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City Building
Nine Planning Principles for the Twenty-First Century
John Lund Kriken, Philip Enquist, Richard Rapaport

ISBN 9781568988818
Publication date 5/1/2010
7.5 x 10 inches (19.1 x 25.4 cm), Paperback
304 pages, 200 color illustrations, 100 b/w illustrations
Rights: World; Carton qty: 0;

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"Good city building is not created by complex statistics, functional problem solving, or any particular decision-making process. Successful cities instead come from people advocating easily understood human values and principles that take into account the sensory, tactile, and sustainable qualities of environment and design in relation to what is the best of human endeavor."--from the introduction to City Building

In the twenty-first century the design of cities is more important than it has ever been. Far from being the cause of contemporary problems, cities can offer solutions to many of today's most serious concerns. Good city building counters the sprawl of suburbia with concentrated land use, replaces globalized design with regionally appropriate building types, contains infrastructure to a small footprint, and otherwise allows for livable, desirable communities. John Kriken of the award-winning planning firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill has been at the forefront of urban planning for over forty years, and he brings both his wealth of experience and his great optimism for the future to City Building. In writing that both experienced designers and typical city-dwellers will enjoy, he illustrates a means for comprehensive problem solving rather than symptom-based problem solving.

City Building is organized into three parts. Part 1 examines the past and defines the current practice of city building, addressing its shortcomings and proposing a comprehensive framework for rethinking the approach to cities in the future. Part 2 translates this framework into nine best-practice principles that are common to successful, livable, urban environments: sustainability, accessibility, diversity, open space, compatibility, incentives, adaptability, density, and identity. These principles are illustrated in a global portfolio of city building projects, designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, that show how best practices have been applied successfully--and sometimes not so. Part 3 makes the case that, far from being the problem, cities, properly organized, can be a mechanism for sensible, sustainable uses of increasingly scarce resources. The book concludes with a call for a national planning process and a comprehensive framework for settlement.



John Lund Kriken, Fellow, American Institute of Architects, is a renowned city planner and architect. In 1970, he joined the San Francisco office of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, ultimately becoming the partner-in-charge of SOM, San Francisco's Urban Design and Planning Studio. Today, he continues to work at SOM as a consulting partner and as an adjunct professor for the Masters of Urban Design program at the UC Berkeley, College of Environmental Design. He wrote this book as a tool to teach city design, as well as to encourage greater public participation in building good cities. "City Building for the 21st Century" benefited particularly from the assistance of two colleagues:
Philip Enquist, Fellow, American Institute of Architects, is an urban designer and architect who collaborated with John Kriken in San Francisco before becoming the partner-in-charge of Urban Design and Planning for SOM's Chicago office. During the book's development, he was a thoughtful critic and contributor, many of whose projects help define and illustrate the book's best-practice principles.

Richard Rapaport is a San Francisco Bay Area-based journalist, writer and lover of cities. His support helped make this book more accessible to a wider audience of city lovers.


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