While Duany may be good with architecture and general urbanism layout, this book really describes why he and architects should stick to architecture. He only really covers urban design once again and as an architect would say "shrubs it up" with garden vegetables, without really knowing what species of plants are needed for sustainable agriculture in urban areas. The book shows no real application and ecological system approach to actual urban agrarianism, it only has nice renderings and not actual built examples. He ignores people that would have given the book more credibility such as Ian McHarg who insists that agrarian methods should take place in valley systems and even his own forefathers such as Christopher Alexander who place agrarian practices within fingers into the urban areas. If you are looking for some noli maps and nice renderings that a well known architect has once again "shrubbed up" - buy Duany's book, however if you are looking for an actual book that covers agrarian urbanism, its systems, and productive ways to incorporate it into urban design, check out other sources. This book is just another failed attempt by Duany to cash in on a movement that Landscape Architects started as early as 1985, and urban farmers have been doing since 1893 when Detroit city officials mandated urban gardens during the Financial Panic of 1893. Better reads for this subject would be-"A Pattern Language: Towns, Buildings, Construction.", "Sustainable Urbanism: Urban Design with Nature", "Agricultural Urbanism: Handbook for Building Sustainable Food & Agriculture Systems in 21st Century Cities.", "Agriculture in Urban Planning" and "Design with Nature"
One of the more familiar tenants of the "New Urbanist" development paradigm is the use of compact development patterns which utilize high densities as a means to contain suburban development in order to preserve the pastoral and idyllic conditions often destroyed by sprawl. Within this scheme, New Urbanist have sought to use the centralization of urban development as a means to ensure that farmland was available for years to come. In new title, Theory and Practice of Agrarian Urbanism, Andrés Duany and his firm Duany Plater-Zyberk (DPZ) venture away from the standard methods of separating urban growth from agricultural lands to flesh out a complementary model that incorporates the urban agriculture and "food to table" movements that have become so prevalent today.
Written as a project for the Prince's Foundation for the Built Environment, Theory and Practice of Agrarian Urbanism is a beautifully illustrated, clearly articulated explanation as to how the urban environment can come to exist in harmony with the agrarian environment. Rather than attempting to protect agricultural area through distinct patterns of separation, Duany and DPZ embark on a quest to show how urban environments can be centered around and scaled to agriculture. Duany remains forthright about the practical implications of the ideas presented including dramatic shifts in both the regulatory and economic climate surrounding land development practices. In essence the title is an 85 page exploration in how agriculture can become an integral part to the places that we live.
Theory and Practice of Agrarian Urbanism examines agriculture as a new amenity to be explored within the urban context.Read more ›
I think agrarian urbanism, as proposed by Andres Duany and DPZ in Garden Cities: Theory & Practice of Agrarian Urbanism, is a needed -- and viable -- proposition. It's visionary, yes, but also down to earth, standing on the solid shoulders of things already proven. True, projecting what we do know into a future we don't know leaves many questions open, but this book illuminates one likely path.
I was already a solid proponent of New Urbanism as the best alternative among those that are actually viable. However, I always felt there was something missing, felt that new urbanism is fine for urbanites, but what about for non- or anti-urbanites? What about those of us who spent summers released from the purgatory of suburbia to climb Grandma's cherry trees, storm through her blackberry patch, and shell all her peas? Those who never quite felt right about getting all their food from Safeway? I didn't even realize I was asking these questions.
At the same time, no matter what is or isn't causing it, climate change is happening, and it's speeding up. Food production, as currently praticed in most of the U.S. (and increasingly elsewhere), will not likely keep up with it. So what are my grandkids going to eat? I did realize I was asking this question, sometimes at 3am.
Still, properly dense urban cores do not appeal to me, nor do any of the other less-dense zones along a typical transect. They just do not offer enough vegetation, and certainly no right-off-the-stem cherries, berries, and peas.Read more ›