The Option of Urbanism: Investing in a New American Dream Kindle Edition
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- Length: 232 pages
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Top Customer Reviews
The author is a major mover and shaker in Albuquerque and a key proponent of their downtown revival. Leinberger writes from first-hand experience. I recommend reading books like this because it is a chance to get inside the head of a visionary. A person could easily read one book like this each week; how else could you immerse yourself in 52 change agents per year?? When a consultant of Leinberger's stature shares 5 hours of his insights for less than $20 it is a pretty good value.
I particularly liked his framing of the situation in terms of demographics, social policy, and long term effects, and how he posits that perhaps we've gone too far down the suburban path and need to swing back toward walkable urbanism. His arguments describe how Wall Street, large developers, and government policy lead us toward suburban development, and why urban areas are so expensive (longer term building timelines, more expensive land, and most of all, lack of supply.)
I highly recommend this for anyone unfamiliar with walkable urbanism, or who might be interested in why our built environment is the way it is. It's a pretty short book but well written and researched, and certainly more even-handed than Kunstler or Kotkin.
This book from a real estate professional offers a logical and positive view of "walkable urbanism" without bashing drivable suburbanism that has dominated the landscape for the past fifty years. It provides a historical context to how we got to where we are and why the next phase will be a return to "walkable urbanism". The benefits to mitigating climate change and eliminating dependence on foreign oil are obvious. However the additional benefits of personal health and feeling a part of a community are also just as appealing.
The most interesting part of Leinberger's book is his typology of walkable urbanism. Contrary to popular myth, not all walkable neighborhoods are downtown and/or dominated by high-rise condos. Leinberger points out that other types of walkable neighborhoods include "downtown-adjacent" intown neighborhoods, suburban mini-downtowns, "Greenfield" new urbanist developments in outer suburbs, and redeveloped strip malls.
Unlike some commentators, Leinberger does not suggest that sprawl has no future. Instead, he divides metropolitan land use into three categories: walkable urbanism (which he thinks will grow), low-density sprawl (which is also likely to grow to satisfy demand for cheap land), and an "unhappy medium" category of suburbs that he thinks are likely to decline- suburbs not built for walkability, but which are too old or congested to be appealing to suburbanites.
The one weakness in this book is its treatment of affordable housing. Leinberger writes that not everyone can afford walkable urbanism, at least not yet. As a remedy, he touts schemes such as inclusionary zoning, designed to set aside a small portion of regional housing as "affordable." But even if 5% of the people get to live in set-aside housing, such set-asides are a weak remedy indeed if 50% or more of the people can't afford most neighborhoods. For example, Leinberger considers Montgomery County, Maryland's inclusionary zoning as a success.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A pie in the sky attempt to explain and define the urban issues and realities of our cities without a sound definition of the economic realities of an challenged urban tax base and... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Topher
This book truly gives a full view of urban geography of yesterday, today and where the US is heading! Kudos!Published 20 months ago by Yvonne A
Great Resource for school, it was very helpful. I will look at others like this. Good, Good, Good, Good Resource.Published on November 27, 2013 by C. Hunt Jr
I just read a Dan Brown book (Inferno) that dealt with the over-population of cities of the world in an entertaining way. This book...is interesting...but in a different fashion. Read morePublished on October 1, 2013 by Kendra Patocki
If I passed the class, it was a good book. I hate studying so that's how I rate. Being able to find all my books on Amazon is the best deal ever.Published on July 16, 2013 by darkdiva34
Mr. Leinberger offers a thoughtful, challenging--sometimes disturbing--review of the forces have come together to create America's contemporary built environment. Read morePublished on September 9, 2009 by Anthony Albence
This book could very well be the `Death and Life of Great American Cities' of the 21st century!
The author, a specialist in real estate development and not in urban... Read more
In _The Option of Urbanism_, Christopher Leinberger documents the history of both urban ("walkable urbanism") and suburban ("drivable sub-urbanism") settings. Read morePublished on July 23, 2008 by Charles P. Hobbs
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