100 books like The Architecture of Health

By Michael P. Murphy, Jeffrey Mansfield,

Here are 100 books that The Architecture of Health fans have personally recommended if you like The Architecture of Health. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of On Immunity: An Inoculation

Sara Jensen Carr Author Of The Topography of Wellness: How Health and Disease Shaped the American Landscape

From my list on creating, building, and thinking about healthier places.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a professor of architecture, urbanism, and landscape at Northeastern University in Boston, as well as a licensed architect and urban designer. I’ve always been fascinated by the ways the design of the world affects our decision-making, health, and opportunities, from the early days of my career designing hospitals to my current work researching and designing for green space equity and considering how we design in the age of pandemics and climate change. I hope these books, as well as my own writing and work, empower people to understand, ask for, and co-design healthier environments wherever they live, work, and play.

Sara's book list on creating, building, and thinking about healthier places

Sara Jensen Carr Why did Sara love this book?

Illness as Metaphor by Susan Sontag was an incredibly formative piece of writing for me, especially when I was thinking about how fears of tuberculosis and cancer shaped early and mid-20th-century design. I think this book picks up where that one left off, a piece of writing that not only writes a medical history but frames how we think about health, disease, and fear in discussions about vaccination, but with a great deal of empathy. This is a crucial read to understand how we bridge divisions and move forward in our pandemic age.

By Eula Biss,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A New York Times Best Seller
A National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist
A New York Times Book Review Top 10 Book of the Year
A Facebook "Year of Books" Selection

One of the Best Books of the Year
* National Book Critics Circle Award finalist * The New York Times Book Review (Top 10) * Entertainment Weekly (Top 10) * New York Magazine (Top 10)* Chicago Tribune (Top 10) * Publishers Weekly (Top 10) * Time Out New York (Top 10) * Los Angeles Times * Kirkus * Booklist * NPR's Science Friday * Newsday * Slate * Refinery…


Book cover of Restorative Cities: Urban Design for Mental Health and Wellbeing

Sara Jensen Carr Author Of The Topography of Wellness: How Health and Disease Shaped the American Landscape

From my list on creating, building, and thinking about healthier places.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a professor of architecture, urbanism, and landscape at Northeastern University in Boston, as well as a licensed architect and urban designer. I’ve always been fascinated by the ways the design of the world affects our decision-making, health, and opportunities, from the early days of my career designing hospitals to my current work researching and designing for green space equity and considering how we design in the age of pandemics and climate change. I hope these books, as well as my own writing and work, empower people to understand, ask for, and co-design healthier environments wherever they live, work, and play.

Sara's book list on creating, building, and thinking about healthier places

Sara Jensen Carr Why did Sara love this book?

I didn’t discuss mental health in my own book, simply because the topic so vast and nuanced it really needs a book of its own. Luckily, it’s comprehensively discussed in this new volume, with chapters such as “The green city,” “The active city,” and “The playable city.” There are several concrete examples here from the authors’ own research into “neurourbanism,” or the application of neuroscience to urban design and planning, which are fascinating to read. An overarching theme, which I have found in my own research as well, is that the more access everyone has to nature and parks, the more beneficial it is for better mental and physical health. 

By Jenny Roe, Layla McCay,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Overcrowding, noise and air pollution, long commutes and lack of daylight can take a huge toll on the mental well-being of city-dwellers. With mental healthcare services under increasing pressure, could a better approach to urban design and planning provide a solution? The restrictions faced by city residents around the world during the COVID-19 pandemic has brought home just how much urban design can affect our mental health - and created an imperative to seize this opportunity. Restorative Cities explores a new way of designing cities, one which places mental health and wellness at the forefront. Establishing a blueprint for urban…


Book cover of Making Healthy Places: Designing and Building for Well-Being, Equity, and Sustainability

Sara Jensen Carr Author Of The Topography of Wellness: How Health and Disease Shaped the American Landscape

From my list on creating, building, and thinking about healthier places.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a professor of architecture, urbanism, and landscape at Northeastern University in Boston, as well as a licensed architect and urban designer. I’ve always been fascinated by the ways the design of the world affects our decision-making, health, and opportunities, from the early days of my career designing hospitals to my current work researching and designing for green space equity and considering how we design in the age of pandemics and climate change. I hope these books, as well as my own writing and work, empower people to understand, ask for, and co-design healthier environments wherever they live, work, and play.

