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New Civic Art : Elements of Town Planning Hardcover – October 30, 2003
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About the Author
Andrés Duany is a founding principal of Duany Plater-Zyberk & Company, Town Planners and Architects (DPZ). He was co-author, with Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, of Rizzoli's Towns and Townmaking Principles (1991).
Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, also a founding principal of DPZ, is dean of the University of Miami School of Architecture. She and Andrés Duany were co-founders of the Congress for the New Urbanism.
Robert Alminana is an architect and consulting town planner based in Northern California.
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The New Civic Art is essentially examples of urbanism, one after another--mostly built, but with a few never realized--that string together coherently. Each page is usually two or three examples (in the form of a diagram, perspective, photo, plan or section) with a long caption explaining each example. 90% are in black and white. The only essays are the two page introductions to each chapter. Each caption is written by one of the authors, with his or her initials at the end of the caption identifying who wrote it.
As someone who prefers to see, rather than be described to, the great value in this book is the wealth of examples throughout the history of urban design. With that wealth they are able to cover a breadth of urban design and planning issues. Each example was chosen to illustrate a specific point the authors which to make.
The few negatives of the book are:
--Many examples are illustrated with only one diagram photo etc. where an additional one might have helped.
--Some diagrams are hard to discern. This is understandable because each illustration is taken from original source material (be that from the 1800s, or from another country etc). In trying to fit multiple images to pages, some images were reduced too small.
--Some captions did a great job explaining the example, while others did not.
--They make quite a few assertions in the book, almost all of which I agree with, but could have backed many of the assertions up with with evidence.
They have chosen their examples well, and no other book gives you quite as wide ranging illustration of urban design aspects. even though the book is by now 8 years old, it is has not become dated because so many of the examples reach back into the past anyhow.
The formated size is awkward to hold and enjoy, meaning you're better off placing this on a table and reading it from a vertical position than you are to hold it in your hands. But, the format works well in terms of the numerous drawings and illustrations that need space to breath and size to explore.
As usual, Duany's done it again.... shear pleasure it is!