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Island Press began with a simple idea: knowledge is power—the power to imagine a better future and find ways for getting us there. Founded in 1984, Island Press’ mission is to provide the best ideas and information to those seeking to understand and protect the environment and create solutions to its complex problems.

Showing 1-20 of 272 items.

Rural Renaissance

Revitalizing America’s Hometowns through Clean Power

Island Press

For decades, we’ve heard that local, renewable power is on the horizon, and that cheaper technologies will revolutionize our energy system. Michelle Moore has spent her career proving that this opportunity is already here—and that any community, no matter how small, can build their own clean energy future. In Rural Renaissance, Moore describes five pathways to clean power in rural America and strategies for building it, including energy efficiency, renewable power, resilience (including microgrids and battery storage), the electrification of transportation, and finally, broadband internet. This accessible guide offers a vision of thriving rural communities where clean power is the spark that leads to greater investment, vitality, and equity.

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Place and Prosperity

How Cities Help Us to Connect and Innovate

Island Press

In Place and Prosperity: How Cities Help Us to Connect and Innovate, urban planning expert William Fulton takes an engaging look at the importance of connecting to place, how cities are engines of prosperity, and how these two ideas – place and prosperity – lie at the heart of what a city is and, by extension, what our society is all about.

Fulton has been writing about cities over his forty-year career as a journalist, professor, mayor, planning director, and the director of an urban think tank in one of America’s great cities. Place and Prosperity is a curated collection of his writings with new and updated selections and framing material.             

Fulton shows that at their best, cities not only inspire and uplift us, but they make our daily life more convenient, more fulfilling, and more prosperous.
 

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Managing the Climate Crisis

Designing and Building for Floods, Heat, Drought, and Wildfire

Island Press

Natural disasters from heat waves to coastal and river flooding will inevitably become worse because of greenhouse gases already in the atmosphere. Managing them is possible, but planners, designers, and policymakers need to advance adaptation and preventative measures now.

Managing the Climate Crisis: Designing and Building for Floods, Heat, Drought and Wildfire by design and planning experts Jonathan Barnett and Matthijs Bouw is a practical guide to addressing this urgent national security problem. Barnett and Bouw draw from the latest scientific findings and include many recent, real-world examples to illustrate how to manage seven climate-related threats: flooding along coastlines, river flooding, flash floods from extreme rain events, drought, wildfire, long periods of high heat, and food shortages.
 

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Making Healthy Places, Second Edition

Designing and Building for Well-Being, Equity, and Sustainability

Island Press

Making Healthy Places surveys the many intersections between health and the built environment, from the scale of buildings to the scale of metro areas, and across a range of outcomes, from cardiovascular health and infectious disease to social connectedness and happiness. This new edition is significantly updated, with a special emphasis on equity and sustainability, and takes a global perspective. It provides current evidence not only on how poorly designed places may threaten well-being, but also on solutions that have been found to be effective.

Making Healthy Places is a must-read for students, academics, and professionals in health, architecture, urban planning, civil engineering, parks and recreation, and related fields. 
 

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City Forward

How Innovation Districts Can Embrace Risk and Strengthen Community

Island Press

Innovation districts and anchor institutions—like hospitals and universities—drive economic growth. But the benefits often fail to reach the very neighborhoods they are built in. As CEO of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus (BNMC), Matt Enstice fosters a different, collaborative approach. City Forward explains how BNMC promotes a shared goal of equity among companies and institutions with diverse motivations. Offering a candid look at BNMC’s setbacks and successes, along with efforts from other institutions nationwide, Enstice shares twelve strategies that innovation districts can harness to weave equity into their core work.

Institutional leadership, business owners, and professionals will find experienced direction here. City Forward is a refreshing look at the brighter futures that we can create through thoughtful collaboration—moving forward, together.
 

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Arbitrary Lines

How Zoning Broke the American City and How to Fix It

Island Press

It’s time for America to move beyond zoning, argues city planner M. Nolan Gray in Arbitrary Lines: How Zoning Broke the American City and How to Fix It. With lively explanations, Gray shows why zoning abolition is a necessary—if not sufficient—condition for building more affordable, vibrant, equitable, and sustainable cities.