Sara's book list on creating, building, and thinking about healthier places

Sara Jensen Carr Why did Sara love this book?

This book is truly the primer for understanding all the ways in which urban planning, policy, and design effects health outcomes and collects the breadth of contemporary research on the topic in one volume. I have always assigned multiple chapters from the first book in one of my classes, which introduces students to these concepts, and will be making several updates to the syllabus now! The new second edition explores issues of health and environmental justice more in-depth, touches on COVID-19, and provides several examples of how cities and organizations have prioritized health in re-shaping their built environments.

By Nisha Botchwey (editor), Andrew L. Dannenberg (editor), Howard Frumkin (editor)

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The first edition of Making Healthy Places offered a visionary and thoroughly researched treatment of the connections between constructed environments and human health. Since its publication over 10 years ago, the field of healthy community design has evolved significantly to address major societal problems, including health disparities, obesity, and climate change. Most recently, the COVID-19 pandemic has upended how we live, work, learn, play, and travel.

In Making Healthy Places, Second Edition: Designing and Building for Well-Being, Equity, and Sustainability, planning and public health experts Nisha D. Botchwey, Andrew L. Dannenberg, and Howard Frumkin bring together scholars and practitioners from…


Book cover of How Buildings Learn: What Happens After They're Built

David M. Weiss Author Of Software Product-Line Engineering: A Family-Based Software Development Process

From my list on for those interested in becoming engineers.

Why am I passionate about this?

I took a job as a programmer at the Naval Research Laboratory, working for astronomers who needed someone to write the code that would analyze the data coming back from the experiments that they flew on satellites and spacecraft. The first day on the job they showed me a sheet of FORTAN code and said “we want you to learn this.” It turned out to be the most fun thing I had ever done, and I went back to grad school and changed my major to computer science. I ended up as the Lanh and Oanh Nguyen Endowed Chair of Software Engineering in the Department of Computer Science at Iowa State University.

David's book list on for those interested in becoming engineers

David M. Weiss Why did David love this book?

Brand starts off by exploring structure in architecture. Not only does he identify the six key structures in buildings, but he tells us how rapidly they change.

Never have I met or heard of a software architect who could predict for me how rapidly the structures that he/she uses to design and build his/her system will change. (Many can't even identify what the key structures in their systems are).

Brand then gives us lessons in what kinds of buildings undergo what kinds of changes, and how to build in a way that encourages or discourages change. He shows how owners modify their buildings over time, and how buildings evolve as they pass from one owner to another.

Structure, designing for change, and understanding the possible evolutionary paths that your construct may take are all topics that should intensely interest software engineers.

By Stewart Brand,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked How Buildings Learn as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Buildings have often been studies whole in space, but never before have they been studied whole in time. How Buildings Learn is a masterful new synthesis that proposes that buildings adapt best when constantly refined and reshaped by their occupants, and that architects can mature from being artists of space to becoming artists of time.

From the connected farmhouses of New England to I.M. Pei's Media Lab, from "satisficing" to "form follows funding," from the evolution of bungalows to the invention of Santa Fe Style, from Low Road military surplus buildings to a High Road English classic like Chatsworth this…


Book cover of Elvis and the World as It Stands

Sylvia Liu Author Of Manatee's Best Friend

From my list on animal and human friendships.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been fascinated with the natural world and our relationship with it since I was young. In my first career, as an environmental attorney, I worked to protect oceans and endangered species. Now, as a children’s author, I enjoy exploring environmental themes, as well as the unique bonds people have with animals, in my stories. The books I am recommending are recently published middle-grade novels that capture the magical connection between humans and animals, or animals with each other, whether in contemporary or fantasy settings. I grew up in Caracas, Venezuela, and live in Virginia with my family and our adorable hypoallergenic cat.

Sylvia's book list on animal and human friendships

Sylvia Liu Why did Sylvia love this book?

