The Humane Metropolis
Four-fifths of Americans now live in the nation’s sprawling metropolitan areas, and half of the world’s population is now classified as “urban.” As cities become the dominant living environment for humans, there is growing concern about how to make such places more habitable, more healthy and safe, more ecological, and more equitable—in short, more humane.
This book, edited by Rutherford H. Platt, explores the prospects for a more humane metropolis through a series of essays and case studies that consider why and how urban places can be made greener and more amenable. Its point of departure is the legacy of William H. (Holly) Whyte (1917–1999), one of America's most admired urban thinkers. He laid the foundation for today’s smart growth and new urbanist movements with books such as The Last Landscape (1968). His passion for improving the habitability of cities and suburbs is reflected in the diverse grassroots urban design and regreening strategies discussed in this volume.
Some of the chapter contributors are recognized academic experts, while others offer direct practical knowledge of particular problems and initiatives. The editor’s introduction and epilogue set the individual chapters in a broader context and suggest how the strategies described, if widely replicated, may help create more humane urban environments. Certain essays directly relate to Whyte’s own interests, such as the design of city and regional open spaces, public attachment to city parks, and the use of zoning incentives to create public spaces. Other chapters discuss twenty-first-century dimensions of the humane metropolis that we assume Whyte would embrace today, including social and environmental equity, regreening of brownfields, ecological rehabilitation of closed landfills, green building design, urban watershed management, and the idea of ecological citizenship.
Contributors: Carl Anthony, Thomas Balsley, Timothy Beatley, Edward J. Blakely, Eugenie L. Birch, Colin M. Cathcart, Steven E. Clemants, Christopher A. De Sousa, Steven N. Handel, Peter Harnik, Michael C. Houck, Jerold S. Kayden, Albert LaFarge, Andrew Light, Charles E. Little, Anne C. Lusk, Thalya Parrilla, Deborah E. Popper, Frank J. Popper, Mary V. Rickel Pelletier, Cynthia Rosenzweig, Robert L. Ryan, Lauren N. Sievert, William D. Solecki, Ann Louise Strong, and Andrew G. Wiley-Schwartz
Table of Contents
Introduction: Humanizing the Exploding Metropolis
Part I: “The Man Who Loved Cities”
Part II: From City Parks to Urban Biosphere Reserves
Part III: Restoring Urban Nature: Project and Process
Part IV: A More Humane Metropolis for Whom?
Part V: Designing a More Humane Metropolis
Epilogue: Pathways to More Humane Urban Places