Your city council agenda.


*Reads city council agenda* “Destroy half of downtown’s green space to make an interstate 8 lanes and have a newer interchange to a freeway that was built in the 70s for the sole purpose of further segregating the city” Seems about right.


Articles on city lab to get you breadth (over depth) of topics then go read some books


the death and life of great american cities


I was about to make a quip about "could you have picked a longer book?" But then I see the comment below you is Robert Caro. That said, this is a very fine recommendation. Even if someone just reads excerpts, the book is so rich that there is still so much one can learn.


This book is the one got me into urban planning. Jane Jacobs is a great author.


Almost done reading this one now, I was interested in urban planning before but it had really pushed me to explore it further!


I'm a planning hobbyist (not a professional) but seeing Jeff Speck speak in 2013 and reading Walkable City changed my life. I sold my car and never looked back.


Could you elaborate on how you do it as a hobby? I might be interested in taking it up as a hobby until I can afford school.


1. I read lots of books about cities, walkability, and transit. 2. I design my life to reflect the principles I've learned from reading. I don't own a car and I never use cars. I live in multi-family housing. Etc. 3. I read the local news and follow the development of the master plan, zoning changes, public transportation, etc. 4. I write to local officials to tell them how I think the plans can be better (usually by advocating for less restrictive zoning, more investment in walking, biking, and transit, and less emphasis on automobiles). I almost studied planning but I decided to study economics instead because I wanted more emphasis on math and statistics in my training.


I also did a summer program in Amsterdam about planning when I was in school. The professor emphasized walking through neighborhoods and he tied each walk to different concepts. When I travel (used to travel because of the pandemic), I usually walk 10-15 miles a day and just try to understand how the neighborhoods work in a city.


Oh nice! After starting Walkable City I really admire that you don't use a car and you write to local officials. I studied a really niche field/went to professional school. I think economics would be really interesting to study but it's so broad I'd feel uncertain in what I'd do afterwards. Although, I do regret going to professional school and locking myself into a single career option. (My brother studied economics, by the way. He's a pilot now).


Cities for people, Jan Gehl


Jan Gehl freakin rules


Yeah Walkable City or Walkable City Rules are both good introductions to the field. Wouldn’t recommend High Cost as a first book unless you’re specifically interested in parking …it’s a pretty big ‘un.


*The Geography of Nowhere* by James Howard Kunstler


The Power Broker


I’m reading Walkable City right now. I just finished Street Smart by Sam Schwartz. I’d say Street Smart is a slightly more approachable read.


Triumph of the City is an interesting read, covers a lot of different topics within planning.


Human Transit by Jarrett Walker (its specifically about public transit but that's a huge part of urban planning)