A Better Place to Live
Phillip Langdon

A critique of suburbs and an articulate introduction to New Urbanism, with clear perspectives on creating and repairing walkable, livable communities.

A Pattern Language: Towns, Buildings, Construction
Christopher Alexander

Here s the book to start with. An encyclopedic, yet easily readable study of what makes buildings, streets, and neighborhoods work indeed, what makes environments human. Considered by many as the most important book on architecture and planning for decades.

Biophilic Design: The Theory, Science and Practice of Bringing Buildings to Life
Steven Kellert

A scholarly yet engaging collection of essays on how we can design and build environments that integrate with nature and natural systems.

Charter of the New Urbanism
Congress for the New Urbanism

Twenty seven essays expanding on the key principles of New Urbanism across all scales: region, city/town, district, neighborhood, block, building.

Children in the City: Home, Neighbourhood and Community
Pia Christensen

A colorful and diverse picture of children s life in urban environments.

City Comforts: How to Build and Urban Village
David Sucher

Filled with pictures and chunks of text, this little book is a series of modest, down-to-earth tips about how neighborhoods and urban settings can become more humane, human-scaled and alive.

Cohousing: A Contemporary Approach to Housing Ourselves
Charles Durrett and Kathryn McCamant

This is the book that launched cohousing in America and is still the first go-to source about these communities.

Courtyard Housing in Los Angeles
Stephanos Polyzoides

A jewel of a book documenting the typology and history of courtyard housing in Southern California.

Creating a Life Together
Diana Leafe Christian

Practical information for establishing and sustaining intentional communities, including sections on interpersonal and leadership issues, decision-making methods, sample legal documents and a profile of model communities.

Creating Community Anywhere
Carolyn Shaffer

Tools for creating community in a wide variety of environments.

Designing Sustainable Communities: Learning from Village Homes
Judy Corbett

Drawing extensively from the example of Village Homes in Davis, California, this book lays the ground for creating healthy, vibrant and environmentally responsive new communities.

Ecocities: Rebuilding Cities in Balance with Nature
Richard Register

This book is about re-building cities and towns based on ecological principles for long term sustainability, cultural vitality and health of the Earth's biosphere.

Free Range Kids
Lenore Skenazy

A funny manifesto that encourages parents to let their kids be kids.

Getting to Smart Growth, Volumes I & II
Smart Growth Network

Here are two practical manuals with a wide variety of tools and policies to create diverse, livable communities. With case studies of successful projects, and dozens of practice and financial tips.

Green Urbanism: Learning from European Cities
Timothy Beatley

A look at the sustainability movement in Europe with examples from 25 innovative European cities.

Life Between Buildings
Jan Gehl

First published in 1971, this book is still a perennial source for how people use public spaces.

Light Imprint Handbook: Integrating Sustainability and Community Design
Tom Low

This handbook for development and planning professionals to help build beautiful, livable communities with a lighter footprint.

Living Green: Communities That Sustain
Jennifer Fosket

A good look at green communities thriving in America and the people who build them.

Mental Speed Bumps
David Engwicht

Redesigning the American Dream: Gender, Housing, and Family Life
Delores Hayden

A provocative critique of how American housing patterns impact private and public life.

Retrofitting Suburbia: Urban Design Solutions for Redesigning Suburbs
Ellen Dunham-Jones

A comprehensive guidebook for re-imagining outdated, low-density communities into sustainable, mixed-use spaces that reduce urban sprawl and the dependence on cars.

Senior Cohousing: A Community Approach to Independent Living
Charles Durrett

A comprehensive guide to creating or joining a senior cohousing community, written by the US leader in the field.

Skinny Streets and Green Neighborhoods
Cynthia Girling

Good urban design and sound environmental design coincide in an examination of eighteen green neighborhoods documented in this book.

Sprawl Repair Manual
Galinia Tachieva

An exceptionally useful and inspiring manual for handling the impending transformation of suburbia into vital human communities.

Streets and the Shaping of Towns and Cities
Michael Southworth

The history and evolution of residential streets in the US and Britain, with a critique of grid patterns and surprising arguments in favor of cul-de-sacs and shared streets.

Suburban Nation: The Rise of Sprawl and the Decline of the American Dream
Andreas Duany

The city of the future turns out to be the old neighborhood. This book, by the founders of the New Urbanist movement, offers a critique of suburbia and guideposts for (re)creating vibrant, livable communities.

Superbia! 31 Ways to Create Sustainable Neighborhoods
Dan Chiras

Practical ideas for remaking suburban and urban neighborhoods to serve people better and reduce human impact on the environment.

Sustainable Urbanism: Urban Design With Nature
Douglas Farr

This book knits together smart growth, new urbanism, and green building three movements that address the sliding scales of regions, neighborhoods and buildings.

The Concise Townscape
Gordon Cullen

A reissue of a classic book which should be everyone s must-read list. Cullen s lovely drawings and clear text give language and understanding to the choreography of urban space. Why does this space feel so good? This book helps understand this question.

The Death and Life of Great American Cities
Jane Jacobs

One of the most influential planning books of the last 50 years, described as the Rosetta Stone for how cities and neighborhoods work at a fine-grain level. Jacobs offers critique of modernist planning policies, along with stories and insights for making vibrant neighborhoods.

The Geography of Nowhere: The Rise and Decline of America s Man-Made Landscape
James Howard Kunstler

A spirited, cutting review of the insanity of single-use suburbs by this angry profit of American society. A good read, but one that should be coupled with a book about solutions.

The Great Neighborhood Book
Jay Walljasper

Every page of this do-it-yourself guidebook is filled with examples, ideas and resource connections that will inspire and energize citizens and local groups to revitalize their neighborhoods.

The Nature of Order (Volumes 1-4)
Christopher Alexander

Alexander s Pattern Language was just the beginning. After 25 years of thinking about how the quality of life emerges in our world, he coalesced his theory into these four weighty volumes. It s dense, yet simple. Philosophical, yet practical.

The New Urbanism: Toward an Architecture of Community
Peter Katz

This was the first book on New Urbanism to focus a wide national conversation, it continues to educate and inspire planners and the general public alike about its key principles.

The Original Green: Unlocking the Mystery of True Sustainability
Stephen Mouzon

A must-read book about sustainability before the Thermastat Age common sense, refreshing insights into how we can make sustainable places and buildings.

The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces
William H. White

This classic study of New York s plazas started a mini-revolution in urban planning. Through basic tools of observation and interviews, we can lean an immense amount about how to make our cities more livable.

Toward New Towns in America
Clarence Stein

A key book by an early proponent for Garden Cities in America, offering history, critique and detailed descriptions including pocket neighborhoods as building blocks for larger communities.

Toward the Livable City
Emilie Buchwald (editor)

A collection of thought-provoking essays by leading thinkers on how to create livable, sustainable cities.