Reading List

Support your community and the vibrance of your city by purchasing at your local bookstore. For those here in Copenhagen I can wholeheartedly recommend Books & Company in Hellerup for all your literary needs.

Urbanism Fundamentals

  • The Death and Life of Great American Cities, Jane Jacobs
    • A book which needs little introduction. Jacobs adopts a pugnacious tone throughout this famously critical and extensive book in which she critiques the trend towards renovation & modernism in the context of 1960s New York, and argues for diversity, human-centricity and community as the cornerstones of urbanism.
  • A Pattern Language, Christopher Alexander
    • For those, like me, with a background in software engineering and systems architecture, but with the architecture of building and the build environment as an avocation, this book is a revelation. The book presents a taxonomy of reusable design elements for the built environment at every scale. The authors envisioned a democratisation of the trade of architecture, where anybody could apply a robust set of design patterns to design their home, garden or city. The book inspired a new approach to software architecture which is now almost universally applied to systems engineering projects in companies from investment banks to big tech.
  • Cities for People, Jan Gehl
    • Jan Gehl is a living legend in urbanism, and he has written widely about the notion of design cities from a human perspective. Of all of his books (that I have read), Cities for People stands out. Surely a must read!
  • The City in History, Lewis Mumford
    • A lovely retrospective of the evolution of the city. As with many urbanism texts, Mumford presents his own philosophy for the future of our cities as organic reflections of human culture & activity: a fine philosophy to remember in the age of the smart city, where technology, applied carelessly, threatens the fundamental humanity of our cities.

Utopian Urbanism

Smart Cities

Suburbia