100 books like Tactical Urbanism

By Mike Lydon, Anthony Garcia,

Here are 100 books that Tactical Urbanism fans have personally recommended if you like Tactical Urbanism. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion

Graham Shields Author Of Born of Ice and Fire: How Glaciers and Volcanoes (with a Pinch of Salt) Drove Animal Evolution

From my list on science in action written by scientists.

Who am I?

I am a scientist who has worked at the coal face of the debate around the origin of animals and ‘Snowball Earth’ his entire career, using a combination of experimental and descriptive science. Over three decades, I have witnessed first-hand how careful attention to detail in study after study has removed doubt from once provocative, even crazy, ideas that are now widely accepted. I love reading popular science from the perspective of the hands-on scientist who has witnessed the debate first-hand and contributed to received knowledge by conceiving new experiments, amassing data, and, more than often, in entirely unexpected ways through sheer curiosity.

Graham's book list on science in action written by scientists

Graham Shields Why did Graham love this book?

I could not put this book down from the moment I began reading, even though its topic is far from my own research field.

I love the first-hand nature of the research that is described, including how the author was able to accumulate his students’ findings over many years into a well-reasoned synthesis of why good people are divided by their often intransigent beliefs.

It made me question myself and why I think the way I do, and in that regard, it made me reflect more than perhaps any other book I’ve ever read. Just when you think it’s over, Haidt delves into unsuspected realms of biological underpinning, which opened door after door in my mind. I really did not want this book to end.

By Jonathan Haidt,

Why should I read it?

15 authors picked The Righteous Mind as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'A landmark contribution to humanity's understanding of itself' The New York Times

Why can it sometimes feel as though half the population is living in a different moral universe? Why do ideas such as 'fairness' and 'freedom' mean such different things to different people? Why is it so hard to see things from another viewpoint? Why do we come to blows over politics and religion?

Jonathan Haidt reveals that we often find it hard to get along because our minds are hardwired to be moralistic, judgemental and self-righteous. He explores how morality evolved to enable us to form communities, and…


Book cover of The Black Swan

Roger W. Hoerl Author Of Statistical Thinking: Improving Business Performance

From my list on AI and data science that are actually readable.

Who am I?

As a professional statistician, I am naturally interested in AI and data science. However, in our current information age, everyone, in all segments of society, needs to understand the basics of AI and data science. These basics include such things as what these disciplines are, what they can contribute to society, and perhaps most importantly, what can go wrong. However, I have found that much of the literature on these topics is highly technical and beyond the reach of most readers. These books are specifically selected because they are readable by virtually everyone, and yet convey the key concepts needed to be data-literate in the 21st century. Enjoy!

Roger's book list on AI and data science that are actually readable

Roger W. Hoerl Why did Roger love this book?

A “Black Swan” is a highly unlikely event that occurs with massive consequences. Think of 9/11 or the astonishing success of Google or Amazon.

The main issue relative to Black Swans, as explained by Talib, is that after the fact people are drawn to concocting detailed explanations that make them seem less random, and more predictable. In other words, people develop causal explanations that are completely wrong, but sound reasonable, and will then use them to predict the future.

In the words of Nate Silver, they invent a “signal” to explain what is in reality “noise.” These explanations also create a false sense of security about our ability to predict future events. In short, we fool ourselves into thinking that we know more than we actually do.

By Nassim Nicholas Taleb,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked The Black Swan as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The most influential book of the past seventy-five years: a groundbreaking exploration of everything we know about what we don’t know, now with a new section called “On Robustness and Fragility.”

A black swan is a highly improbable event with three principal characteristics: It is unpredictable; it carries a massive impact; and, after the fact, we concoct an explanation that makes it appear less random, and more predictable, than it was. The astonishing success of Google was a black swan; so was 9/11. For Nassim Nicholas Taleb, black swans underlie almost everything about our world, from the rise of religions…


Book cover of Triumph of the City: How Our Greatest Invention Makes Us Richer, Smarter, Greener, Healthier, and Happier

Alexander Stahle Author Of Closer Together: This is the Future of Cities

From my list on future cities and urban design.

Who am I?

As a city researcher and urban planner I must constantly scan the urban world for trends and plans and projects. It really started when I was writing my PhD thesis on density and green spaces in cities. The thesis title became Compact Sprawl. I like counterpoints. Today I run to companies. Spacescape that is an urban planning consultancy and Placetoplan that is a webapp for citizen participation in planning. My home is covered with books about cities, architecture, transportation, parks, and natural landscapes. I am also a landscape architect, by the way. And I live in downtown Stockholm with two children and no car.