In this sweet and poignant story, Elvis is a shelter kitten adopted into a home with a girl whose parents recently separated, an eager hamster, a watchdog goldfish, and an older, ornery shelter cat. Elvis just wants to reunite with his sister Etta who was left behind at the shelter, and he must also adapt to his new home and friends. Even though Elvis can’t communicate with humans, he never stops trying. The story explores memory, family, and rebuilding things that are broken, and includes a light discussion of Sept. 11.

By Lisa Frankel Riddiough, Olivia Chin Mueller (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Elvis and the World as It Stands as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A poignant middle-grade story about loss and finding family from the point of view of a newly adopted kitten

Most shelter animals dream of going home with a forever family. But for Elvis, being chosen by Mrs. Pemberton is a nightmare. He's been separated from his sister, Etta, and is determined to get back to the shelter to find her. In spite of himself, Elvis becomes curious about ten-year-old Georgina Pemberton, who builds LEGO skyscrapers in her bedroom while navigating her parents' separation. The longer he's in his new home, the more he starts recognizing new feelings: admiration for Georgina's…


Book cover of Someone Builds the Dream

Colleen Paeff Author Of The Great Stink: How Joseph Bazalgette Solved London's Poop Pollution Problem

From my list on the infrastructure of our cities.

Why am I passionate about this?

I never thought much about what makes our cities habitable until I started doing research for The Great Stink. But learning about sewers and wastewater treatment (They’re surprisingly interesting!) turned out to be the beginning of a fascination with other types of city infrastructure that I had previously ignored. Kids have a natural fascination for infrastructure of all kinds, but I was surprised when I couldn’t find any lists of picture books that group different types of city infrastructure together. So, I made one. I hope you and your little ones like these books as much as I did, and I hope you find many similar books to enjoy!

Colleen's book list on the infrastructure of our cities

Colleen Paeff Why did Colleen love this book?

What I love about this book is that instead of focusing on the engineers, architects, artists, and other high-profile designers who tend to get the credit for creating so much of what we see in our cities–it focuses on the laborers who take their plans and make them a reality. Someone Builds the Dream will get kids (and their parents) thinking more about the building process and the people who spend their days putting together the parts of the many buildings, bridges, fountains, and other structures that come together to create a city. Young children will love the rhyming text and older ones will find much to wonder about as they scan the vibrant illustrations.

By Lisa Wheeler, Loren Long (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Someone Builds the Dream as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 5, 6, 7, and 8.

What is this book about?

All across this great big world, jobs are getting done

by many hands in many lands. It takes much more than ONE.

Gorgeously written and illustrated, this is an eye-opening exploration of the many types of work that go into building our world - from the making of a bridge to a wind farm, an amusement park, and even the very picture book that you are reading. An architect may dream up the plans for a house, but someone has to actually work the saws and pound the nails. This book is a thank-you to the skilled women and men…


Book cover of Discovering Timber-Framed Buildings

Rupert Newman Author Of Oak-Framed Buildings

From my list on inspiring you to build your own timber framed home.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been fascinated by traditional carpentry since exploring the soaring timbers in roofs of medieval tithe barns around my home in Somerset. At the start of my woodworking journey, I soon learnt that building big was good. This led me into restoring ancient barns and roofs, where I learnt many of the skills I still use today. With the help of the books I have listed, I soon turned to building new oak framed buildings. Over the past 35 years I have had the pleasure of making many fabulous structures and working with some great carpenters and apprentices.

Rupert's book list on inspiring you to build your own timber framed home

Rupert Newman Why did Rupert love this book?

This is the first book that inspired me whilst learning the art of timber framing.

It was my constant companion in the early days because of the wealth of information within this small but perfectly formed paperback. It provides details on joints, construction techniques, and different styles of building.

The book is filled with many beautifully hand-drawn illustrations that bring it alive. A must have!

By Richard Harris,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Discovering Timber-Framed Buildings as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Half-timbered houses, cottages and barnes are a familiar feature of the landscape, but only rarely do we have an opportunity to see below the surface and understand how they were planned and constructed. Timber-framed buildings catch the imagination of those who work with them because of their beauty, their strength and the quality of the material of which they were made: English oak. Many thousands of buildings of all ages still remain to remind us the strength of the tradition. This book looks behind the commong image of 'black and white' houses, showing how timber buildings were built and how…


Book cover of In The Scheme Of Things: Alternative Thinking on the Practice of Architecture

Rasmus Wærn Author Of What is Architecture? And 100 Other Questions

From my list on what architecture is about.

