"A growing movement to replace charmless suburban sprawl with civilized, familiar places that people love." So wrote Time Magazine in a recent article about Andres Duany, Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk and Peter Calthorpe, leaders of the dynamic urban design revolution coming to be known as the New Urbanism. Their breakthrough planning conceptspropose a vision of the future that combines the best of the past with the realities and modern conveniences of today. Part of a broader trend toward the restoration of community and concern for a more sustainable environment, the New Urbanism addresses many of the crucial issues of our time: the decline of America's cities, the rebuilding of its crumbling infrastructure, housing affordability, crime and traffic congestion. Not without controversy, the proponents of this new design approach suggest bold alternatives to the present sprawl and isolation that they see as the consequence of five decadesof poorly planned suburban growth. Like the successful older neighborhoods and small towns where many of us grew up, the designs of the New Urbanism integrate housing, shops, workplaces, parks and civil facilities into close-knit communities that are both charming and functional. Walkability is key, but cars aren't excluded. Public places lie at the heart of these designs which set aside their most valued sites for parks, schools, churches, meeting halls and other civic uses. Affordability is also an important consideration--a wide range from Seaside, the acclaimed new resort town in Florida's panhandle, to a revitalization plan for the deteriorating core ofdowntown Los Angeles. Also included is a mobile-home village in Arizona (cited by Progressive Architecture in its annual design awards), the rebuilding of the nation's largest "urban renewal" housing project in Texas and a "sustainable community" for 12,000 in British Columbia. Initiated by developers, government agencies and/orcitizen advocacy groups, these pioneering new communities and infill projects offer simple yet compelling solutions to many frequently encountered planning problems. The extensively documented case studies in this book include photographs, drawings, diagrams and urban design codes--more than 500 images in all, a majority of which are in color. Essays by the movement's leading practitioners clearly articulate the principles of the New Urbanism. Commentaries by prominent architecture and urban planning theorists complete this comprehensive publication.The New Urbanism advocates an ambitious yet pragmatic agenda for the building and rebuilding of our neighborhoods, towns and cities. This book provides an invaluable guide to this emerging movement forarchitects, urban planners, civic leaders and concerned citizens; it is also must reading for anyone who cares about the future of America's communities.
Softcover book. 229 pages. Published by Almaden Books
In The Murder of Nikolai Vavilov, acclaimed journalist and author Peter Pringle recreates the extraordinary life and tragic end of one of the great scientists of the twentieth century. In a drama of love, revolution, and war that rivals Pasternak's Dr. Zhivago, Pringle tells the story of a young Russian scientist, Nikolai Vavilov, who had a dream of ending hunger and famine in the world. Vavilov's plan would use the emerging science of genetics to breed super plants that could grow anywhere, in any climate, in sandy deserts and freezing tundra, in drought and flood. He would launch botanical expeditions to find these vanishing genes, overlooked by early farmers ignorant of Mendel's laws of heredity. He called it a "mission for all humanity." To the leaders of the young Soviet state, Vavilov's dream fitted perfectly into their larger scheme for a socialist utopia. Lenin supported the adventurous Vavilov, a handsome and seductive young professor, as he became an Indiana Jones, hunting lost botanical treasures on five continents. In a former tsarist palace in what is now St. Petersburg, Vavilov built the world's first seed bank, a quarter of a million specimens, a magnificent living museum of plant diversity that was the envy of scientists everywhere and remains so today. But when Lenin died in 1924 and Stalin took over, Vavilov's dream turned into a nightmare. This son of science was from a bourgeois background, the class of society most despised and distrusted by the Bolsheviks. The new cadres of comrade scientists taunted and insulted him, and Stalin's dreaded secret police built up false charges of sabotage and espionage. Stalin's collectivization of farmland caused chaos in Soviet food production, and millions died in widespread famine. Vavilov's master plan for improving Soviet crops was designed to work over decades, not a few years, and he could not meet Stalin's impossible demands for immediate results. In Stalin's Terror of the 1930s, Russian geneticists were systematically repressed in favor of the peasant horticulturalist Trofim Lysenko, with his fraudulent claims and speculative theories. Vavilov was the most famous victim of this purge, which set back Russian biology by a generation and caused the country untold harm. He was sentenced to death, but unlike Galileo, he refused to recant his beliefs and, in the most cruel twist, this humanitarian pioneer scientist was starved to death in the gulag. Pringle uses newly opened Soviet archives, including Vavilov's secret police file, official correspondence, vivid expedition reports, previously unpublished family letters and diaries, and the reminiscences of eyewitnesses to bring us this intensely human story of a brilliant life cut short by anti-science demagogues, ideology, censorship, and political expedience.