Alexander's book list on future cities and urban design

Alexander Stahle Why did Alexander love this book?

The Harvard professor Ed Glaeser is also a great speaker, and I have seen him live. In his book he describes so well why we have cities and why they are so successful. He travels through history and around the globe to reveal cities and how they bring out the best in humankind. Using analysis, and argument, Glaeser makes a great case for the city's importance, offering proof that the city is humanity's greatest creation and our best hope for the future. It is not only economics, it is about society.  

By Edward Glaeser,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Triumph of the City as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Understanding the modern city and the powerful forces within it is the life's work of Harvard urban economist Edward Glaeser, who at forty is hailed as one of the world's most exciting urban thinkers. Travelling from city to city, speaking to planners and politicians across the world, he uncovers questions large and small whose answers are both counterintuitive and deeply significant. Should New Orleans be rebuilt? Why can't my nephew afford an apartment in New York? Is London the new financial capital of the world? Is my job headed to Bangalore? In Triumph of the City, Glaeser takes us around…


Book cover of Cities and the Wealth of Nations: Principles of Economic Life

Charles L. Marohn Jr. Author Of Strong Towns: A Bottom-Up Revolution to Rebuild American Prosperity

From my list on thinking like a Strong Towns advocate.

Who am I?

Everyone should be able to live a meaningful life in a place they love, where their day-to-day efforts participating in society result in the community becoming a more prosperous place over time, for themselves, and for those who come next. I founded Strong Towns to help people recognize that they have this opportunity, that they and their neighbors working together have the capacity to make things better, despite everything else going on. Cities are works in progress. It is not our job to finish ours, but we all have a role to play in making it stronger.

Charles' book list on thinking like a Strong Towns advocate

Charles L. Marohn Jr. Why did Charles love this book?

I was introduced to Jane Jacobs as required reading during graduate school. I’m convinced that most urban planners who claim to adore Jacobs have not actually read her, particularly Cities and the Wealth of Nations, which is my favorite. Its thoroughly brutal logic stands in contrast to nearly everything we still do to manage our cities. Jacobs is an insightful genius.

By Jane Jacobs,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Cities and the Wealth of Nations as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this eye-opening work of economic theory, Jane Jacobs argues that it is cities—not nations—that are the drivers of wealth. Challenging centuries of economic orthodoxy, in Cities and the Wealth of Nations the beloved author contends that healthy cities are constantly evolving to replace imported goods with locally-produced alternatives, spurring a cycle of vibrant economic growth. Intelligently argued and drawing on examples from around the world and across the ages, here Jacobs radically changes the way we view our cities—and our entire economy. 


Book cover of The Original Green: Unlocking the Mystery of True Sustainability

Charles L. Marohn Jr. Author Of Strong Towns: A Bottom-Up Revolution to Rebuild American Prosperity

From my list on thinking like a Strong Towns advocate.

Who am I?

Everyone should be able to live a meaningful life in a place they love, where their day-to-day efforts participating in society result in the community becoming a more prosperous place over time, for themselves, and for those who come next. I founded Strong Towns to help people recognize that they have this opportunity, that they and their neighbors working together have the capacity to make things better, despite everything else going on. Cities are works in progress. It is not our job to finish ours, but we all have a role to play in making it stronger.

Charles' book list on thinking like a Strong Towns advocate

Charles L. Marohn Jr. Why did Charles love this book?

I had someone laugh at this book for its quirkiness and whimsy. That person is a fool. What Mouzon has produced here is a brilliant compilation of why our ancestors (in the broadest sense of the term) were genius in ways we struggle to even comprehend, let alone appreciate. Steve taught me why it’s not just okay to love a place, but why more places need to become lovable.

By Stephen A. Mouzon,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Original Green as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Original Green is the sustainability our ancestors knew by heart. Originally (before the Thermostat Age) they had no choice but to build green, otherwise people would not survive very long. The Original Green aggregates and distributes the wisdom of sustainability through the operating system of living traditions, producing sustainable places in which it is meaningful to build sustainable buildings. Original Green sustainability is common-sense and plain-spoken, meaning "keeping things going in a healthy way long into an uncertain future." Sustainable places should be nourishable because if you cannot eat there, you cannot live there. They should be accessible because…


Book cover of Happy City: Transforming Our Lives Through Urban Design

Alexander Stahle Author Of Closer Together: This is the Future of Cities

From my list on future cities and urban design.

