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All Ebook Formats $34.99 ISBN: 9781610914475 Published December 2012
Hardcover $70.00 ISBN: 9781610913645 Published December 2012
Paperback $35.00 ISBN: 9781610913744 Published December 2012


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Good Urbanism

Six Steps to Creating Prosperous Places

 Good Urbanism
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Nan Ellin

184 pages | one 8 page color insert | 8 x 9

We all have a natural nesting instinct—we know what makes a good place. And a consensus has developed among urban planners and designers about the essential components of healthy, prosperous communities. So why aren’t these ideals being put into practice?

In Good Urbanism, Nan Ellin identifies the obstacles to creating thriving environments, and presents a six-step process to overcome them: prospect, polish, propose, prototype, promote, present. She argues that we need to reach beyond conventional planning to cultivate good ideas and leverage the resources to realize them.

Ellin illustrates the process with ten exemplary projects, from Envision Utah to Open Space Seattle. Each case study shows how to pair vision with practicality, drawing on our best natural instincts and new planning tools. 

For planners, urban designers, community developers, and students of these fields, Ellin’s innovative approach offers an inspired, yet concrete path to building good places.

"In another tour de force for the urban planning profession, Nan Ellin delivers a 'how-to' book with theoretical muscle. Ellin supplies six creative yet straightforward steps to make good places happen by tapping collective wisdom and mining the 'gemstones' embedded in every community."
Emily Talen, Professor, Arizona State University and author of City Rules

"Nan Ellin is an eloquent advocate for an urbanism of kindness. This book gracefully bridges the artificial divide between vision and practicality to show how we can co-create cities that produce and fulfill our desires for good lives—for 'prosperity'—by drawing inspiration from the gifts of our neighbors and our planet."
Michael Sorkin, President, Terreform, and Director of the Graduate Program in Urban Design, CUNY

"[Good Urbanism] is one of a small set of books that go beyond the problem of determining what is desired in our urban environment and instead sets forth an agenda for how to achieve good urbanism."
Journal of Planning Education and Research

"Good Urbanism is a strong addition to any collection focusing on urban planning and policy, much recommended."
Midwest Book Review

"Ellin has provided a much needed roadmap for achieving the kinds of places that urbanists aspire to create. She traces the route in six carefully delineated steps to destinations composed of vibrant, mixed use and well-connected metropolitan regions, cities, neighborhoods and blocks. Good Urbanism shows the way."
Eugenie Birch, Nussdorf Professor of Urban Research, University of Pennsylvania

"Ellin ably bridges the divide between theoretical vision and practical reality that has seen many great ideas for our communities fall short in the past... Experienced urban planners and practitioners and novice urbanists alike will find several new instruments in Good Urbanism to add to their toolkits. These will help enhance the health and well-being of our places and move beyond sustainability to a path towards prosperity."

"...the passion and relentlessly up-beat manner in which Ellin makes her case is refreshing, and reading Good Urbanism is undoubtedly a rewarding experience..."
Urban Design

"This book is a must read, now more than ever, for city planners, urban designers and architects as they vie to make cities around the world pleasanter habitats for their residents and visitors."
Jon Lang, Emeritus Professor, University of New South Wales, Sydney

Bonus Material: Good Urbanism Case Studies
Good urbanism fosters connections in order to make places livable and lovable. How can we recapture this capacity to cultivate good ideas for making livable and lovable places while rallying the resources to realize them? 

Learning from exemplary practices and applying insights from organizational learning, psychology, the philosophy of pragmatism, grounded theory, and wisdom traditions, Nan Ellin, in her book, Good Urbanism, developed an approach for uncovering the buried instinct to enhance human habitats. This “Path toward Prosperity” consists of six steps: prospect, polish, propose, prototype, promote, and present. 

Prospecting involves listening to self, others, and places. All kinds of prospecting contribute to polishing the gems. The third step is envisioning best possibilities and proposing plans, policies, and designs for crafting the polished nuggets into jewels that add economic, social, aesthetic, and environmental value to places. At this point, the proposal may be prototyped for testing and additional feedback. Then, the concept is promoted to a larger public to obtain even more input and build support. Well taken, these steps generate the resources required to implement the project along the way. Ultimately, the project is presented to trustworthy partners capable of realizing the vision on an ongoing basis, and the initial catalyst may move on to catalyze other projects. 

Projects will accord varying emphases to different steps along the path. In sum, the six steps are a heuristic device to be calibrated and customized for each project. 

The five bonus case studies offered here, as well as the case studies in Good Urbanism show how these steps have been applied to a variety projects. The projects included here are:
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