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Sustainability and Cities: Overcoming Automobile Dependence Paperback – 31 Mar 1999


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Product details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Island Press (31 Mar. 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1559636602
  • ISBN-13: 978-1559636605
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 3 x 25.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 645,265 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Sustainable development, or sustainability for short, is easily understood at its most basic level. Read the first page
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By s.j.baddeley@bham.ac.uk on 27 Mar. 2000
Format: Paperback
In "The Life and Death of Great American Cities" written in the 1960s Jane Jacobs embraced complexity as a goal in itself. "How" she asked "can cities generate enough mixture among uses, enough diversity throughout enough of their territories, to sustain their own civilisation?" For Newman and Kenworthy the key idea is "sustainability" - "one of the most diversely applied concepts among academics and professionals discussing the future" that "has cut across all disciplines and professions and has developed many complexities." The car enters Newman and Kenworthy's consideration as a technology of widening individual choice, so what paradoxical consequence has meant that its proliferation has blighted what it might have been expected to nurture?
Newman and Kenworthy argue that the car, unlike public transport, offered people who could afford it freedom to live anywhere in a city and get quickly to any other part of it. It appeared to remove the need to plan land-use. Anything could be built just about anywhere with drivers determining their own routes to and from home to work, shops, schools and entertainment. In the "car-city" - which Newman & Kenworthy distinguish from the "pedestrian" and the "transit" city - it is possible to develop in any direction and not just along rivers, tramlines or railways. Dispersed low density housing becomes accessible and popular. Town planners can separate residential from industrial zones accelerating decentralisation. In spaces teeming with DIY transport connections, developers needed only to provide power and water and car owners would embrace responsibility for deciding for themselves how to move between the services they felt they needed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 4 Jun. 2000
Format: Paperback
The publication of this book coincides with the release of the findings of the UK Government's Urban Task Force report entitled "Towards an Urban Renaissance". Both publications neatly sum up the main challenges facing planners, politicians, business and communities in making our towns and cities more attractive, safe, inclusive and sustainable places to live work and visit. This means adopting a more people orientated approach to developing our urban areas, and Peter Newman and Feffrey Kenworthy certainly make a highly valuable contribution to this process.
As the title indicates the book charts the problems associated with growing car use and dependency and seeks to dispel the myths about the inevitability are more car dependent lifestyles. They do so by advocating the development of an integrated network of sustainable transport alternatives including better public transport, more attractive, walking and cycling routes and traffic calming.
Yet the real value of this book, comes through in a series of well researched case studies from around the world, which point to the the proven success of such measures if they are also accompanied by supportive land use policies. Land use policies are often considered to be a blunt policy tool often taking many years to have any effect on traffic growth. However the authors bring to colourful life the rapid success of such policies if implemented in a balanced way.
In particular, they describe the development of new "urban villages" consisting of high density land uses, with shops, businesses, leisure and community facilities all closely integrated with a better mix of residential development.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 8 reviews
34 of 36 people found the following review helpful
Gridlock and bypasses are not the only options. 1 Nov. 1999
By s.j.baddeley@bham.ac.uk - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
In "The Life and Death of Great American Cities" written in the 1960s Jane Jacobs embraced complexity as a goal in itself. "How" she asked "can cities generate enough mixture among uses, enough diversity throughout enough of their territories, to sustain their own civilisation?" For Newman and Kenworthy the key idea is sustainability - "one of the most diversely applied concepts among academics and professionals discussing the future..." that "...has cut across all disciplines and professions and has developed many complexities." The car enters Newman and Kenworthy's consideration as a technology of widening individual choice. Why then is the car not the transport technology, par excellence? What unintended consequence has meant its proliferation has blighted the very thing it might have been expected to nurture?
Newman and Kenworthy argue that the car, unlike public transport, offered people who could afford it freedom to live anywhere in a city and get quickly to any other part of it. It appeared to remove the need to plan land-use. Anything could be built anywhere with drivers determining their own routes to and from home to work, shops, schools and entertainment. In the "car-city" - which Newman and Kenworthy distinguish from the "pedestrian city" and the "transit city" - it is possible to develop in any direction and not just along rivers, tramlines or railways. Dispersed low density housing becomes accessible and popular. Town planners can separate residential from industrial zones accelerating decentralisation. Public and commercial buildings no longer need to cluster as a product of the convergence of private and public investment in a particular place. Public transport constricted by timetables and fixed routes becomes second class travel.