Who am I?

As a city researcher and urban planner I must constantly scan the urban world for trends and plans and projects. It really started when I was writing my PhD thesis on density and green spaces in cities. The thesis title became Compact Sprawl. I like counterpoints. Today I run to companies. Spacescape that is an urban planning consultancy and Placetoplan that is a webapp for citizen participation in planning. My home is covered with books about cities, architecture, transportation, parks, and natural landscapes. I am also a landscape architect, by the way. And I live in downtown Stockholm with two children and no car.

Alexander's book list on future cities and urban design

Alexander Stahle Why did Alexander love this book?

In Happy City, Charles, who is also is a good friend of mine, describes what is wrong with today’s cities and what we must do to fix them. Full of rich detail and new insights from psychologists and his own urban experiments, the book is an essential tool for understanding and improving our own communities. The message: by retrofitting our cities for happiness, we can tackle the urgent challenges of our age. The happy city, the green city, and the low-carbon city are the same place, and we can all help build them together.

By Charles Montgomery,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Happy City as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Happy City is the story of how the solutions to this century's problems lie in unlocking the secrets to great city living

This is going to be the century of the city. But what actually makes a good city? Why are some cities a joy to live in?

As Charles Montgomery reveals, it's not how much money your neighbours earn, or how pleasant the climate is that makes the most difference. Journeying to dozens of cities - from Atlanta to Bogota to Vancouver - he talks to the new champions of the happy city to explore the urban innovations already…


Book cover of Streetfight: Handbook for an Urban Revolution

Alexander Stahle Author Of Closer Together: This is the Future of Cities

From my list on future cities and urban design.

Who am I?

As a city researcher and urban planner I must constantly scan the urban world for trends and plans and projects. It really started when I was writing my PhD thesis on density and green spaces in cities. The thesis title became Compact Sprawl. I like counterpoints. Today I run to companies. Spacescape that is an urban planning consultancy and Placetoplan that is a webapp for citizen participation in planning. My home is covered with books about cities, architecture, transportation, parks, and natural landscapes. I am also a landscape architect, by the way. And I live in downtown Stockholm with two children and no car.

Alexander's book list on future cities and urban design

Alexander Stahle Why did Alexander love this book?

Janette Sadik-Khan is one of my absolute heroes. What she has done to transportation and streets in North America and globally is unprecedented. She has not only described why we must change our view of traffic in cities, she also described how and was able to make it real. As New York City’s transportation commissioner, Janette Sadik-Khan managed to transform the streets of one of the world’s greatest, toughest cities into dynamic spaces safe for pedestrians and cyclists. Simply painting a part of the street to make it into a plaza or bus lane not only made the street safer, but it also lessened congestion and increased foot traffic, which improved businesses. Streetfight deconstructs, reassembles, and reinvents the future street.

By Janette Sadik-Khan, Seth Solomonow,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Streetfight as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Like a modern-day Jane Jacobs, Janette Sadik-Khan transformed New York City's streets to make room for pedestrians, cyclists, buses, and green spaces. Describing the battles she fought to enact change, Streetfight imparts wisdom and practical advice that other cities can follow to make their own streets safer and more vibrant.

As New York City’s transportation commissioner, Janette Sadik-Khan managed the seemingly impossible and transformed the streets of one of the world’s greatest, toughest cities into dynamic spaces safe for pedestrians and cyclists. Her approach was dramatic and effective: Simply painting a part of the street to make it into a…


Book cover of Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America, One Step at a Time

Jordan Yin Author Of Urban Planning For Dummies

From my list on planning livable cities from the bottom up.

Who am I?

I’m an urban planner and educator who is fascinated not just by cities and the experience of place, but also by the ideas and actions that go on “behind the scenes” in the planning of cities. Almost all US cities are guided by some sort of local plan and, while no plan is perfect, my hope is always that inclusive planning can help communities solve their problems to make any place a better place. I was raised in Cleveland, Ohio, and have lived mostly in the eastern US – from Michigan to Alabama – where I'm constantly intrigued by the everyday “nooks and crannies” of the places and communities where I live, work, and play.

Jordan's book list on planning livable cities from the bottom up

Jordan Yin Why did Jordan love this book?

