including Christopher Alexander, Bill Hillier, Peter Hall, Leon Krier, Jan Gehl and many others. Its specific focus is the movement of New Urbanism, and key founders present their case here (Peter Calthorpe, Andres Duany, Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk et al). Critics also have their say (Ayssar Arida, Lars Lerup et al) with additional thoughtful analysis from many in between (Emily Talen, Christopher Alexander et al).

The discussion goes far deeper than the usual stereotyped discussions that often pass for informed debate about a movement that [Herbert Muschamp] of the New York Times called “the most important collective architectural movement in the United States in the past fifty years.“ Editor Tigran Haas argues here that that importance is now global, and therefor it's even more important to understand and to discuss its merits and shortcomings in a more incisive way.

Moreover, the book's scope does indeed go far “beyond“ the professional movement of New Urbanism per se, taking into account broader contemporary issues in sociology (Robert Putnam, Ray Oldenburg, David Brain), economics (Robert Gibbs, Christopher Leinberger), ecology (Tim Beatley, William McDonough), engineering and street design (Allan Jacobs, Rich Hall) transit-oriented development (Robert Cervero), complexity and connectivity (Michael Batty, Bill Hillier), gloablization and sprawl (Richard Florida, Dolores Hayden) and much, much more.

Editor and conference leader Tigran Hass argues that the New Urbanism, thanks to its inter-disciplinary nature, offers a very useful lens with which to examine these broader issues. As he puts it in the introduction, “This is not an anticipatory work, a book of dreams, or a nostrum for the future design of cities and our communities; it is simply a solidly grounded collection of ideas and thoughts addressing our urban condition (and beyond) written by an exceptional group of individuals never before assembled in one place.“

[Disclaimer: The reviewer is one of the 67 authors featured in this work. But the above remarks may be applied solely to the other 66!]

Read more or order it from Powell's or Amazon.


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