Recommended readings

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Department of City and Regional Planning CP 119 – Fall 2002

University of California at Berkeley Planning for Sustainability

Instructor: Stephen M. Wheeler, Ph.D., AICP


Beginning around 1980, and especially in the 1990s, a huge literature emerged on sustainable development. The following are some of the most useful books on the subject. Most of the recent titles are available at local bookstores such as Cody’s and Builders Booksource..

Adams, W.M. 1990. Green Development: Environment and Sustainability in the Third World, New York: Routledge. A good history of the origins of the sustainability concept, going back to the 19th century, from a strongly international perspective. Sharply critical of the Brundtland outlook.
Beatley, Timothy. 1994. Habitat Conservation Planning. Austin: University of Texas Press. A good overview of this important tool, with many case studies.
Beatley, Timothy and Kristy Manning. 1997. The Ecology of Place: Planning for Environment, Economy, and Community. Washington, D.C.: Island Press. An excellent overview of sustainable city issues.
Beatley, Timothy. 2000. Green Urbanism: Learning from European Cities. Washington, D.C.: Island Press. A survey of sustainability-related initiatives in Europe.
Benfield, F. Kaid, Matthew D. Raimi, and Donald D.T. Chen. 1999. Once There Were Greenfields. Washington, D.C.: Natural Resources Defense Council. A concise overview of issues connected with urban sprawl.
Benfield, F. Kaid, Jutka Terris, and Nancy Vorsanger. 2001. Solving Sprawl: Models of Smart Growth in Communities Across America. New York: Natural Resources Defense Council. An extensive series of case studies of “smart” development.
Blowers, Andrew, ed. 1993. Planning for a Sustainable Environment: A Report by the Town and County Planning Association. London: Earthscan. A thorough if dry consideration of urban planning aspects of sustainable development from a British point of view, with emphasis on environmental policy rather than design.
Braidotti, Rosi et al. 1994. Women, the Environment and Sustainable Development: Towards a Theoretical Synthesis. London: Zed Books. The contributors to this volume explore the increasing acknowledgement of the central role of women with Third World sustainability efforts.
Brown, Lester R. 1981. Building a Sustainable Society. New York: Norton. One of the earliest overviews of potential sustainability policies, by the founder of the Worldwatch Institute.
Brown, Lester R., Christopher Flavin, and Sandra Postel. 1991. Saving the Planet: How to Shape an Environmentally Sustainable Global Economy. New York: Norton. Worldwatch Institute authors present an outline of a sustainable economy for a popular audience.

Bullard, Robert D. 1990. Dumping in Dixie: Race, Class, and Environmental Quality. Boulder: Westview Press. An early classic of the environmental justice movement.

Bullard, Robert D., Glenn S. Johnson and Angel O. Torres. 2000. Sprawl City: Race, Politics, and Planning in Atlanta. Washington, D.C.: Island Press. A good collection of essays about environmental justice issues in the Atlanta region.
Callenbach, Ernest. 1975. Ecotopia. New York: Bantam Books. The 1970s series of fictional Ecotopia books lays out a vision of a harmonious and sustainable society.
Calthorpe, Peter. 1993. The Next American Metropolis: Ecology, Community and the American Dream, New York: Princeton Architectural Press. An influential overview of urban form principles by one of the leaders of the New Urbanism.
Calthorpe, Peter and William Fulton. 2001. The Regional City: Planning for the End of Sprawl. Washington, D.C.: Island Press. A manifesto for a new focus on regional physical planning.
Cervero, Robert. 1998. The Transit Metropolis: A Global Inquiry. Washington, D.C.: Island Press. An excellent international comparison of metropolitan transit and land use strategies potentially leading toward sustainability.
Condon, Patrick and Stacy Moriarty, eds. 1999. Second Nature: Adapting LA's Landscape for Sustainable Living. LA: Treepeople. A great series of case studies showing how typical urban sites in L.A. can be retrofitted to improve sustainability.
Corbett, Judy and Michael Corbett. 2000. Designing Sustainable Communities: Learning from Village Homes. Washington, D.C.: Island Press. A readable consideration of urban design and site planning for sustainability, based on their experience developing Village Homes near Davis CA.
Costanza, Robert, ed. 1991. Ecological Economics: The Science and Management of Sustainability. New York: Columbia University Press. A leading collection of writings on ecological economics.
Daly, Herman and John B. Cobb, Jr. 1989. For the Common Good: Redirecting the Economy Toward Community, the Environment, and a Sustainable Future. Boston: Beacon Press. An extended discussion of the philosophy and economics behind sustainability.
Downs, Anthony. 1994. New Visions for Metropolitan America. Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution. A thoughtful overview of policy options for dealing with metropolitan growth and inequities.

