Thinking About Cities

When you walk out your front door, what do you see? Who are your neighbors, and where did the names of your streets come from? Can you walk to a bus stop, and does a highway cut through your community? What is the state of your sidewalks, and do people use them? It can be easy to take the place you live for granted as normal, expected, or inevitable. But the built environment is not an unavoidable or natural occurrence—people made decisions and policies with cascading consequences for what a city looks like today. Check out these eye-opening pieces of non-fiction about the forces that have shaped our urban spaces and the possibilities for their future.    

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The Accidental Ecosystem: People and Wildlife in American Cities

This book explores the way that American cities gradually pushed out their native wildlife and how today, many of our own decisions have accidentally brought them back, giving us the opportunity to learn to coexist and create better spaces for everyone.  

This title is also available for checkout as an eBook on Libby. 

The Divided City: Poverty and Prosperity in Urban America

This book examines the revivals of post-industrial cities like Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and Baltimore and how pockets of revitalization grab attention as neglected neighborhoods are left to decline, while also providing practical suggestions to build resilient, equitable cities. 

This title is also available for checkout as an eBook on Libby. 

Happy City: Transforming Our Lives Through Urban Design

An optimistic and enthusiastic treatise on where our city planning has gone wrong–driving frustration, isolation, and inequality–and the steps we can take to build more connected and happier communities. 

This title is also available for checkout as an eBook on Libby and eAudio on Hoopla. 

The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York

A monumental portrait of Robert Moses, a man who, despite never having been elected to office, enjoyed an unchecked and unparalleled level of power for forty years over both New York City and state, bending its built environment to his tastes. 

This title is also available for checkout as eAudio on Libby. 

The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration

A sweeping examination an often-overlooked part of history, when six million Black Americans uprooted their lives in the south and migrated to northern and western cities in search of a better future, changing the course of their own lives and the new cities they called home. 

This title is also available for checkout as an eBook on Libby.