The Agile City: Building Well-Being and Wealth in an Era of Climate Change fills a void in courses concerned with sustainability, architecture, and urbanism.
Hurricane Sandy has pushed both climate change and resilience planning for climate-change effects to the forefront of the national agenda. Both issues are engaged in a comprehensive, solutions-oriented way in The Agile City.
The book argue that we’ll more quickly slow global-warming—and blunt its effects—by retrofitting cities, suburbs, and towns.The Agile City shows that change undertaken at the building and community level can reach carbon-reduction goals rapidly. Adapting buildings (39 percent of greenhouse-gas emission) and communities (where the 33 percent of transportation-related emissions can be slashed) offers numerous other benefits that tax gimmicks and massive alternative-energy investments can’t match.
The book has recently been issued in paperback and on Kindle and iTunes, which makes it more affordable for students.
How does The Agile City fit general curriculum needs?
• Introduction to Sustainability, Sustainable cities. The book has been written for a broad audience, which makes it readily comprehended by undergraduates who may be considering any number of specialization related to sustainability. Numerous examples, provocative anecdotes, and cautionary tales make abstract ideas concrete. They also become compelling fodder for class discussion and additional investigation.
• Adding a broad context for specialties. For graduate students working in specialized sustainability-related fields, it offers invaluable context, since no sustainability specialty can live in its own silo.
• A broad, not a narrow spectrum. The book argues that sustainability engages a very broad spectrum of issues — property rights, real-estate, transportation, water, urban growth and change, architecture, urban planning, and green economics. Students and faculty in environmental sciences can place sustainability issues in the context of human-made systems and interventions — just as architects and planners gain a wider view of the ecosystem context in which they work.
How does The Agile City fit specialist curriculum needs?
For architecture and other building-profession students, The Agile City shows the powerful possibilities of efficiency and climate-sensitive design. (See Ch. 7, “Building Adaptive Places.”) Though renewables such as wind and solar get a great deal of attention, it is passive conservation measures that affordably achieve very deep cuts in energy use, even to the point of net-zero consumption. The book also helps building and real-estate professionals see how hidebound growth mechanisms unnecessarily constrain compelling possibilities (Part 2, “The Dysfunctional Growth Machine”).
Chapters 3 (“Real Estate: Financing Agile Growth”), Ch. 4, (“Re-Engineering Transportation”) and Ch. 5 (“Ending the Water Wars”) offer fresh, succinct insights that go to the core of urban planning, urban design, real estate, civil engineering, andtransportation planning. Even more important, these chapters show how mutually interdependent these disciplines are, focusing on how integrated growth policies, transportation supply, and real-estate finance can advance environmental goals, urban livability, and wealth creation simultaneously.
Ch. 9, “Loose Fit Urbanism” shows proactive means to achieve goals without strangling wealth creation and innovation with regulation. It looks at how we can create urban growth regimes that are inexpensive to develop, link to affordable transportation, and help businesses lower barriers to entry. Ch. 8, “Creating Twenty-First Century Community,” shows how several communities are taking their futures in hand in projects as small as Times Square and as large as the Great Plains. An entrepreneurial approach can unite warring constituencies and triumph over bureaucratic barriers.
Megaburbs, (Ch. 6, “Megaburbs: The Unacknowledged Metropolis”) are the landscapes created by the American growth machine, which is germane to any curricula that touches urban studies. This concept of urbanism helps us understand forces that act at metropolitan scale, which is essential to addressing issues of cities, suburbs, and landscapes.
Resilience thinking is rapidly gaining ground in landscape architecture and environmental sciences. Chapters 1, “Climate Change in the Landscapes of Speculation,” and 2, “A New Land Ethos,” show how to achieve a less contentious relationship between natural systems and human settlements. Rethinking hidebound attitudes of land ownership and land use is the little-used secret weapon in achieving resilience to environmental disasters like storms and floods.
For programs concerned with economics and sustainable growth, Chapter 10, “Green Grows the City” shows that green investments can be a powerful means to build wealth and well-being. A rapid growth in global wealth is already colliding with limited resources (both nonrenewable and renewable). Those circumstances make investments in sustainability extremely powerful economically and in terms of human welfare.Mainstream economists have begun seeking means of valuing green benefits which are ignored (to our peril) by conventional yardsticks of well-being, like GDP.
Please request an examination copy by clicking this link: http://islandpress.org/educators.html You can call Jason Leppig with questions at (202) 232-7933.