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Planet of Cities Paperback – August 28, 2012

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 360 pages
  • Publisher: Lincoln Institute of Land Policy (August 28, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1558442456
  • ISBN-13: 978-1558442450
  • Product Dimensions: 9.9 x 7 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #670,601 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


In Planet of Cities, Shlomo Angel has produced a landmark study, one that combines an ambitious new history of global urban growth with a surprisingly simple and convincing set of policy recommendations. The book suggests that some planning policies that are widely accepted in the United States and Europe are likely to be counterproductive in the developing world. However, the implications of this study are much larger. This is a book that will upset some readers, particularly those with fixed ideas of how cities should look and work, but for others the sweeping scope and sometimes startling new conclusions will be exhilarating.
--Robert Bruegmann, Professor Emeritus of Art History, Architecture, and Urban Planning, University of Illinois at Chicago 

Shlomo Angel has written a fascinating and timely book about cities. It is full of interesting facts and wisdom. The book gives a sense of the enormous variety of challenges facing the world's cities and the folly of trying to handle every one of these urban challenges with a one-size-fits-all policy.
--Edward L. Glaeser, Fred and Eleanor Glimp Professor of Economics; Director, Taubman Center for State and Local Government and Rappaport Institute for Greater Boston, Harvard University

Cities are our engines of creativity, wealth creation, and economic growth, yet they also pose threats to our climate, our natural environment, and our food, energy, and water supplies. To resolve these complex issues there is an urgent need to develop a deeper understanding of their dynamics and organization. Shlomo Angel’s wonderful book, Planet of Cities, has begun to do just that. He has brought his unique perspective as a distinguished urban planner and geographer with a depth of experience in addressing real-world problems to produce a deeply insightful book that can be used equally by researchers, from economists to physicists, and by practitioners, from urban planners and architects to politicians. It contains a wealth of knowledge, information, and insights interspersed with a delightful historical perspective that I will be returning to again and again. This timely and important book will inform critical thinking about what I consider to be our planet's greatest challenge.
--Geoffrey B. West, Distinguished Professor and Past President, Santa Fe Institute; Senior Fellow, Los Alamos National Laboratory

 Committed environmentalists and other defenders of urban containment are sure to reject at what Mr Angel calls “the making room paradigm”. But he makes a solid argument that this is a much more realistic way of dealing with urbanisation than building new city walls, particularly in developing countries. “As heroic and justified as it may be,” he writes, “containing the oncoming global urban expansion is much the same as holding back the tide.” --The Economist

 Students and others looking for a place to start often ask, "If I could read just one book about xxxx, which would you suggest? When it comes to cities, I have a new favorite. It is Shlomo Angel's Planet of Cities. --Peter Gordon, University of  Southern California, Sol Price School of Public Policy

Replete with scores of color photographs, maps, graphs, and other images, this volume brings new life to the tried and
true ecological view of cities. Angel (Lincoln Institute of Land Policy) presents propositions about optimal urban
development, asserting that cities must plan for housing, transportation, and public works in order to cope with
inevitable urban growth, but he also suggests that there is such a thing as too much planning as well as too little.
After summarizing the history of world urbanization and the emergence of a global hierarchy of cities, Angel presents
ecological patterns accompanying urban expansion in a comprehensive sample of over 3,000 cities around the world,
with more intensive study of smaller sub-samples. He explores classical concepts and measures of urban ecological
research, including the size/rank rule for city distributions, central place theory, and the like, with new insights
provided by the global scale of the data analysis. The author spends a good deal of time analyzing patterns of
population density but does not include the recent innovation of population-weighted density calculations, which
would have offered yet another angle of vision on the world's cities. Summing Up: Recommended. All
levels/libraries. -- E. Carlson, Florida State University, CHOICE magazine

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is one of the most original books about urbanization and urban planning. It is based on a comprehensive compilation and analysis of global data covering several centuries. Based on the analysis, the broad recommendations for planning are well considered and convincing although the first impression might be something like "let the cities grow, without much planning"'. The "grid of dirt roads" is a seemingly simple framework for sustainable physical development, but, on second thought, it is not going to be easy at all to implement. Solly has done it again -- a thoroughly original and admirable book. I would love to engage in a professional discussion about his work, especially with regard to a sequel which he suggests -- to be written by other researchers..
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Richard Martin on March 15, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a rare book which brings Solly's delightful prose to the highly important topic of urban growth and what to do about it. Supported by statistics, which at times become somewhat mind-numbing, he makes a powerful case for proactive planning. The book is enlivened by numerous well chosen illustrations, as well as well designed tables and graphs. There is no question about it: this book represents a milestone in the literature of urban planning.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Robert H. B. Samet on January 5, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an important book that contributes towards a science of cities and should be read in conjunction with its companion volume 'Atlas of urban expansion'. The series brings some rigour to the definition of urban densities and analysis of the global hierarchy of cities. Affordable housing in the rapidly developing countries and flexibility for future patterns of urban growth, are key ingredients for resilience and adaption to change in the future. This book is extremely well written, and is essential reading for university courses on urban planning.
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