Sunday 19 September 2010

100 Essential Books of Planning

Since this is my 100th attempt at a coherent post, I thought it would be a good idea to reflect upon something numerically appropriate.

In 2009, to celebrate 100 years of the American planning movement, the American Planning Association decided to put together a list of 'essential books of planning' - which of course contains 100 books. All good planners own well thumbed copies of all 100 and most have committed them to memory. Perhaps not. Actually, there are many people may have forgotten about/never heard of. The quick, at-a-glance pdf list is worth downloading just to check this.

The list is compiled by decade, and it makes interesting reading. Some examples below (can't say I've read them all but I did particularly like Leopold's A Sand County Almanac)...
  • Bowling Alone (Putnam, 2000)
  • The Rise of the Creative Class (Florida, 2002)
  • The Devil in the White City (Larson, 2004)
  • The Geography of Nowhere (Kunstler, 1994)
  • Edge City (Garreau, 1991)
  • Cities of Tomorrow (Hall, 1988)
  • Life Between Buildings (Gehl, 1987)
  • The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces (Whyte, 1980)
  • A Reader in Planning Theory (Faludi, 1973)
  • Small is Beautiful (Schumacher, 1973)
  • The Death and Life of Great American Cities (Jacobs, 1961)
  • The Image of the City (Lynch, 1960)
  • Towards New Towns for America (Stein, 1951)
  • A Sand County Almanac and Sketches Here and There (Leopold, 1949)
  • The Structure and Growth of Residential Neighborhoods in American Cities (Hoyt, 1939)
  • Towards a New Architecture (Le Corbusier, 1923; in English, 1927)
  • Cities in Evolution (Geddes, 1915)
...if you're wondering why Garden Cities of To-Morrow is not on the list, check your dates. Obviously, the list is US-centric but it does make interesting reading. There are even some 'methods' books on the list, such as Krueckeberg and Silvers' 1974 text on Urban Planning Analysis. Also, there are many on the list that are not really 'planning' books as such, like von Hayek's The Road to Serfdom (1944).