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Practicing Planner"Seven Rules is worthy of our attention because it improves our understanding of how urban form affects greenhouse gas production. In referring to an imminent ''planetary meltdown'' (p. 10), Condon sounds an alarm bell about global warming. Yet, he brings the discussion down to the level of designing individual sites, building neighborhoods, retrofitting cities, and promoting smart growth in regions. Planners who want to respond to the warning bell but have not yet deciphered exactly what can and should be done at local and regional (rather than national and global) levels will benefit greatly from Seven Rules.
I offer four other observations in recommending Seven Rules. First, I applaud Condon for appropriately denigrating decade-old minimum school parcel size standards, which set acreage provisions so high that they make small schools within walking distance of neighborhoods impossible. Second, Condon also alludes to reasons why conventional zoning needs to be overhauled. He points out that because ''most new jobs don''t smell bad'' (p. 87) we no longer need to separate most industries from our homes. Further, he remarks that the ''zoning habit has not caught up with the changing nature of jobs'' (p. 87). His indictment of zoning, however, is stronger in other parts of the book, particularly with regard to socially ''heinous'' patterns of densities that result from most zoning codes (p. 102). Third, his blending of historical perspectives of planning (with references to Jane Jacobs, Ian McHarg, Frederick Law Olmsted, and the like) adds increasing value to urban designers and academics alike. Fourth, Condon demonstrates keen understanding of infiltration, natural processes, and nature-based infrastructure. He is adept at comparing performance of natural systems with conventional ''pipe'' drainage systems.
Seven Rules is well-illustrated and well-substantiated in terms of the literature. It is convenient to read because literature references are provided in footnotes on the same page as the narrative. He advances green infrastructure and green building concepts beyond what the literature has offered to date. Sufficient attention is paid to the social equity perspective, especially with regard to housing issues. Finally, Seven Rules is a source of inspiration for local planners and urban designers. We can make a huge difference in bringing about more sustainable development practices."
— Jerry Weitz, FAICP