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Unplanning: Livable Cities and Political Choices Paperback – April 8, 2010


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 140 pages
  • Publisher: Preservation Institute (April 8, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0978872851
  • ISBN-13: 978-0978872854
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.1 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,191,608 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Michael Lewyn VINE VOICE on May 3, 2010
Many critiques of late 20th-century patterns of American suburban development focus on planning; critics of sprawl tend to argue that if only we had more regional comprehensive planning, we would have fewer of the negative side effects of sprawl. On the other hand, critics of the anti-sprawl movement tend to demonize "planning" as a kind of all-purpose scapegoat for anything that goes wrong.

Siegel argues that technocratic planning reforms are unlikely to significantly reshape American cities and suburbs. Instead, Americans should realize that how we build our neighborhoods is fundamentally a political choice. A city with high speed limits and buildings situated far away from wide streets will be a city oriented around cars, while a city with lower traffic speeds, parking lots behind or below stores, and narrower streets will be less so.

Siegel states his case clearly; however, one weakness in this book is that it assumes readers already share his anti-sprawl views. So readers who don't begin with such preconceptions should probably read other critiques of sprawl (such as books by James Howard Kunstler or Andres Duany) to understand where Siegel is coming from.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Nikos A. Salingaros on May 28, 2010
Charles Siegel's "Unplanning" hits the spot without a superfluous word. Siegel hold a New Urbanist viewpoint consistent with my own, and he describes how the post-war planning profession set up the legal foundation for the unsustainable sprawl we have today. Everything very proper, very legal, very welcome by the builders and developers. Nevertheless, the system that developed is unsustainable and has killed the city on the human scale. More disturbing, it is now illegal to build human-scale city. That's what every New Urbanist is trying to do, and we know we have to change the codes.

I recommend this book to every planner and every person interested in the future of American cities.
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