"Urbanism in the Age of Climate Change" is an extended summary of Peter Calthorpe’s thought leadership in the areas of urban planning and its impacts on the surrounding environment. Arguing the holistic nature of planning decisions, "Urbanism" is full of quotable lines and beautiful graphics demonstrating how our carbon footprint continues to grow despite advances in energy efficient technologies - and how conscious planning decisions can play a significant role in decreasing our impact.
Peter Calthorpe’s claim to fame was the articulation of the ‘Transit Oriented Development’ concept in the early 1990s. The idea that urban areas should be built around public transit has become a staple of new urbanism and livable planning discussions today. In his newest book, he expands on this topic, quantifying the current state of environmental affairs, recounting methods that have already been attempted, and reiterating in so many ways: how compact communities are a fitting solution to so many social and environmental ills.
Paring the climate change discussion down to “urbanism, increased building efficiency standards, and higher auto gas mileage,” Calthorpe addresses urban infill, mixed-use policy changes, and a focus on density as the greatest value actions to facilitate all three.
In his arguments, ‘urbanism’ alludes broadly to any development “mixed in uses, walkable, human-scaled, and diverse in human population; that balances cars with transit; that reinforces local history; that is adaptable; and that supports a rich public life.” He acknowledges the various cultural, geographical, and economic scales which differentiate communities but references traditional urbanism qualifications as the intended foundation of his theories.
Overall, the book is a strong consolidation of facts and figures to connect planners, environmentalists, and social change-makers. It clearly articulates a theory, action plan, and historical data to bring a vision to life.
Do you think urbanism is the key to sustainable growth in the face of climate change? Are there districts or communities in your city that are more prepared for climate change than others? Share your thoughts and your city's stories in the comments area below.
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Credits: Creative Commons images courtesy of rawpixel.com and Skitterphoto. Updated on December 9, 2017.
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