Gray lays the groundwork for this ambitious cause by clearing up common misconceptions about how American cities regulate growth and examining four contemporary critiques of zoning (its role in increasing housing costs, restricting growth in our most productive cities, institutionalizing racial and economic segregation, and mandating sprawl). He sets out some of the efforts currently underway to reform zoning and charts how land-use regulation might work in the post-zoning American city.

Arbitrary Lines is an invitation to rethink the rules that will continue to shape American life—where we may live or work, who we may encounter, how we may travel. If the task seems daunting, the good news is that we have nowhere to go but up
 
 

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Build Beyond Zero

New Ideas for Carbon-Smart Architecture

Island Press

 In Build Beyond Zero, carbon pioneers Bruce King and Chris Magwood re-envision buildings as one of our most practical and affordable climate solutions instead of a leading driver of climate change. They make a case for a “carbon smart” built environment that absorbs more greenhouse gases than it emits. While the industry pursues net zero emissions focused on improving the energy efficiency of buildings, a carbon-smart approach also considers what we make all those buildings with, and the supply chains that deliver all those products and materials.

Build Beyond Zero offers an exciting vision of climate-friendly architecture, along with practical advice for professionals working to address the carbon footprint of our built environment.
 

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The Cartoon Introduction to Climate Change, Revised Edition

Island Press

When The Cartoon Introduction to Climate Change was first published in 2014, it offered something entirely new: a fun, illustrated guide to a planetary crisis. If that sounds like an oxymoron, you’ve never seen the carbon cycle demonstrated through yoga poses or a polar bear explaining evolution to her cubs.
 
That creativity comes from the minds of Yoram Bauman, the world’s first and only “stand-up economist,” and award-winning illustrator Grady Klein. After seeing their book used in classrooms and the halls of Congress alike, the pair has teamed up again to fully update the guide with the latest scientific data.  
 
Sociologists have argued that we don’t address climate change because it’s too big and frightening to get our heads around. The Cartoon Introduction to Climate Change takes the intimidation and gloom out of one of the most important challenges of our time.
 

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A Road Running Southward

Following John Muir's Journey through an Endangered Land

Island Press

"Engaging hybrid - part lyrical travelogue, part investigative journalism and part jeremiad, all shot through with droll humor." --The Atlanta Journal Constitution

In 1867, John Muir set out on foot to explore the botanical wonders of the South, from Kentucky to Florida. One hundred and fifty years later, veteran Atlanta reporter Dan Chapman recreated Muir’s journey to see for himself how nature has fared since Muir’s time. He uses humor, keen observation, and a deep love of place to celebrate the South’s natural riches. But he laments the long-simmering struggles over misused resources and seeks to discover how Southerners might balance surging population growth with protecting the natural beauty Muir found so special.


A Road Running Southward is part travelogue, part environmental cri de coeur—a passionate appeal to save one of the loveliest and most biodiverse regions of the world by understanding what we have to lose if we do nothing.
 

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30 Animals That Made Us Smarter

Stories of the Natural World That Inspired Human Ingenuity

Island Press

Did you know that mosquitoes’ mouthparts are helping to develop pain-free surgical needles? Who'd have thought that the humble mussel could inspire so many useful things, from plywood production to a “glue” that can cement the crowns on teeth? Or that the design of polar bear fur may one day help keep humans warm in space? In everything from fashion to architecture, medicine to transportation, it may surprise you how many extraordinary inventions have been inspired by the natural world. In 30 Animals That Made Us Smarter, join wildlife biologist, TV host, and BBC podcaster Patrick Aryee as he tells stories of biomimicry, or innovations inspired by the natural world, that enrich our lives every day—and in some cases, save them.

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Applied Panarchy

Applications and Diffusion across Disciplines

Island Press

Although humans desire stability in our lives to help us understand the world and survive, nothing in nature is permanently stable. How can society anticipate and adjust to the changes we see around us? Scientists use panarchy theory to understand how systems—whether forests, electrical grids, agriculture, coastal surges, public health, or human economies and governance—interact together in unpredictable ways. Applied Panarchy, the much-anticipated successor to Lance Gunderson and C.S. Holling’s seminal 2002 volume Panarchy, documents the extraordinary advances in interdisciplinary panarchy scholarship and applications over the past two decades.

Intended as a text for graduate courses in environmental sciences and related fields, Applied Panarchy picks up where Panarchy left off, inspiring new generations of scholars, researchers, and professionals to put its ideas to work in practical ways.
 