Where the car city has been taken to extremes as in Newman and Kenworthy's intellectual territory - America and Australia - the penny dropped soonest. The social consequences that attended driving people off streets and creating boundaries round parks, squares, promenades, pavements - which had served as milieu for human interaction - only began to be widely accepted quite recently. Only now is a wedge of new economic logic being driven between the car and its enduring connection with the good life.
The car, once it ceased to be an indulgence of the rich, always represented a balance between liberation and dependency. Today, the choices promised by cars are linked transparently to those they take away. Everyone knows about exhaust emissions and most drivers, outside of advertisements, experience worsening road conditions. There is growing despondency among those who would like to use their cars less. They realise alternatives won't work unless people switch in large numbers to other ways of getting around. But the public space needed to take to the streets to walk or cycle and take trains and buses is unavailable. Many see public space as hazardous for themselves, and perilous for their children. Deprivations long imposed on people without cars apply, with increasing force, to people with them. New technology may reduce vehicle emissions. It cannot recover the enormous interaction space taken out of circulation by road traffic. Before that lost social space can become available for people outside cars, a legal and moral space has to be reclaimed.
This is why the idea of sustainability is slowly and surely turning into a value. It is the big idea which legitimates unpopular regulation. It offers space for the entrepreneurs of the future, exciting third world policy makers who want to leap a stage in the industrial revolutions of the richer nations. It is the idea around which people are ready to form alliances that go beyond their interests; a concept which "did not come so much from academic discussion as from a global political process." Newman and Kenworthy speak of their book being "many years in preparation", a book that is a "combination of text book and life story" deriving from work with city governments and voluntary groups attempting to address a major global and local issue of how people "can simultaneously reduce their impact on earth while improving their quality of life".
This books aims to show how a city's use of land determines and is determined by its dominant forms of transport. It describes how policies aimed at creating sustainable relationships between humans and their environment necessarily revolve around a city's land-use-transport formula. Getting this right is a prerequisite for urban renaissance.
What makes this book of especial value and its focus provocative is that so many cities and towns are now "auto-dependent". Because cars are sold on the basis of the freedoms they offer, policies to regulate so dominant a form of transport, even when those freedoms are nurtured in the imagination rather than available in the material world, arouse strong protest. Attempts to diversify people's transport choices are regularly characterised as restrictive and even oppressive. Instead of being seen as a catalyst for wealth production, governments addressing challenges to the reputation and wealth of cities caused by "auto-dependence" are seen as depriving large numbers of citizens of fundamental freedoms. The "motorist" has become a late 20th century everyman, affected from all angles by policies to restore a balance in cities between space allocated to rapid movement and space where citizens can engage in civil exchange.
This book is a mine of arguments, backed by statistics, illustrations and graphs. Readers concerned about global warming may be disappointed to find no thinking about the impact of air transport on the sustainability of cities. Officials and politicians thinking of purchasing this text may ask whether it arrays anti-car prejudices against a "normal paradigm" of improving cars and roads and a friendlier planning regime for building of homes and businesses on green field sites. For Newman and Kenworthy that argument is over. Their book is primarily for those who seek to understand the implications of a paradigm which doesn't treat gridlocks or bypasses as the only options.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Excellent 15 Mar. 2000
By Maria Attard - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book has provided a clear insight on sustainable transport strategies and policies which have been adopted in different countries. It is very well explained and I must say that it is the best piece the authors have actually written. It amalgamates the previous work carried out by the authors and therefore is an excellent reference book, which should be present in every transport planner's shelf and in every university.
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
A must-read for concerned citizens in the 21st century. 4 May 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
A must-read for city planners, environmentalists, urban policymakers, and all those generally concerned with "smart growth," sustainability and a vision for the 21st century. Newman and Kenworthy make a clear case for the rethinking of our current pattern of development and why it just doesn't make sense. They offer an alternative pattern that is not only achievable, but attractive. Their study of global cities throughout the US, Canada, Europe, Asia, and Australia is clear and conclusive. And their vision is inspiring. American cities are making their comeback based on many of the principles expressed here. Read this book and share it with all those you know!
A must have in council / municipality library 22 Nov. 2013
By Lim Eng Hwa - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Explains the issue at hand in a descriptive yet easy to follow manner.

Should be able to cater for a wide audience of city planners, transport engineers, environmentalists and others interested in sustainable cities.

Recommended as a must-have for own shelf or office library!
Review of sustainabilities and cities overcoming Automobile Dependency 24 Jan. 2012
By gardentricks123 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The book made me stop and think how the automobile has influenced our culture and how it determines many of the decisions that I make. The book is a good read and well worth the price I paid for it.

gardentricks123
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