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City Comforts: How to Build an Urban Village Paperback – October 3, 2003

ISBN-13: 978-0964268012 ISBN-10: 0964268019 Edition: Revised

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: City Comforts Inc.; Revised edition (October 3, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0964268019
  • ISBN-13: 978-0964268012
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #371,562 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Clear, to the point and constructive. Jane Jacobs City Comforts is terrific. It is a wonderful delivery system. Andres Duany, Town Planner I was in the office of a prominent Vancouver landscape architect firm, responsible for some of the most important new projects in the city and there on a desk was a copy of City Comforts. Not surprising, really. Except this copy was absolutely jammed with little stickers and notes, almost doubling the thickness of that little volume. Clearly, City Comforts was a miniature encyclopedia for these urban designers. So my advice to potential purchasers: buy two. City Comforts is the kind of book easily worn out from overuse. Gordon Price, Former Councillor, City of Vancouver, B.C. (1986 2002) I purchased 100 copies of David Sucher's book City Comforts because I believe that we need to have a common reference as we attempt to being back what has been lost in our downtown in the past 50 years....I am not so naive as to think it will be easy to get 100 people to read this book at the same time...This is not an answer book but a question book. Included are rules, and sub-rules, and a reminder to be willing to break the rules....Read the book - Keep the book - or - Pass the book on. Please return this book to the Ormond Public Library if you do not want to keep it for your personal reference. Bill Partington II Ormond Beach, Florida --Various

For those of us addicted to city ambulation, to mind- jogging and chevy-cruising and dog-sniffing and catwalking in diurnal treasure hunt for novelties and arcana of simple pleasures, David Sucher has written a cartographic jewel in his new City Comforts: How to Build An Urban Village....This admirable work, expanding the ground-shifting of Jane Jacobs, will give comfort to those who wish to get on with making the cities they want while the ensconced bright talents evanesce in stupor. John Young, Architect New York City It's a really lovely book: a series of modest, down-to-earth tips about how cities and towns can turn themselves into more agreeable places. No theory, no philosophy, no criticism -- just practical observations about things that work and have shown their value, from curbs to traffic circles to awnings. David, who likes to present himself as an anti-ideas kind of guy, will object, but I maintain that his approach and his work are expressions of a set of deep convictions and ideas, namely the humane wing of architecture and town planning. Book buff that I am, I also love City Comforts as a book. It's a trim thing, a little larger than a guidebook, full of pictures and chunks of text. You can spend five minutes with it or hours with it; it's adaptable, it's here to help. Michael Blowhard, New York City City Comforts is essential reading if you want to understand your environment, and better yet, gives you the tools to change it. Ted Mills --Various

I've used your book for my undergrad class at Penn each of the last 4 years! I have my students create a Philadelphia version of City Comforts. They read your book and then have find a few local examples for each category. This exercise forces them to walk around the city and look hard at Philadelphia, something which most of them have never done before. Richard W. Berman, University of Pennsylvania I really like the new edition. As a City Manager I have given your book to Planning and Zoning commissioners and City Council members. It is a wonderful way to illustrate ways to build community. I would be interested in your bulk rates, can you email them to me? Kathy S. Rice, Assistant City Manager, City of Surprise, Arizona You may not think this topic interests you, but if you live in or near a city, it does whether you know it or not, and Sucher has an uncanny knack for simplifying complicated issues by reducing them to practical es --Various

For those of us addicted to city ambulation, to mind- jogging and chevy-cruising and dog-sniffing and catwalking in diurnal treasure hunt for novelties and arcana of simple pleasures, David Sucher has written a cartographic jewel in his new City Comforts: How to Build An Urban Village....This admirable work, expanding the ground-shifting of Jane Jacobs, will give comfort to those who wish to get on with making the cities they want while the ensconced bright talents evanesce in stupor. John Young, Architect New York City It's a really lovely book: a series of modest, down-to-earth tips about how cities and towns can turn themselves into more agreeable places. No theory, no philosophy, no criticism -- just practical observations about things that work and have shown their value, from curbs to traffic circles to awnings. David, who likes to present himself as an anti-ideas kind of guy, will object, but I maintain that his approach and his work are expressions of a set of deep convictions and ideas, namely the humane wing of architecture and town planning. Book buff that I am, I also love City Comforts as a book. It's a trim thing, a little larger than a guidebook, full of pictures and chunks of text. You can spend five minutes with it or hours with it; it's adaptable, it's here to help. Michael Blowhard, New York City City Comforts is essential reading if you want to understand your environment, and better yet, gives you the tools to change it. Ted Mills --Various

