APWA Book Review
The American City: What Works, What Doesn't (2nd Edition)
560 pp * 2002 * McGraw Hill Professional Publishing * Alexander Garvin
What have been the very best urban and suburban projects conceived and implemented across the United States? What was the guiding philosophy behind each of them? Why were they successful? How did they make our cities, suburban areas, and towns better places?
The American City: What Works, What Doesn't analyzes more than 300 key programs and projects initiated in 150 major cities, suburban areas, and towns—showing why some projects succeeded brilliantly in accomplishing their goals, why others failed, and the lessons to be learned from both the successes and the failures. In this new Second Edition of what has become the standard reference on urban planning and design, practicing city planner and noted urban scholar Alexander Garvin surveys what has been done to improve America's cities over the past 100 years. Taking a unique multidisciplinary approach to the complex challenges for urban and suburban regeneration, Garvin shows how the combination of individual private-sector efforts, community-level action, and broad-based government policy can and has achieved an urban regeneration.
It is the author's contention that we do know how to solve urban problems and have been successfully fixing cities for two centuries. He argues that by studying and learning from the past, we can solve each seemingly intractable modern crisis as the scarcity of public open space, the lack of safe, affordable housing, the degradation of the environment, the erosion of the tax base, and countless other problems plague our cities and suburbs.
The book presents six ingredients of project success—market, location, design, financing, entrepreneurship, and time—and examines the ways in which these factors affect success or failure. Garvin argues that project success is not enough, and that effective city planning occurs only when the project also improves the surrounding city. Consequently, he calls for a redefinition of urban and suburban planning in which public action generates a desirable, widespread, and sustained private market reaction.
The American City: What Works, What Doesn't explores:
Since the release of the First Edition in 1995, this critically-acclaimed resource has become the standard reference work on urban planning and design, providing proven strategies for professionals and priceless "real world" insight for students. This new Second Edition offers:
Whether your interest is government, the nonprofit sector or the private market, if the subject is cities and how they work then this book is the place to begin. For more information on purchasing this book and other American Public Works Association books, please visit the APWA Bookstore online at www.apwa.net/bookstore or call the Member Services Hotline at (800) 848-APWA, ext. 5254.