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David Sprunt RSS Feed (Littleton, Colorado)

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Sustainable Urban Design: An Environmental Approach
Sustainable Urban Design: An Environmental Approach
by Randall Thomas
Edition: Paperback
Price: $61.95
15 used & new from $19.98

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great overview of sustainable design, April 1, 2008
This well-written and well-organized book, edited by English architecture and urban design professor Randall Thomas, provides a cohesive overview of the current state of theory, techniques and practices for the nascent field of sustainable urbanism. Urban designers, architects, planners, developers and others involved in the design of the built environment are the intended audience.

It is organized into two parts. The first part, comprised of ten chapters, describes the concepts of sustainable urbanism, including principles and background of urban planning, transportation issues, landscape and nature in the city, building design, energy and information, materials, water, and waste and resources. The second part is a series of European case studies, showing best practices of sustainable urban design and building construction. The case studies are well-illustrated with black and white photographs, diagrams and line drawings, including construction details of such things as wall sections and chimney stacks, and provide useful information for design professionals.

In his introduction, Thomas describes sustainability as being about "poetry, optimism and delight," and that energy use and CO2 figures are secondary concerns. Thomas recognizes the importance of contextual design beyond the building envelope and focuses his argument to inspire, rather than prescribe, sustainable solutions for the block, neighborhood, city and regional scale, though many of the case study examples seem to be focused on solutions for the building.

Sustainable Urban Design is one of several books on the topic that have come out within the last couple of years and is a good complement to Douglas Farr's Sustainable Urbanism: Urban Design With Nature, Mike Jenks' Future Forms and Design for Sustainable Cities, and Matthew Carmona's Public Places - Urban Spaces.

Public Transportation: On the Move...
Public Transportation: On the Move...
by Marc Wortman
Edition: Hardcover
33 used & new from $9.85

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, limited collection of public transit equipment & transit vendors, December 14, 2007
First.. this book is wrongly credited to Roger Yee. The actual editor is Marc Wortman, PhD.

Are you in the market for a commuter bus?
Do you design, buy or influence decisions for municipal transit systems for a living?
Are you a transit equipment geek?

If so, you might like this coffee table book of U.S. light rail trains, busses & transit facility projects. It is organized alphabetically by vendor (e.g., Sasaki & Associates, Inc., Siemens Transportation Systems, Inc.,.. etc.,) and is filled with examples of mid late '90's/early 2000's transit stuff... but only in the United States (with only one exception that I saw, a train in the U.K.)

If you're looking for a more global assessment on transit or a book of urban transit theory or of contemporary transit case studies, you might look elsewhere, like Robert Cervero's The Transit Metropolis: A Global Inquiry or Hank Dittmar's The New Transit Town: Best Practices In Transit-Oriented Development. That is not to say the book does not have its place. It just was not exactly what I expected when ordering it.

"On the Move" is more like a big sales brochure for the companies included in the book, which makes sense since editor Marc Wortman is described on the dust jacket as marketing and communications consultant "for several leading architecture and planning firms."

Here's the breakdown of what's included::
-Early 21st century U.S. (not North American, just United States) transit equipment & vendors. Is this a full list? I don't know.
-Good general but brief descriptions of the features of the products/designs included.
-Fairly good color pictures throughout.. some obviously slick professional marketing shots (even one including John Madden in front of his MCI bus).. a few are grainy or amateurish and should have been replaced with better shots.
-There are some conceptual drawings, renderings and plan drawings from the design firms, but not a lot.
-A couple of odd additions are a description of a highway bridge and interior design of shops in a train station.

This is a book to be flipped through to see some interesting U.S. transit equipment and projects and read a bit about them, but because it is organized alphabetically by vendor, and not by topic, you jump from busses to light rail engineering firms to transit system designers, back to busses, etc.
It would have been better to organize by topic.

Travel Mastermind
Travel Mastermind
Offered by Bison Lake Trading Company
Price: $7.14
22 used & new from $2.44

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars big fingers + tiny pins = problem, October 18, 2007
= Durability:3.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Travel Mastermind (Board Game)
The game itself is quite fun and entertaining, but the form factor of the design needs improvement. I got the game to entertain my 8-yr old during a cross-country road trip. She learned the game quickly and enjoyed figuring out the strategy.

But this travel version has a few problems. The biggest problem is the <<tiny>> round-headed colored pins that tend to easily scatter around the car and are very difficult to grasp. I've got fairly large hands and fingers, so I wasn't surprised that I had problems, but my 3rd grader also had problems picking up the pins. The most difficult part is placing and extracting the 4 code pins from the end of the board - the clearances are very tight. The codebreaker pins are also difficult to place into the holes.

Generally this is a very fun game, but you may want to take look at the larger version for car trips.

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