The books I’ve read this year have provided me with inspiration, adventure, and joy during a stressful and lonely year. The books gave us a sense of normalcy amidst troubling times while also preparing us for the task of rebuilding after the great shock of 2020.
The books do not address the big, looming questions posed by the pandemic-will people return to work, ride the bus, or settle in central cities in the same numbers as before-but? They aren’t urban nieuws obsolete in the changing world we now inhabit. On the contrary, the effects of the pandemic have only amplified and enshrined many of the realities depicted in these books.
This book series prepares the reader to make informed decisions and craft proactive, collaborative responses to life during and after a pandemic. Our books provide information and inspiration for regenerating a new world rather than surviving it.
The Planning of Different Urban Books
The Planetizen team met in November of 2020 to make final selections for the list according to the same selection criteria that guided similar “Top Books” lists of the past (2019 has been an excellent year for planning books, so you may have missed a few as the pandemic lingers into the new year). This list includes only books published between October 2019 and October 2020. A few big titles came out in the past few weeks that just missed being considered for next year’s list.There is still time to read during the remaining weeks and months of the pandemic, and we at Planetizen recommend any of the books listed below.
- The Address Urban Book
The book starts with a short history of how we got to this point, and then Mask takes us on a journey through the streets of our towns and cities. Along the way, we meet the people who live there, learn about the city’s history, and take a look at how we’re living today. There is no shortage of examples of the importance of street addresses, from the most exotic locations to locations in the most developed countries in the world. This book surveys the globe for examples of the consequences of not having street addresses.
- Barrio America: How Latino Immigrants Saved the American City
The book is likely to be a bittersweet experience for many, as the author presents a long-overdue appreciation of the benefits of Latino immigration in the United States. However, the author also provides a strong case for the economic and cultural benefits of immigration to U.S. cities. A wonderful book for those who want to understand the inner workings of the American barrio.
While the country seems further than ever from realizing the potential of Latino immigration to benefit the economic, social, and cultural lives of all Americans, this isn’t just a book about the potential of Latino immigration for the densest corners of central cities, but for communities of all shapes, sizes, and geographic locations.
Barrio America could also be for the less open-minded uninitiated. Let’s hope they get the message. As Barrio America makes clear, the cities and communities that embrace Latino immigration and allow Latino culture to flourish will be the cities and communities with the most resilient futures. This book could also be for the less open-minded uninitiated. Let’s hope they get the message.
- Brave New Home: Our Future in Smarter, Simpler, Happier Housing
Brave New Home is written for those who believe that the living arrangements most people are living in new—condos, apartments, and townhomes—are dangerous because they relinquish privacy, cause claustrophobia, and are ill-suited to the needs of families and the growing number of single people.
Brave New Home is a combination of history and fantasy. It advocates the revival of many modes of living and new, innovative methods that likewise reject suburban sprawl and the conventional single-family home. This is an excellent book that will help you understand the many ways you can use land in a way that promotes community.
The author, a former professional builder, has created a number of models that show how much energy, space, and money could be saved by using traditional methods of building homes rather than the typical McMansion or the contemporary box. This is the best book I’ve read on the subject. This is an outstanding book that provides detailed information about what to do about the housing crisis, and it shows how to do it.