Changing Places: The Science and Art of New Urban Planning

Changing Places: The Science and Art of New Urban Planning


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How the science of urban planning can make our cities healthier, safer, and more livable

The design of every aspect of the urban landscape—from streets and sidewalks to green spaces, mass transit, and housing—fundamentally influences the health and safety of the communities who live there. It can affect people's stress levels and determine whether they walk or drive, the quality of the air they breathe, and how free they are from crime. Changing Places provides a compelling look at the new science and art of urban planning, showing how scientists, planners, and citizens can work together to reshape city life in measurably positive ways.

Drawing on the latest research in city planning, economics, criminology, public health, and other fields, Changing Places demonstrates how well-designed changes to place can significantly improve the well-being of large groups of people. The book argues that there is a disconnect between those who implement place-based changes, such as planners and developers, and the urban scientists who are now able to rigorously evaluate these changes through testing and experimentation. This compelling book covers a broad range of structural interventions, such as building and housing, land and open space, transportation and street environments, and entertainment and recreation centers.

Science shows we can enhance people's health and safety by changing neighborhoods block-by-block. Changing Places explains why planners and developers need to recognize the value of scientific testing, and why scientists need to embrace the indispensable know-how of planners and developers. This book reveals how these professionals, working together and with urban residents, can create place-based interventions that are simple, affordable, and scalable to entire cities.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780691195216
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publication date: 10/22/2019
Pages: 208
Sales rank: 632,821
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

John MacDonald is professor of criminology and sociology at the University of Pennsylvania. Charles Branas is the Gelman Professor and chair of the Department of Epidemiology at Columbia University. Robert Stokes is associate professor and chair of the Master of Public Policy Program in the School of Public Service at DePaul University.

Table of Contents

Preface vii

Acknowledgments xv

1 Our Surroundings, Ourselves 1

Why Places Profoundly Matter 2

Places Change Us in Fundamental Ways 8

2 A New Movement Based on Old Ideas 13

New Urbanism and Green Living 17

Active Design and Healthy Places 22

Crime Prevention through Environmental Design 24

3 Establishing Evidence 28

Causality and Place 31

Generalizability and Place 44

Levels of Evidence 51

Evidence Matters 53

4 Cities in Ruin 55

Evolution of Negative Housing 56

Degraded Housing, Public Safety, and Health 58

Rebuild or Escape? 62

Breathe-Easy Homes 65

Fixing Doors and Windows 70

Better Homes for Our Health and Safety and Addressing Gentrification 74

5 The Nature Cure 79

Crime-Fighting Trees 83

Philadelphia's Experiment with Greening 86

Seeing Green Space and Trees to Improve Health 93

Beetles That Kill Trees Are Bad for Our Health and Safety 96

Green Space and Our Health and Safety 99

6 Driving Ambivalence 101

Walking off the Pounds by Choosing the Train 104

Riding Light Rail in Charlotte to Lose Weight 106

More Walking in Los Angeles, Fewer Trips in Cars 110

Designing Out Cars to Reduce Crime 113

The LAPD's Operation Cul-De-Sac 114

Designing Out Cars to Promote Health and Safety 116

7 Good Clean Fun 118

Making Commercial Districts Safe 120

Business Improvement Districts Reduce Crime in Los Angeles 121

Making Parks Places for Physical Activity 127

Simple Signs Increase Physical Activity in Parks 134

Motivating People to Use Commercial and Recreational Spaces 136

8 Embracing Change 138

The Unintended Consequences of Positive Action 139

University City District Success Leads to Strain on Public School 140

Successful Figueroa BID Impacts Infrastructure and Housing Options 142

Light Rail Development Brings Boom to Neighborhood 145

The Impact of Changes to Places on Services 146

Epilogue: Where Next? 149

Notes 157

Index 183

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"Breaking new ground with a menu of smart policy options, the authors present a wealth of evidence that changing places can have causal effects on many aspects of city life. We would be wise to take heed. Science, not anecdotes, and environment, not individuals, provide a path forward to designing our cities to be safer and healthier."—Robert J. Sampson, Harvard University, author of Great American City: Chicago and the Enduring Neighborhood Effect

"Place matters, and this important book lays out the best scientific research establishing exactly how and why. Changing Places is essential for everyone interested in cities, and it's a must-read for anyone—scholar, citizen, or political official—who wants to improve them."—Eric Klinenberg, author of Palaces for the People: How Social Infrastructure Can Help Fight Inequality, Polarization, and the Decline of Civic Life

"This book makes a case for the power of places to shape human behavior and well-being, and for the potential of government policies to create healthier environments. Changing Places provides compelling evidence that investments in places can improve people's lives."—Ingrid Gould Ellen, author of Sharing America's Neighborhoods: The Prospects for Stable Racial Integration

"The places we live have a huge effect on our health and well-being. This is something health professionals, urban planners, and policymakers neglect but absolutely must take into account. Changing Places presents a new, more scientifically grounded and health-focused kind of urban planning—a playbook for building healthier communities."—Richard Florida, University of Toronto, author of The Rise of the Creative Class

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