book reviews

Designing Better Buildings: Quality and Value in the Built Environment

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Published by Routledge, 2003

Review by Sebastian Loew

Sebastian Macmillan (ED), Spon Press, 2005

Contrary to the impression given by the title, this is not a technical handbook addressed at the construction industry. It deals with the role of the client, the effect of design on the end users, the value added by quality, and it attempts both to give advice and find objective (and quantifiable) criteria for the evaluation of design. It is strongly influenced by the ‘first’ Egan report, Rethinking Construction (1998)...

Changing Cities: Rethinking Urban Competitiveness, Cohesion and Governance (Cities Texts)

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Published by Palgrave Macmillan, 2005

Review by Ivor Samuels

Eds. Nick Buck, Ian Gordon, Alan Harding and Ivan Turock, Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke and New York, 2005,

Edited by four professors, and with no less than 10 among the 21 contributors, this a compilation drawn mainly from the Cities: Competitiveness and Cohesion research programme of the UK Economic and social Research Council, a project that claims to be 'the largest academic research programme on cities ever mounted in the UK'.

Assessing Building Performance

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Published by A Butterworth-Heinemann Title, 2004

Review by Brian Wood RIBA MCMI MRICS MBEng MBIFM FFB FCIOB

Preiser, Wolfgang and Vischer, Jaqueline (eds.), Elseiver, 2005

Francis Duffy's foreword starts and finishes with comments addressed to architects: 'Why have architects talked about the assessment of building performance for so long and yet have been so slow to do anything about it?' and 'This book turns difficulties into opportunities. It makes one almost proud to be an architect.'

Unaffordable Housing: Fables and Myths

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By Alan W. Evans, Oliver Marc Hartwich

Published by Policy Exchange, 2005

Review by Dr Keith Thomas (economist, Visiting Fellow in Planning at Oxford Brookes University, and Secretary of Oxford Pastorate Housing Association)

Policy Exchange, London, 2005

A lit touchpaper - or a damp squib?

At last - the prospect of a really good, rip-roaring read devoted to planning! As David Curry MP describes in the foreword: 'They [the writers] will cause eaves to tremble throughout the Home Counties and beyond…let us look forward to the Evans and Hartwich manifesto for planning logic - then light the touch paper and stand back…'

Manchester: Shaping the City

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By Institute Of British Architects And Manchester City Council Royal

Published by RIBA Enterprises, 2004

Review by Brian Goodey

Ian McDonald, RIBA Enterprises with Manchester City Council, 2004

It may have been the slower pace of urban change, or the belief that a planned, accountable, design for policy and implementation was essential? Whatever the reason, there was a time when we wanted to know why and how things happened, rather than just that they had and what spin was being put on the implications...

Moor Art: Public Art Enriching Public Spaces, A Case Study

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By David Buurma, Alastair Fuad-Luke, Polly Mason

Published by Mor Design Ltd, 2005

Review by Juliana O'Rourke

Moor Design Ltd, 2005

The contribution of seven artists to the regeneration of a Cornish town centre - reflecting public art's role in animating public spaces and restoring a sense of pride and identity - is celebrated in a new book published by a team led by the scheme's landscape architect, David Buurma...

Making Cities Work

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By George Hazel, Roger Parry

Published by John Wiley & Sons, 2003

Review by John Billingham

George Hazel and Roger Parry, Wiley Academy, 2004

This book demonstrates ways in which the quality of city life can be improved. The number of people living in urban areas continues to increase and too often this results in problems of poverty, crime and unsatisfactory living and working environments. Twenty eight initiatives from around the world illustrate measures that can enhance the quality of life.

Integrating City Planning and Environmental Improvement: Practicable Strategies for Sustainable Urban Development (Urban Plannin

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Published by Ashgate, 2007

Review by Brian Goodey

Donald Miller and Gert de Roo, Ashgate, 2004

This collection, first published in 1999, consists of 23 revised essays, produced under the auspices of the International Urban Planning and Environment Association. It represents a move from case studies of integrated urban planning and environmental quality, to theoretical development.

The HOME House Project: The Future of Affordable Housing

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By DJ Brown

Published by MIT Press, 2005

Review by Louise Thomas

Edited by David J Brown, Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art, MIT Press, 2004

The HOME House Project publishes the winning and shortlisted entries to a design competition run in 2003 by the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art (in Winston-Salem, NC) for affordable, sustainable, single family housing. The parameters included a specific plot size, the plans of a three and a four bedroom house as specified by Habitat International in Americus, Georgia as the starting point, and a cost budget of $100,000.

Towards Sustainable Cities: East Asian, North American and European Perspectives on Managing Urban Regions (Urban Planning and E

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By Peter J. Marcotullio

Published by Ashgate, 2004

Review by Ivor Samuels

Andre Sorenson, Peter J. Marcotullio, Jill Grant, Ashgate Aldershot, 2004

his volume is the result of a Japanese Government supported workshop held in Tokyo in 2001. The perspectives are mainly US West Coast, Korean and Japanese with only two of the nineteen chapters dealing with European contexts - the Netherlands and Belgium. So, with its contributors coming exclusively from academic backgrounds it would be easy to...