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Best Books on Urban Planning

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Historically, urban planning has occupied a place of central interest for policy makers and architects. Many books have been written based on design patterns and regulations in this domain. As a varied technical profession by itself, urban planning captures the interest of learners from many fields. 

This includes engineering, politics, social and architectural professionals and candidates, seeking expansion of knowledge. With centuries of planning behind reforms and actions which have shaped current cities, one may feel compelled to understand the thinking that went behind their formation. These books give an insight into these questions and many more. 

5 Best Books on Urban Planning & Reviews

1. The Big Ones: How Natural Disasters Have Shaped Us (and What We Can Do About Them)

Authors: Dr Lucy Jones

Publisher: Doubleday

Pages: 256

The Big Ones is an impactful book by a renowned seismologist, with an insight into natural disasters. She explores the vivid nature of phenomena such as earthquakes and volcanoes. In this book, she instigates the idea of understanding how the actions of nature shape the world as we know it today. 

She then draws a parallel between the existence of mankind with these natural disasters, explaining how they have a hand in altering our cities and our architecture. The book tends to move towards an equalitarian goal of humanizing and healing of the global race. 

Unlike what you may anticipate from the book, it looks beyond science and history and delves into the planning of cities with the oversight of increasing incidences of natural disasters. The book makes a call to action with its deep understanding of economic and architectural prowess amidst the looming danger of a disaster.

The author analyses varied scenarios including the impact that urban dwellings must sustain against natural events. The book indeed makes a bracing examination in the field of urban planning that could be useful for everyone. 


The book remains accessible for a variety of readers. It is sprinkled with facts of science and history, with a future perspective with the help of analogies, giving the reader a wider insight into the matter. 

2. Building and Dwelling: Ethics for the City

Authors: Richard Senett

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Pages: 368

This radical book is an exploration of the emergence of cities and the people who reside within them. The author spins a delicate timeline of events that tread down from the ancient city of Athens to the modern day metropolises. All is not good down this journey which interlinks how we have gone global at a certain cost. 

In this book, the author makes a call for a revolutionary alternative. Citing the present expansion of cities a ‘closed’ one, he calls for the development of an open city. Planners could experiment beyond the conventional boundaries of city development. The far ranging interests of the author are apparent with his insightful approach in this book. 

At the same time, he also celebrates the cities as we know them today. His call for a different approach emerges mainly from the prospective differences that newer cities can bring to this world. The book includes multiple quotes from planners and philosophers. He then succeeds to draw an academic relevance from the ideas on city planning that have been in circulation over the years. 


You will find this book useful if you can adopt the factious vision of the author. The book proposes several accepted reasoning. A tolerant mind will find this book progressive and futuristic in its matter. 

3. Parking and the City

Authors: Donald Shoup 

Publisher: Routledge

Pages: 534

Parking and the city gains merit with its clear impact that its instigates in the mind of the reader. The book opens the vaults to different levels of urban planning. For urban designers who do not find parking a very glamorous issue to resolve, this book offers an engaging insight into what they can consider. 

The book makes a decent case by presenting valid arguments. It then spearheads the discussion into planning instruments and city economics, highlighting the hidden assumptions which drive decision making. Commendably, the book does not end without delivering apt solutions in its steed. 

With a very interesting and engaging matter, the author delivers an entertaining read. The sheer clarity with which the book demonstrates the issue manages to keep the reader hooked. In a time where the global economies battle with mainstream issues, this book brings out the relevance of the subject matter quite clearly. 

This book highlights why urban planning needs to focus on minimal issues as much as the mammoth architecture of a building. The book remains accessible to the reader with the essence in what it has been printed with. The ideas portrayed in the book are simple and apparent.


The book is scripted with fine lucidity which makes sense with every turn of the page. It is an insight into major policy decisions. This book is meant to go down well for everyone. 

4. Sustainable Nation: Urban Design Patterns for the Future

Authors: Douglas Farr

Publisher: Wiley

Pages: 400

The sustainable nation is a transparent insight into the looming future of mankind. The author makes an urgent opening in his book to acknowledge the vexing challenges that lay ahead for us. He critics the slow pace of change that our urban planners seem to have picked up. The fierce power of words creates an image of the path that we should be taking in terms of policy decisions. 

The author makes a compelling case on why we should be heading towards a sustainable growth model. However, what makes his book an appeasing read in the pivotal target that he sets on accelerating this growth. This book acts as a guide, as much as a manual to achieve this growth. 

The author includes a clear understanding of the latest urban trends and designs that should be at the centre of our expansion targets. At the same time, he attempts to stitch the fabric that seems torn between growth and climate changes. 


You might be interested in this book if you have a futuristic vision in mind. The book has a detailed approach to the targets its envisions which require an open understanding by the reader. 

5. Walkable City Rules: 101 Steps to Making Better Places

Authors: Jeff Speck

Publisher: Island Press

Pages: 312

The walkable city manages to remain current to its subject and appeals to a wide range of readers. This book is a treasure of practical solutions to the hurdles which urban planners face constantly. Surprisingly, the book continues to remain free of technical jargon, promoting the idea of making better walking spaces in a healthy decorum. 

To many readers, this book may even appeal as a sight to a better future. It demonstrates the subject of city planning with engaging text that makes sense with every page. The book resounds with a hope for a greener and better living space for the coming generations. To a large extent, it manages the bridge the gap between the present and the future. 

Readers can draw immense inspiration from this book which gives deeper insights into a better tomorrow. 


This book is bound to interest you in every sense how the author describes the text. The text is quite comprehensive and engaging which continues to hold the interest of the reader. 


These books on urban planning are excellent for reference and academic purposes as well. The nature of these titles is such that they can find relevance for an audience with diverse interests. We hope that these books will meet your expectations for remarkable reads on urban planning. Make sure to pick an updated version of your preferred title for latest information. Do you have any other titles in mind for insightful reading on urban planning that you have read? 

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