book reviews

The Genealogy of Cities

By Charles P. Graves Jr.

Published by The kent State Universty Press

Review by Oliver Spratley

Genealogy of Cities is an astonishing body of work, a remarkable process of research and redrawing that has made accessible over 1000 city plans - all of which presents a resource that can not fail to impress upon seasoned academics and practitioners – invaluable, to all those about to embark on their studies, in the fascinating field of urban regeneration and design.

This masterful collection graphically chronicles urban settlement and proposed development, from 350 BCE to the present, that is both standard bearing and illuminating in style.

Includes CD of approximately 1000 downloadable city plans

Supported by a grant from the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Art

Design Quality in New Housing: Learning from the Netherland's

By Matthew Cousins | Published by Taylor & Francis | 2008

Review by Oliver Spratley

Design Quality in New Housing - Learning form the Netherland’s showcases some of the best examples of good UK housing schemes and sets them alongside a more prevalent Dutch epoch.

Book review: Identity By Design

Identity By DesignPublished by Architectural Press, 2007

Why are all cities starting to look the same? That's a question increasingly being heard as the work of international design practices come There's an inevitable corollary to that question - what can we do to stop the 'clone town' phenomena - that is harder to find an answer to.

Designing the City of Reason: Foundations and Frameworks

By Ali Madanipour

Published by Routledge, 2007


ISBN 978-0415420921

Review by Oliver Spratley

Ali Madanipour draws on his wealth of knowledge and on broad bibliographic source to elucidate "connected thought and connected action" that has come to shape the 'city of reason'. Human quest for understanding and association with phenomena has established the 'cities of reason' and those beliefs that have legitimised the decision making process for the built environment the world over.

RMJM Inside Out Outside in: More Than Architecture

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By Paul Stallan, Lucy Andrew, Adrian Boot, Patrick Wilson, Alistair Brand, Judy Cheung, Craig Edwards, Gordon McGregor, Simon Richards, Nathan Ward

Published by Black Dog Publishing, 2006

Review by Lucy Tennyson

Black Dog Publishing, 2006

Inside Out Outside In celebrates the 50th anniversary of architects RMJM. But this book is far more than just a piece of PR for the practice. It sets out to show the workings of RMJM from the inside out - and the unique contribution of its personalities - writing from the outside in, exploring its client relations and current projects.

New Public Spaces

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By Sarah Gaventa

Published by Mitchell Beazley, 2006

Review by Brian Goodey

Sarah Gaventa, London, Mitchell Beazley, 2006

This is a generously illustrated survey of urban spaces completed in the present century. As such it provides a very clear break with the 20th century image of planted, symmetrical ‘squares’ or the contrived afterthoughts surrounding faceless office blocks. Whilst there is, inevitably, some repetition in devices, it is the ‘sense’ of each place illustrated that comes immediately to mind.

Designing the Seaside: Architecture, Society and Nature

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By Fred Gray

Published by Reaktion Books, 2006

Review by Lucy Tennyson

Fred Gray, Reaktion Books, 2006

Anyone wanting a insight into what makes British seaside towns really special in terms of architecture and design will find Fred Gray’s new book, Designing the Seaside, a useful guide. For an urban designer or planner looking for inspiration the book is worth having in terms of its images alone, as its wealth of photographs, most of them collected by the author, is certainly its strongest point.

Architects Without Frontiers: War, Reconstruction and Design Responsibility

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By Esther Charlesworth

Published by Architectural Press, 2006

Review by Camillo Boano, Oxford Brookes University - School of Built Environment - Department of Planning Oxford - UK

Esther Charlesworth, Architectural Press Elsevier, Oxford and Burlington, 2006

The promise of this book is profound: to highlight the mono-dimensional physical-focus of architect’s minds and offering a new vision of architects and design professional as 'mobile and collaborative agents' outside traditional sites and constructed environments. In doing so, the author examines practioners’ role in the design and re-assemblage of urban environments ravished by wars and social conflicts resulting in de facto 'divided cities'.

Designing for cyclists: a guide to good practice

By Building Research Establishment

Published by IHS BRE, 2006

Review by Tim Jones, Department of Planning, Oxford Brookes University

A useful guide for anyone in the UK concerned with improving cycling facilities: designers, engineers, planners and developers. Essentially the guide is a simplification of national guidelines and provides both examples and statements of principle. Best read in conjunction with more comprehensive European and UK design handbooks.

The Connected City, by Rob Cowan

Best Practice Guidance
connected city cover 
Extracts from a personal overview on mending the urban fabric, which gives practical guidance on improving cities and urban environments, based on the underpinning notion of connectivity. Checklists for people, place and movement are included which aim to assist in creating places where people want to live and work.Liverpool was one of the first cities to test these principles in its design and development guide. The recently relaunched Placemaking initiative builds on this earlier work.
Published on RUDI on 26 October 1998.  



Checklist A - People

Checklist B - Places

Checklist C - Movement

Liverpool: Making it happen