Duany, Andres et al. 2000. Suburban Nation: The Rise of Sprawl and the Decline of the American Dream. New York: North Point. An eloquent and at times a bit arrogant critique of urban form by a main proponent of the New Urbanism.

Elkin, Tim et al. 1991. Reviving the City: Towards Sustainable Urban Development. London: Friends of the Earth. A good overview of sustainable urban development issues, with most emphasis on energy and pollution, and relatively little on land use.
Engwicht, David. 1993. Reclaiming Our Cities & Towns: Better Living with Less Traffic. Philadelphia: New Society Publishers. A stirring manifesto against automobiles.
Evans, Peter, ed. 2002. Livable Cities?: Urban Struggles for Livelihood and Sustainability. Berkeley: University of California Press. An excellent collection of readings on Third World local environmental movements, emphasizing sustainability planning.
Girardet, Herbert. 1999. Creating Sustainable Cities. Devon UK: Green Books. A short, succinct discussion of sustainablity issues from an international perspective.
Global Cities Project. 1991. Building Sustainable Communities: An Environmental Guide for Local Government. San Francisco: The Center for the Study of Law and Politics. A good series of handbooks providing detailed suggestions for local government action.
Goldsmith, Edward. 1993. The Way: An Ecological World View. Boston: Shambhala. A sophisticated exploration of paradigm change and globalization by the founder of The Ecologist magazine.
Greenbelt Alliance. 1989. Reviving the Sustainable Metropolis: Guiding Bay Area Conservation and Development into the 21st Century. San Francisco. The first Bay Area report calling for sustainability planning.
Hamm, Bernd and Pandurang K. Muttagi, eds. 1998. Sustainable Development and the Future of Cities. London: Centre for European Studies. An edited collection of articles focusing on international perspectives and social issues.
Hardoy, Jorge E. et al. 1992. Environmental Problems in Third World Cities. London: EarthScan. Includes a large chapter on "Sustainable Development and Cities" focusing on environmental and infrastructure problems in Third World urban areas.
Harris, Jonathan M., Timothy A. Wise, Kevin P. Gallagher, and Neva R. Goodwin. 2001. A Survey of Sustainable Development: Social and Economic Dimensions. Washington, D.C.: Island Press. Paraphrased articles from a wide variety of writers, focusing mainly on environmental policy, economics, and international issues. A rather frustrating approach for those interested in the original works.
Hart, Maureen. 1995. Guide to Sustainable Community Indicators. Ipswich MA: QLF/Atlantic Center for the Environment. A summary and analysis of more than 400 indicators in use or proposed by a number of communities.
Hawken, Paul. 1993. The Ecology of Commerce: A Declaration of Sustainability. New York: HarperCollins. A visionary call to reform economics in such a way that it restores rather than trashes the environment.
Holmberg, Johan, ed. 1992. Making Development Sustainable: Redefining Institutions, Policy, and Economics. Washington D.C.: Island Press. A very useful reader on sustainability from an international perspective.
Kelbaugh, Douglas. 1997. Common Place: Toward Neighborhood and Regional Design. Seattle: University of Washington Press. An excellent analysis of how regionally oriented urban design strategies can meet sustainability needs.
Kunstler, James Howard. 1993. The Geography of Nowhere: The Rise and Decline of America's Man-Made Landscape. New York: Simon & Schuster. A biting critique of the American built landscape, with a few suggestions for improvement relying on New Urbanist ideas.
Layard, Antionia, Simin Davoidi, and Susan Batty, eds. 2001. Planning for a Sustainable Future. New York: Spon. A rather dry collection of essays by British academics, providing useful background on European environmental planning.
Lyle, John Tillman. 1994. Regenerative Design for Sustainable Development. New York: John Wiley & Sons. A lengthy and somewhat dense consideration of ecological principles underlying sustainable design and resource use, with a number of useful examples.
Mazmanian, Daniel A. and Michael E. Kraft, eds. 1999. Toward Sustainable Communities: Transition and Transformations in Environmental Policy. Cambridge: MIT Press. Excellent articles treating the sustainable communities as a third main wave of post-1960s environmental planning.
McHarg, Ian L. and Frederick Steiner. 1998. To Heal the Earth: Selected Writings of Ian L. McHarg. Washington, D.C.: Island Press. A nice collection of writings by this seminal thinker in landscape design.
Meadows, Donella et al. 1992. Beyond the Limits: Confronting Global Collapse, Envisioning a Sustainable Future. Post Mills, VT: Chelsea Green. An updated analysis of global environmental systems by the authors of the original Limits to Growth.
Merchant, Carolyn. 1992. Radical Ecology. New York: Routledge. A very readable overview of different philosophical viewpoints within the environmental movement.
Mitlin, Diana. 1992. Sustainable Development: A Guide to the Literature. Environment and Urbanization 4(1):111-124. Perhaps the best review of sustainability debates from an international perspective.
Newman, Peter and Jeffrey Kenworthy. 1999. Sustainability and Cities: Overcoming Automobile Dependence. Washington, D.C.: Island Press. Focuses mainly on transportation issues.
Norgaard, Richard. 1994. Development Betrayed: The End of Progress and a Coevolutionary