Cities have become more pedestrian-friendly over the last decade and Jeff Speck’s book is one of the reasons for this movement. Walkability saves lives, promotes a sense of community, and makes places more sustainable. Speck’s guide to “Ten Steps of Walkability” is an instant classic in the practice of urban planning with approachable ideas such as “mixing uses” and “getting parking right” that can help bridge the gap between activists, politicians, and developers to work together improve any community.

By Jeff Speck,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Walkable City as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Jeff Speck has dedicated his career to determining what makes cities thrive, and he has boiled it down to one key factor: walkability. The very idea of a modern metropolis evokes visions of bustling sidewalks, vital mass transit, and a vibrant, pedestrian-friendly urban core. But in the typical American city, the car is still king and downtown is a place that's easy to drive to but often not worth arriving at. Making walkability happen is relatively easy and cheap; seeing exactly what needs to be done is the trick. In this essential book, Speck reveals the invisible workings of the…


Book cover of Analysing Architecture: the Universal Language of Place-Making

Antony Radford Author Of The Elements of Modern Architecture: Understanding Contemporary Buildings

From my list on analysing architecture.

Who am I?

My passion as a teacher and writer is to help students and others interpret, understand and enjoy architecture and the built environment, and to help them respond in their own designs to the complexities of place, people, and construction. I have chosen five well-established books on analysing architecture that are highly illustrated, avoid jargon, can be explored rather than needing to be read sequentially cover-to-cover, and have lasting value. They offer guidance for beginning students and a checklist for the experienced. They are books to be kept handy and repeatedly consulted. Of course, analysing existing architecture is invaluable in designing new architecture. I hope you enjoy them.

Antony's book list on analysing architecture

Antony Radford Why did Antony love this book?

If it’s good, this book should obviously be on my list - and it is good.

Simon Unwin explains how architectural themes (a mix including elements, geometries, types, and sensory experience) work together to create a particular place. It has thoughtful text illustrated with his own drawings.

Unwin’s Twenty-Five Buildings Every Architect Should Understand demonstrates his approach to analysis in more detailed examples.

By Simon Unwin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Analysing Architecture as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Now in its fifth edition, Analysing Architecture has become internationally established as the best introduction to architecture. Aimed primarily at those studying architecture, it offers a clear and accessible insight into the workings of this rich and fascinating subject. With copious illustrations from his own notebooks, the author dissects examples from around the world and all periods of history to explain the underlying strategies in architectural design and show how drawing may be used as a medium for analysis.

In this new edition, Analysing Architecture has been revised and expanded. Notably, the chapter on 'How Analysis Can Help Design' has…


Book cover of Strongholds of the Picts: The Fortifications of Dark Age Scotland

Maggie Freeman Author Of Castles

From my list on the magic of castles.

Who am I?

I’m a writer of historical novels and primary literacy books, and a poet. I was born in Trinidad and live in London. So why am I writing about the magic of castles? I’ve loved visiting them since I was a child, when I’d run round them and imagine what had happened there. Back home, I’d immerse myself in reading legends and fairy stories—at bedtime, lying in my top bunk, I'd make up stories to entertain my sister in her bottom bunk. So it was natural to move on to writing fictionthe novel I’ve just completed is about King Canute. I’ve written primary literacy books for Collins, Oxford, and Ransom.

Maggie's book list on the magic of castles

Maggie Freeman Why did Maggie love this book?

I’ve spent some time in the north of Scotland and became intrigued by the remains of Pictish forts on hilltops and by the sea. This book doesn’t provide many answerswritten records before 900 AD are few and the archaeology is confusedKonstam’s conclusion is "the main benefit of any visit to one of these sites is to be able to stand on the same hilltop or promontory, and to imagine what it might have looked like in the days of the Picts." Which explains why legends and stories have grown up about castlesimagining has been key to making sense of such imposing features in the landscape, when often their real history has been forgotten over time.

Konstam’s book is one of a series, and if your curiosity is about a different sort of castle it’s worth checking it out.

By Angus Konstam, Peter Dennis (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Strongholds of the Picts as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This concise guide actually covers not just Pictish fortifications, but all those in use in early medieval Scotland, including those of Strathclyde and Rheged and of the Dal Riata. Konstam introduces the reader to the principal types of fort, including the re-use of earlier defences, before offering more in-depth surveys of Dundurn and Dunadd. As well as architecture and construction he looks at the use of the forts in war and peace, to control the landscape and act as royal strong points.


5 book lists we think you will like!

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