four urbanist books

Jan Gehl spoke in Ottawa in 2010.

His book Cities for People is an excellent guide to understanding how humans experience the city and how to make good environments for people.

You can also watch Jan Gehl’s ideas in the documentary film The Human Scale.

Jeff Tumlin spoke in Ottawa in 2012, at the Planning Summit (which is now gone from the city’s website).

His book Sustainable Transportation Planning provides the context for understanding the current built environment and how to change it (it’s not just a planning manual, it’s a set of tools to help people work better with planners).

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Ken Greenberg spoke in Ottawa in 2011 as part of the Downtown Moves Public Lecture Program (which is now gone from the city’s website, but is available in the Internet Archive).

His book Walking Home frames the discussion as a journey from the suburbs we built back to the dense urban environments people are rediscovering, and that are best for humans.

W.H. Whyte has never spoken in Ottawa, because, well, he’s dead.

His book City, from 1988, is a fantastic exploration of how public space is actually used, and of how people actually experience the urban landscape.

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W.H. Whyte, Jane Jacobs and Jan Gehl are all intensely scientific in their approach to the city: they observe, they measure.  This is quite different from the modernist and brutalist approach, which asserted and imposed.

Note: Rescued this blog post from 2013, seemed about time to post it.