I've used your book for my undergrad class at Penn each of the last 4 years! I have my students create a Philadelphia version of City Comforts. They read your book and then have find a few local examples for each category. This exercise forces them to walk around the city and look hard at Philadelphia, something which most of them have never done before. Richard W. Berman, University of Pennsylvania I really like the new edition. As a City Manager I have given your book to Planning and Zoning commissioners and City Council members. It is a wonderful way to illustrate ways to build community. I would be interested in your bulk rates, can you email them to me? Kathy S. Rice, Assistant City Manager, City of Surprise, Arizona You may not think this topic interests you, but if you live in or near a city, it does whether you know it or not, and Sucher has an uncanny knack for simplifying complicated issues by reducing them to practical essentials. I ve never read anything so illuminating about what he calls the sociable city. Terry Teachout, Critic I found your site a year or so and like it a lot. your three rules explain things better and more economically than anyone else has managed. who knows, maybe some day common sense will come back in style. Mike Pauls, Recivilization City Comforts doesn t tell. it shows. Staffmember, William Stout Architectural Books An ideal reference for neighborhood planners, architects, and urban designers. American Planning Association I recommend reading this book and then giving it to a member of your local planning board. Phil Langdon New Urban News By the way, I keep your City Comforts book on a shelf right over my desk. It is currently resting between Jane Jacobs Life and Death of Great American Cities and Tony Hiss's Experience of Place. City Comforts is one of the very few books on urban design that speaks directly to lay peopleand planning commissioners.  It's a remarkable achievement. Robert Sharp Robert Sharp Architect, inc. --Various

From the Publisher

Simple Patterns, Simple Details Our purpose is to help make our urban civilization more...well...civilized. By and large our cities lack comfort and grace. Oh, they have their bright spots — and there is lots of good work being done — but overall it's pretty dreary.

The 'theory' of this book is that we don't pay attention to the small details of cities that really make the difference in our comfort. We spend a lot of time planning, a lot of time thinking about how wonderful it could all be. But we don't spend a whole lot of effort dealing with the thousands of small details that make up our daily experience. We are great on large-scale strategy and a bit inept at tactics.

There are many people all across the world who see both the poverty of our urban environments and see a way to evolve out of it. Speaking loosely, this approach can be called 'the new urbanism.' (I say loosely because there are many threads to this emerging urban tapestry and some pull in different directions. But they are all tied together by the desire to create cities built to human scale, where people can walk and where there is a sense of community.)

The simple patterns and simple details shown in City Comforts are not any panacea but they provide a framework for judging new construction, for separating the simple but crucial patterns from the trivial matters of style. This simple framework asks us to examine a very few elements of the urban landscape but it will go a long way to improve our cities.


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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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This is a must have work for anyone interested in quality of life.
James Wood
This would be a GREAT book for anyone who has any influence in high growth subruban areas--neighborhood assns., zoning officials, subdivision developers, etc.
Brian McLaren
The book discusses simple planning and architectural changes that can make a city a more comfortable place.
kickit

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Brian McLaren on April 3, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book provides brevity with depth. It reminds you about all those little things that sometimes get left out during development, but which make a world of difference to the people who live in it. Plenty of examples are provided, usually with the thought behind why they work. The author clearly enjoys his native city because almost all the examples come from the Northwest, but this makes them no less impactful. I highly recommend this book to students of architecture/planning, developers, city officials, or anyone who has an interest in the "little things" that make our built environment better. This would be a GREAT book for anyone who has any influence in high growth subruban areas--neighborhood assns., zoning officials, subdivision developers, etc. Enjoy!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Tim Halbur on March 25, 2005
Format: Paperback
In the first couple of pages of this book, David Sucher captures the struggle of modern urban planning: how do you make a place feel "urban" (bustling, a degree of anonymity, culture and complexity) and like a "village" (friendly, natural, community-oriented) at the same time?

The answers are here, in refreshingly easy-to-understand language that is also easy to implement. Good planning isn't a mystery, but so many cities and towns have done it so poorly for so long. I like to think that American planning is at the beginning of a renaissance (I have to think that, I'm in planning school) and people like David Sucher are making it happen. This should be on your shelf next to Jane Jacobs and William H. Whyte.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Keith A Bartholomew on December 31, 2003
Format: Paperback
I am so glad that David Sucher has revised and reissued this book. I used the first edition for several courses that I teach in community development and urban planning, and I know of no better single volume text on urban design issues. The new edition is even better. The book is particularly useful for those who have an interest in planning and design issues, but have limited technical training or experience. As a consequence, it makes excellent reading for city planning commissioners.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By James Wood on March 2, 2001
Format: Paperback
This is a fantastic book detailing all the little amenities that make great urban places. Copiously illustrated and simple to follow, planning departments everywhere should invest in multiple copies for the members of their boards and commissions. This is a must have work for anyone interested in quality of life.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Eric Lowry on February 26, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I recently read City Comforts after I remembered that a friend recommended it. For the most part, I like the book. I read it in about 3 or so hours (lots of photos) and found it inspiring and helpful. For those who don't know much about urban design, planning, or site review, I think this would be a helpful book.

From a City Planner's perspective, I think most planners will find that the concepts are not new. That being said, having them in an easy to reference book is helpful especially because it can be recommend to developers and commission members to get them thinking. This is by no means a bible or an authoritative guide to all that's possible but, as Sucher mentions, these are examples that he likes and that he's found. Most of the book seems repetitive and probably could have been explained in a large pamphlet but then again, I'm a planner and he's writing to a larger audience. If anything, I'll take his advice and start taking more photos of things I like.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By AcornMan on May 29, 2007
Format: Paperback
This is an absolutely wonderful little book. Don't let its small size and informal demeanor fool you - It is a very thorough, practical, and well reasoned guide (and yes, it is a guide, not just a bunch of theory with questionable applicablility in the real world) to designing urban areas with people in mind. Sucher has done a tremendous job of creating a book that is straightforward and easy to read, but still a serious work of planning and design. If you have any interest at all in those subjects, this is one book you should definitely have in your collection.
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