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[18 Feb 2014 | No Comment | ]
“Bikenomics” – An Instant Classic for Planners and Bicycling Advocates

Certain books become a classic in their field of study because of their comprehensive nature (i.e. The City in History). Others do from their advocacy and groundbreaking nature (i.e. Silent Spring).  In the case of Bikenomics: How Bicycling Can Save the Economy, both of these reasons apply. Author Elly Blue has written “the” definitive book on bicycle planning that clearly identifies the societal, physical, environmental, and economic benefits of bicycling, while also completely debunking the myths, fables, urban legends, half-truths, and outright lies spread by naysayers and automotive apologists.
Facts are funny things. They tend …

Book Review, Brain Drain, Economic Development, Featured, Great Lakes, Headline, Labor, Politics, Race Relations, The Environment, U.S. Auto Industry, Urban Planning, Urban Poverty »

[3 Jun 2013 | No Comment | ]
A literary triumph – “Nothing But Blue Skies” by Edward McClelland

It is difficult to describe how truly outstanding the book entitled Nothing But Blue Skies: The Heyday, Hard Times, and Hopes of America’s Industrial Heartland is to read. As a nearly lifelong Rust Belt resident, I can attest to the fact that Edward McClelland’s newly released book simply nails our industrial heritage, decline, and hopeful potential squarely on the head. From nationally known politicians like Dennis Kucinich or Coleman Young to the everyday blue-collar laborer toiling in our mills and factories, Mr. McClelland personifies the Rust Belt like no other book I have ever read on the subject. As a Lansing native, he has personally witnessed the dramatic (and sometimes catastrophic) changes just in his lifetime. In Nothing But Blue Skies, Mr. McClelland takes the reader on a quasi-chronological step-by-step sequence of events that shook the Rust Belt down it its very core.

Book Review, Featured, Public Transportation, Sprawl »

[20 Dec 2012 | No Comment | ]
Walkable City Author Jeff Speck on the One Thing that Can Wreck a City

What makes a city great? According to Jeff Speck, the secret sauce is, quite simply, walking. If your city is a good place to walk — that is, walking is safe, comfortable, interesting, and useful — everything else will fall into place.

In Walkable City, his talked-about manifesto about healthy urban places, Speck lays out a simple formula for any city to become a pedestrian haven. “Putting cars in their place,” “mixing uses,” “getting parking right,” and supporting transit and cycling are a few of the 10 principles, he says, that separate the successful cities from the rest.

Book Review »

[20 Dec 2011 | No Comment | ]
Book Review: New to Cleveland: A Guide to Rediscovering the City

Let me start out by saying the author of this book is a friend and neighbor of mine for whom I have a tremendous amount of respect. Former Associated Press reporter and Detroit Shoreway resident Justin Glanville teamed up with illustrator Julia Kuo (who you will remember from 100 days of Cleveland) to produce this beautifully composed guide to Cleveland for newcomers, and old-timers looking to rediscover Cleveland neighborhoods.
I was lucky enough to win a copy of this book at the release party at Happy Dog last week and since …

Book Review, Featured »

[21 Jun 2011 | No Comment | ]
Book Review: John Gallagher’s Reimagining Detroit

The 2010 Census was unkind to the Rust Belt. Buffalo, Cleveland, Flint, and Youngstown all posted double digit percentile declines in population, falling back to levels last seen a century ago. Detroit lost a full quarter of its population. Yet, if Detroit Free Press reporter John Gallagher is right, there is still cause for hope. In his timely and optimistic book, “Reimagining Detroit: Opportunities for Redefining an American City,” Gallagher argues that although shrinking cities like Detroit face severe challenges, they also possess the space and opportunity to become greener and more livable, even if they continue to shrink.

The first step toward revitalization, Gallagher writes, is adjusting expectations.

Book Review, Featured, Good Ideas, Real Estate, Sprawl, The Media, Urban Planning »

[20 Feb 2011 | 7 Comments | ]
The Pros and Cons of “Triumph of the City”

Everyone should read this book, because it challenges conventional wisdom within the urbanist community. He argues powerfully that many activists’ attempts keep out evil developers just push development elsewhere or make cities more expensive. He’s critical of revitalization programs like light rail and convention centers. He’s critical of historic preservation.

One of the most novel cases made is that northern California should allow vastly more sprawl, because Californians emit very little carbon into their perpetually temperate atmosphere.

Book Review, Economic Development, Editorial, Great Lakes, Headline, Politics, Regionalism, The Environment »

[10 Nov 2010 | 6 Comments | ]
Officials “need to know people are concerned about the Great Lakes”

Earlier this week, Rust Wire was thrilled to chat with Great Lakes journalist Jeff Alexander, author of Pandora’s Locks: The Opening of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway. The book details how opening the Great Lakes to international shipping traffic via the Seaway allowed a number of invasive species in that have hurt the Lakes. I recommend the book for anyone who is interested in understanding more about the health of the Great Lakes ecosystem and the changes it has undergone in the last several decades. -KG

RW: “Could you start out …

Art, Book Review, Economic Development, Editorial, Good Ideas, Headline, The Media »

[25 Aug 2010 | 4 Comments | ]
Scranton, PA: More Than Just ‘The Office’

Editor’s note: This piece is a guest editorial from William Black, an organizer of the Pages & Places book festival in Scranton, PA, in October. Here he describes a number of other developments happening in his hometown. -KG

If you know Scranton, Pennsylvania, as the setting of NBC’s The Office—the U.S. version of Slough, the depressed and depressing overcast English city in which the Wernham Hogg Paper Company was doomed to eternally, if comically, fail—then your impression of the city is sunnier than the one most Scranton …

Book Review, Education, Good Ideas, Politics, Public Education, Race Relations, Regionalism, Rust Belt Blogs, The Media, Urban Poverty »

[8 Jan 2010 | 2 Comments | ]

Take a look at this column, published in Buffalo’s weekly Artvoice.
It reviews a book, Hope and Despair in the American City by Gerald Grant (Harvard University Press 2009), which examines school desegregation through metropolitan-wide school reorganization.
The premise? This work “compares the sorry recent history of Syracuse, New York with the glad success of Raleigh, North Carolina. One town tried desegregation within the boundaries of the old city and failed, and is dying, while the other town regionalized schools, and has been growing by leaps and bounds,” writes reviewer Bruce Fisher. (Fisher is …

Architecture, Art, Book Review, Editorial, Good Ideas, Headline, Real Estate, Regionalism, Urban Planning »

[12 Dec 2009 | 5 Comments | ]
Introducing The “Water Belt”

Check out this recent column by Pittsburgh Post-Gazette columnist Brian O’Neill.

He interviews ‘burgh native Don Carter, who recently retired president of Urban Design Associates and was named director of the Remaking Cities Institute at Carnegie Mellon University.

For years, Carter tells O’Neill, he has hated the term “Rust Belt.” And he’s trying to get folks to start calling …the “Water Belt.”

In place of “Sun Belt?” Try “Drought Belt.” Cities here, Carter writes, “are low-density, auto-dependent, and survive on ever diminishing supplies of