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The Smart Growth Manual 1st Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 41 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0071376754
ISBN-10: 9780071376754
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Andres Duany, FAIA, CNU, is a founding principal of Duany Plater-Zyberk & Company (DPZ). DPZ is a leader of the New Urbanism, an international movement that seeks to end suburban sprawl and urban disinvestment. Since 1980, DPZ has designed more than 300 new towns, regional plans, and community revitalization projects. Duany is cofounder of the Congress for New Urbanism and the recipient of several honorary doctorates and awards, including the National Building Museum’s Vincent J. Scully Prize and the Richard H. Driehaus Prize.

Jeff Speck AICP, CNU, LEED-AP, Hon. ASLA, spent 10 years as director of town planning at DPZ, where he led or managed more than 40 of the firm’s projects. Subsequent to the publication of Suburban Nation, he was appointed director of design at the National Endowment for the Arts, where he created the Governors’ Institute on Community Design, a program that brings smart growth techniques to state leadership. After four years at the Endowment, he founded Speck & Associates, a design consultancy serving public officials and the real estate industry. He is a contributing editor to Metropolis magazine.

Mike Lydon CNU, is an urban planner, writer, and livable streets activist. Before founding The Street Plans Collaborative, an urban planning firm specializing in alternative transportation and the public realm, he worked for DPZ, the Massachusetts Bicycle Coalition, and Smart Growth Vermont. He is currently a Next American City Urban Vanguard and serves as a board member for the Miami Bicycle Coalition.


Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Education; 1 edition (October 15, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780071376754
  • ISBN-13: 978-0071376754
  • ASIN: 0071376755
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #66,302 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Joshua P. OConner VINE VOICE on November 19, 2009
Format: Paperback

Authors Andres Duany, Jeff Speck, and Mike Lydon have created The Smart Growth Manual, a resource which not only explains the overarching ideals of smart growth, but a manual that takes the time to show smart growth principles at each geographic scale (region, neighborhood, street, building). The Smart Growth Manual bounces back and forth (in a beautifully organized manner) between steps for the implementation of smart growth and key concepts. The format of The Smart Growth Manual allows for each concept to be referenced and reviewed quickly (each concept is explained in about half a page).

I found The Smart Growth Manual to be the type of reference that you would throw in your bag before heading to your community association meeting or grab on your way to a city council hearing about a new development. The information is presented in such a simplistic, uncluttered format that you can use it almost like a dictionary. Instead of wondering whether a particular idea really is smart growth you can flip to it in the manual and understand how the concept would work and how it relates to other principles of smart growth. More importantly it can be used to better articulate community goals through providing an accessible guide to smart growth in an attainable format for charrettes, community meetings, etc.

To make The Smart Growth Manual all the more enticing, the pages are printed on 100% post-consumer recycled paper and it's pretty much pocket sized (so you don't have to lug around yet another huge manual in addition to ordinances and the like). The pages feature vivid illustrations and photographs of each concept so it's not a struggle to understand or explain a concept. I highly recommend The Smart Growth Manual as a part of any community participant's or urban planner's desktop references.
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Duany and company are architects so their focus on design is highly useful. Echoing other on-the-ball reviewers here, the book is very well organized, easy to follow and leads directly to application.

If the authors ever read customer comments, I would like to suggest the following should the book be updated:

1. Our country's population is growing, but it also aging. Over the next 20 years, the aging of the population may be more significant to planners than "just" growth (which is inevitable, despite the silly claims of other reviewers). There has to be a "Smart Aging" perspective this country needs to adopt because older Americans have different needs--not lesser needs, different needs that should be addressed.

2. Include a section on the behavioral side of Smart Growth--while a necessary component of getting people out of their cars, design by itself is insufficient to get people out of their cars. What incentives, what kind of education and outreach needs to take place for the public and, perhaps most importantly, elected officials. Most local officials aren't particularly brave. They need help.
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As the newest member of my town's Historic and Design Review Commission, I've been scrambling to become better-acquainted with architectural terms and philosophies. Because my area of expertise is in landscaping, and I'm primarily on the commission to help evaluate the landscape plans, I've been feeling behind when it comes time to comment on the buildings themselves or the relationships between the buildings and their surroundings. I've also been working to understand the goals behind many of the city's policies so I can best help analyze the plans that come before me, in light of what the city hopes to achieve.

The Smart Growth Manual has been an invaluable tool in becoming familiar with the basic concepts of smart growth that my city seems committed to. Each page has a couple of paragraphs on a specific concept, along with a photo illustrating an ideal or not-so-ideal example of it. The writing is smooth and clear, and it is written in jargon-free language that's easy to understand even after a long day of hard physical work.

I expected that as a layman, not an architect, I might struggle to understand some of the terms or concepts, but the beauty of this book is in its simplicity. I read it in three sittings, and have gone back and paged through it multiple times since finishing it to re-absorb the most compelling and relevant concepts. After reading, many of the policies and projects my city is working on made more sense, and I was able to understand more deeply WHY certain projects were so important and what the end results would be in creating a livable, walkable, human-scale town.

If you're looking for simple, common-sense explanations of planning concepts, this book is an excellent place to start. You won't come away an expert, but this is a thorough, approachable book that gives you a broad overview of a variety of important concepts in the field.
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This book is likely to change things. It works from both sides: for planners and politicians to teach themselves and others, and for citizens concerned about what planners might do. It will help planners get new visions across. And help them ease valid citizen concerns and even NIMBY concerns. It conveys concepts by showing reality ... which sounds very good no matter what side you are on. I studied urban planning 30+ years ago and walked away from it as it seemed more wrong than right. This book will go a long way to making things right.
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