Revisioning of the Future. New York: Routledge. A thoughtful and learned reevaluation of the modernist development paradigm that has led to the world’s sustainability problems.
O'Connor, Martin, ed. 1994. Is Capitalism Sustainable? Political Economy and the Politics of Ecology. New York: The Guilford Press. Offers a spirited "ecoMarxist" critique of development, sustainable and otherwise.
Pearce, David et al. 1990. Sustainable Development: Economics and Environment in the Third World. London: Edward Elgar. A useful theoretical discussion of the economics of sustainability with Third World examples.
Pearce, David, Edward Barbier and Anil Markandya. 1989. Blueprint for a Green Economy, London: Earthscan. First of a series of Blueprint books by British academics providing excellent popular explanations of eco-economic issues.
Pearce, David and Jeremy J. Warford. 1993. World Without End: Economics, Environment and Sustainable Development. New York: Oxford University Press. An in-depth text on "environmental economics" published for The World Bank.
Peck, Sheila. 1998. Planning for Biodiversity: Issues and Examples. Washington, D.C.: Island Press. A good overview of biodiversity planning.
Pratt, Rutherford H., Rowan A. Rountree, and Pamela C. Muick. 1994. The Ecological City: Preserving and Restoring Urban Biodiversity. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press. A good collection of articles on ecological restoration and urban ecosystems.
Redclift, Michael. 1987. Sustainable Development: Exploring the Contradictions. London: Methuen. A rigorous look at the sustainability concept from an international perspective reviews the strengths and weaknesses of deep ecology, Marxist, and environmental economics approaches.
Register, Richard. 1987. Ecocity Berkeley: Building Cities for a Healthy Future. Berkeley: North Atlantic Books. A visionary look at ecocity principles and how the city of Berkeley might be reshaped over a 100+ year timeframe through "ecocity zoning."
Register, Richard. 2002. Ecocities: Building Cities in Balance with Nature. Berkeley: Berkeley Hills Books. A visionary, organic synthesis of ecocity principles with emphasis on radically reshaping the physical form of cities over time.
Riley, Ann L. 1998. Restoring Streams in Cities. Washington, D.C.: Island Press. A wonderful and thorough resource on creek restoration, by one of the movement's pioneers.
Roseland, Mark. 1998. Toward Sustainable Communities: Resources for Citizens and their Governments. Stony Creek, CT: New Society Publishers. A good compendium of local sustainability strategies, with a lot of reference materials and addresses of local groups.
Satterthwaite, David, ed. 1999. The Earthscan Reader in Sustainable Cities. London: Earthscan. An excellent collection of articles with a focus on international and Third World issues.
Spirn, Ann Whiston. 1984. The Granite Garden: Urban Nature and Human Design. New York: Basic Books. An early classic detailing the relation between cities and the natural landscape.
Stivers, Robert L. 1976. The Sustainable Society: Ethics and Economic Growth. Philadelphia: Westminster Press. The first book specifically focusing on sustainability, emphasizing the ethical issues surrounding development.
Stren, Richard et al., eds. 1992. Sustainable Cities: Urbanization and the Environment in International Perspective. Boulder: Westview Press. One of the best considerations of how sustainability applies to cities internationally.
Thompson, J. William and Kim Sorvig. 2000. Sustainable Landscape Construction: A Guide to Green Building Outdoors. A hands-on guide for practitioners.
Todd, Nancy Jack and John Todd. 1993. From Eco-Cities to Living Machines. Berkeley: North Atlantic Books. Principles and small-scale applications of ecological design.
Urban Ecology, Inc. 1996. Blueprint for a Sustainable Bay Area. Oakland. A popularly oriented overview of sustainability issues for the Bay Area that has received numerous awards.
Van der Ryn, Sim and Peter Calthorpe, eds. 1984. Sustainable Communities. San Francisco: Sierra Club Books. An early collection of articles focusing on urban design visions such as for the proposed Marin Solar Village and the Bateson State Office Building.
Van der Ryn, Sim and Stuart Cowan. 1996. Ecological Design. Washington, D.C.: Island Press. The authors discuss five principles of ecological design emphasizing use of natural patterns.
World Commission on Environment and Development. 1987. Our Common Future. New York: Oxford University Press. The report of the Brundtland commission that put sustainability into international mainstream discussion.

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