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The Next American Metropolis: Ecology, Community, and the American Dream 3rd Edition

3 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1878271686
ISBN-10: 1878271687
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Editorial Reviews Review

One of the foremost practitioners of New Urbanism, Peter Calthorpe, an urban designer and architect based in Berkeley, California, offers one of the most coherent and persuasive arguments for moving the United States away from sprawl and toward more compact, mixed-use, economically diverse, and ecologically sound communities. This book presents 24 of Calthorpe's regional urban plans, in which towns are organized so that residents can be less dependent upon their cars and can walk, bike, or take public transportation between work, school, home, and shopping. This book is not just for architects and urban planners, but for all concerned citizens interested in developing a cohesive, feasible vision of the sustainable city of the future.


Advocates a fundamental change in patterns of building to respond to the growth crisis in US metropolitan regions. Defines a new direction, and provides guidelines--not an architectural manifesto or utopian proposal, but the alternatives currently shaping debate regarding housing, traffic, and environmental and social problems. Describes numerous real projects from various regions. Abundantly illustrated. Book News

Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton Architectural Press; 3rd edition (December 1, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1878271687
  • ISBN-13: 978-1878271686
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.5 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #795,653 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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23 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Hopewell on May 1, 2000
Format: Paperback
This work is terrific if one is interested at all in the way in which cities could be developed. The ideas which Calthorpe presents are revolutionary and instrumental if one wishes to gain any sort of idea of the concepts and ideas proposed by "New Urbanism". His explanation of his Transit Oriented Development (TOD) is vital in understanding the difference between these developments and traditional versions. His use of specific examples makes the work that much better as it becomes more tangible and less simply theory. I would highly recomend this book to anyone involved in any sort of urban or city planning or simply interested in cities themselves.
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17 of 26 people found the following review helpful By W. R. Stewart on June 12, 2002
Format: Paperback
The one point in favor of this book is that it promotes a much-needed land use concept: Plan and build near transit. The critical downfall of the book is that it perpetuates the auto-centric lifestyle. While Europe and Asia are beginning to perfect pedestrian districts around their transit stops, the best that we Americans can do is to simply build residential units with 2 parking spaces each near metro stops. Too much land (typically 40%) is wasted in providing for streets, alleys, driveways, and the large number of parking spaces for each vehicle.
Such a design is still auto-centric if it makes automobile use the quickest and easiest way to shop at [a physical store] versus providing a pedestrian environment to walk 2 blocks to shop at a Mom & Pop store. Pedestrian environments with local grocery/pharmacy, schools, offices, day-care, sports fields, and other weekly needs are going to be able to eliminate 90% of automotive travel requirements. The other 10% can be easily provided through carsharing, a fast growing market in 21 North American cities now. Parking structures on the periphery of the district provides parking for carsharing and private automobiles (though the latter is retained by a modest percentage of households).
A book that envisions the progression of cities to pedestrian/transit use is Carfree Cities, by J.H. Crawford. There are also many websites that describe the many carfree areas already in place in Europe and Asia, whose residents require very little in the way of imported oil.
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Format: Paperback
Peter Calthorpe provides exceptional data supported analysis to support his thinking. It was one of my first reads on the subject of New Urbanism and is an excellent read even for the novice planner or a citizen trying to understand planning thought. Every city planner should consider this a must read too.
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