A Country of Cities: A Manifesto for an Urban America

Overview

In A Country of Cities, author Vishaan Chakrabarti argues that well-designed cities are the key to solving America's great national challenges: environmental degradation, unsustainable consumption, economic stagnation, rising public health costs and decreased social mobility. If we develop them wisely in the future, our cities can be the force leading us into a new era of progressive and prosperous stewardship of our nation. In compelling chapters, Chakrabarti brings us a wealth of information about cities, ...
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Overview

In A Country of Cities, author Vishaan Chakrabarti argues that well-designed cities are the key to solving America's great national challenges: environmental degradation, unsustainable consumption, economic stagnation, rising public health costs and decreased social mobility. If we develop them wisely in the future, our cities can be the force leading us into a new era of progressive and prosperous stewardship of our nation. In compelling chapters, Chakrabarti brings us a wealth of information about cities, suburbs and exurbs, looking at how they developed across the 50 states and their roles in prosperity and globalization, sustainability and resilience, and heath and joy. Counter to what you might think, American cities today are growing faster than their suburban counterparts for the first time since the 1920s. If we can intelligently increase the density of our cities as they grow and build the transit systems, schools, parks and other infrastructure to support them, Chakrabarti shows us how both job opportunities and an improved, sustainable environment are truly within our means. In this call for an urban America, he illustrates his argument with numerous infographics illustrating provocative statistics on issues as disparate as rising childhood obesity rates, ever-lengthening automobile commutes and government subsidies that favor highways over mass transit. The book closes with an eloquent manifesto that rallies us to build "a Country of Cities," to turn a country of highways, houses and hedges into a country of trains, towers and trees.
Vishaan Chakrabarti is the director of Columbia University's Center for Urban Real Estate (CURE). In March 2012, Chakrabarti became a partner at SHoP Architects, where he will be working on such projects as the Atlantic Yards development in Brooklyn. An architect and planner, Chakrabarti has worked in both the public and private sectors: as a top executive at Related Companies; a director at the New York City Planning Commission; an associate partner at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill; a transportation planner for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
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Editorial Reviews

Architectural Record - Clifford A. Pearson
Architect, planner, and one-time developer Vishaan Chakrabarti asks us to imagine a United States in which government invests in high-speed trains linking high-density cities and does not subsidize suburban sprawl. He admits this sounds a bit naive in an era of political paralysis and at a time when the middle class and wealthy - no matter their political affiliation - enjoy perks like the mortgage- interest deduction that help perpetuate the status quo. But he builds his argument with straightforward prose and lots of easy-to-read charts and graphs.
SURFACE - Jordan Kushins
Step aside, suburban sprawl: America's cities are growing at a pace unseeen for the past century. This expansion warrants an evaluation of how these hubs can sustainably support their citizens in the future. Hotshot Columbia professor and SHoP patner Vishaan Chakrabarti provides compelling arguments - complemented by smart infographics - for mass-transit systems and public parks.
Toronto Globe and Mail - Alex Bozikovic
In the world of urbanism and planning, there's been a barrage of recent books on similar themes .But Mr. Chakrabarti has written maybe the most useful one, a polemic in favour of city living that makes the stakes clear.
Azure - Elizabeth Pagliacolo
The author, a partner at SHOP Architects in New York, lays out his case for why the entire United States must embrace high-density urbanization (defined as 10 or more dwellings per hectare) as the only feasible way to resuscitate the economy and overall public wellness. He pits his version of the American Dream (living in a city with access to well-designed mixed-income housing, mass transit and an array of services) against what he calls the American Scheme (owning a big suburban house, and driving your gas-guzzling SUV on the highway to get home to it every day). This impassioned manifesto, with a foreword by Norman Foster, is complemented by wondeful drawings from his colleagues at SHOP, including one that shows the entire world population fitting into the state of Texas to illustrate that, yes, we can and should use our land resources more wisely.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781935202172
  • Publisher: D.A.P./Distributed Art Publishers
  • Publication date: 5/30/2013
  • Pages: 252
  • Sales rank: 328,621
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 9.70 (h) x 1.00 (d)

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