Why am I passionate about this?

My lifelong search for how contemporary architecture can be as loved and graceful as the buildings and environments of our heritage have made me create numerous books, lectures, and films on matters I find crucial. But every new text seems to create more questions than answers. Perhaps it is better to build the talk? Architecture has dimensions, such as time, that make the reading richer than most books. But that brings you back to interpretation. It seems as books and buildings will be impossible to separate. At least for me.

Rasmus' book list on what architecture is about

Rasmus Wærn Why did Rasmus love this book?

Sometimes the best books are not the ones that make you take notes, but the ones that make you think new thoughts.

Fisher’s book is one of these thought-provoking pamphlets where the best moments of reading are when you let the book rest on your lap and reflect upon how his thoughts on practicing architecture can reflect on your own work. This happens to me as I read about the revival of the language of brick and mortar.

By Thomas R. Fisher,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked In The Scheme Of Things as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Book cover of Architecture and Empire in Jamaica

Trevor Burnard Author Of Jamaica in the Age of Revolution

From my list on Jamaica during the period of slavery.

Why am I passionate about this?

Trevor Burnard is Wilberforce Professor of Slavery and Emancipation at the University of Hull and author of four books and many articles on eighteenth-century Jamaica. He has recently reviewed 34 books just published on Jamaica in “`Wi Lickle but Wi Tallawah’: Writing Jamaica into the Atlantic World, 1655-1834 Reviews in American History 49 (2021), 168-86.

Trevor's book list on Jamaica during the period of slavery

Trevor Burnard Why did Trevor love this book?

Beautifully illustrated and persuasively argued, this survey of a variety of architectural forms in the eighteenth century, from merchant houses to enslaved yards to great houses shows how studying the built environment of early Jamaica gives insight into a society both rich and highly conflicted.

By Louis P. Nelson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Through Creole houses and merchant stores to sugar fields and boiling houses, Jamaica played a leading role in the formation of both the early modern Atlantic world and the British Empire. Architecture and Empire in Jamaica offers the first scholarly analysis of Jamaican architecture in the long 18th century, spanning roughly from the Port Royal earthquake of 1692 to Emancipation in 1838. In this richly illustrated study, which includes hundreds of the author's own photographs and drawings, Louis P. Nelson examines surviving buildings and archival records to write a social history of architecture.

Nelson begins with an overview of the…


Book cover of Experiencing Architecture

Witold Rybczynski Author Of Charleston Fancy: Little Houses and Big Dreams in the Holy City

From my list on architecture for non-architects.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am professor emeritus at the University of Pennsylvania. Although I’ve written more than twenty books on a variety of subjects, I was trained as an architect and I’ve designed and built houses, researched low cost housing, and taught budding architects for four decades. I was architecture critic for Wigwag and Slate and I’ve written for numerous national magazines and newspapers. Perhaps more important, my wife and I built our own house, mixing concrete, sawing wood, and hammering nails. I wrote a book about that, too.

Witold's book list on architecture for non-architects

Witold Rybczynski Why did Witold love this book?

Many books about architecture are like cookbooks, that is, they are written for the cook—the architect—and are concerned with how to make the stuff. But for the lay person, the joy of architecture lies in the actual experience of buildings; good architecture makes you feel good. This classic, written in 1962 by a wise old Dane, is a wonderful guide to the many sensory ways in which we experience buildings, old and new.

By Steen Eiler Rasmussen,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A classic examination of superb design through the centuries.

Widely regarded as a classic in the field, Experiencing Architecture explores the history and promise of good design. Generously illustrated with historical examples of designing excellence—ranging from teacups, riding boots, and golf balls to the villas of Palladio and the fish-feeding pavilion of Beijing's Winter Palace—Rasmussen's accessible guide invites us to appreciate architecture not only as a profession, but as an art that shapes everyday experience.

In the past, Rasmussen argues, architecture was not just an individual pursuit, but a community undertaking. Dwellings were built with a natural feeling for place,…


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