Washburn

ForewordFriday: People Shaping Cities Shaping People Edition

Island Press's hometown of Washington, DC, by night, looking southwest. If you're struggling to orient yourself, find the Mall, picked out in lights with a whiter tone than the streets. Photo by Meghan Hess, used under Creative Commons licensing. To test your skills identifying cities by night, check out this quiz.

How did our cities get their shapes? That's the question geographer Rutherford H. Platt tackles in Land Use and Society: Geography, Law, and Public Policy, now available as a shiny fully updated third edition. He explores the ways societies have designed (consciously or unconsciously) their landscapes, rural and urban alike, and how this planning shapes social interactions and other aspects of society. In the excerpt below, he shows what we can learn from 30,000 feet and explores what land really means. And don't forget, you can enter to win a copy of the book by entering below!