5 Rules for Tomorrow’s Cities: Design in an Age of Urban Migration, Demographic Change, and a Disappearing Middle Class

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External forces are precipitating a significant change in urban planning. The image of leafy suburbs, gaunt high rises, and even luxury mansions are being dislocated by the three forces responsible for putative transformation. As a professional city planner and professor at the University of British Columbia, author Patrick Condon directs readers’ attention towards massive rural-to-urban migration, a demographic shift as women want fewer children, and recognition that the rich are growing richer often through investment in valuable urban land. These factors, he points out in 5 Rules for Tomorrow’s Cities, are occurring against the background of climate change.

With Vancouver as an example, Condon shows how land in parts of the city is tenfold more valuable than the houses standing on it. Rather than demolish the property, he recommends the practice of modifying houses either by “hiving,” adding extra space skywards, or “barnacling” by attachments and supplementary structures on the site.

He describes with photo images coping styles in cities outside of North America. A district in Seoul, South Korea has seen the removal of a freeway built over an ancient river to reveal and provide access to the river below. Another innovation shows Medellin in Colombia where “ski lift” transportation across town takes care of traffic problems. In Houston, the city offers space for thirty vehicles to accommodate every automobile, not a practical system. The book’s exemplary organization, readability, and convincing message deserves more attention than most novels.


Reviewed By:

Author Patrick M. Condon
Star Count 5/5
Format Trade
Page Count 240 pages
Publisher Island Press
Publish Date 2020-01-16
ISBN 9781610919609
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue June 2020
Category Current Events & Politics
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