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The Blue Revolution

Hunting, Harvesting, and Farming Seafood in the Information Age

Island Press

For the world’s oceans, overfishing is a worrisome problem.  Many global fish stocks are at a dangerous tipping point, some spiraling toward extinction. But there is a new way to think about fish, food, and oceans. The Blue Revolution tells the story of the recent transformation of commercial fishing, where entrepreneurs are applying newer, smarter technologies to modernize fisheries in unprecedented ways that relieve overstressed oceans.

Nicholas P. Sullivan presents this new way of thinking by profiling the people and policies transforming an aging industry into one fueled by “sea-foodies” and locavores interested in sustainable, traceable, quality seafood. The Blue Revolution brings encouraging news for conservationists and seafood lovers about the transformation of an industry historically averse to change, and it presents fresh inspiration for entrepreneurs and investors eager for new opportunities in a blue-green economy.

 

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No Farms, No Food

Uniting Farmers and Environmentalists to Transform American Agriculture

Island Press

Since 1980, American Farmland Trust (AFT) has been bringing farmers and environmentalists together to work for healthy land and a healthy food system. No Farms, No Food traces the development of this powerful coalition, responsible for landmark achievements in farmland preservation and conservation practices.
 
With leadership from AFT, that constituency drove through Congress the first “Conservation Title” in the history of the U.S. Farm Bill; oversaw the development of agriculture conservation easement programs throughout the country; and continues to develop innovative approaches to sustainable agriculture.
 
No Farms, No Food is both an inspiring history of agricultural conservation and a practical guide to creating an effective advocacy organization. This is an essential read for everyone who cares about the future of our food, farms, and environment.
 

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Effective Conservation

Parks, Rewilding, and Local Development

Island Press

“Full Nature” is a new approach to conservation that connects the well-being of the natural world with the human communities in its midst. Pioneered by conservationist Ignacio Jiménez, it offers a pragmatic approach that puts the focus on working with people—neighbors, governments, politicians, businesses, media—to ensure communities have a stake in the long-term protection and restoration of their local parks and wildlife.

Effective Conservation is based on Jiménez’s experience managing conservation projects on three continents over thirty years. It guides readers through the practical considerations of designing, analyzing, and managing effective conservation programs. This highly readable manual, newly translated into English after successful Spanish and Portuguese editions, provides a practical, time-proven formula for successful conservation.
 

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Healing Grounds

Climate, Justice, and the Deep Roots of Regenerative Farming

Island Press

Today, a new generation of farmers are working to heal both the land and agriculture’s legacy of racism. In Healing Grounds, Liz Carlisle tells the stories of Indigenous, Black, Latinx, and Asian American farmers who are reviving their ancestors’ methods of growing food—techniques long suppressed by the industrial food system.

This, Carlisle shows, is the true regenerative agriculture: a holistic approach that values diversity in both plants and people. It has the power to combat climate change, but only if we reckon with agriculture’s history of oppression. Through rich storytelling, Carlisle lays bare that painful history, while lifting up the voices of farmers who are working to restore our soil, our climate, and our humanity.
 

 
 

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Bird Brother

A Falconer's Journey and the Healing Power of Wildlife

Island Press

In Bird Brother, Rodney Stotts shares his unlikely journey to becoming a conservationist and one of America’s few Black master falconers. Rodney grew up in Washington, D.C. during the crack epidemic, with guns, drugs, and the threat of incarceration affecting the lives of everyone he knew. He was no exception, but he was also employed by the newly founded Earth Conservation Corps, helping to restore and conserve the polluted Anacostia River. This work eventually sent his life in a different direction, as he began to train to become a master falconer and to develop his own raptor education program and sanctuary. Eye-opening, witty, and moving, Bird Brother is a testament to the healing power of nature, and a reminder that no matter how much heartbreak we’ve endured, we still have the capacity to give back to our communities and follow our dreams.
 

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Dream Play Build

Hands-On Community Engagement for Enduring Spaces and Places

Island Press

People love their communities and want them to become safer, healthier, more prosperous places. But the standard approach to public meetings somehow makes everyone miserable. Conversations that should be inspiring can become shouting matches. So what would it look like to facilitate truly meaningful discussions? What if they could be fun?

For twenty years, James Rojas and John Kamp have been using art, creative expression, and storytelling to shake up the classic community meeting. In Dream Play Build, they share their insights into building common ground and inviting active participation among diverse groups. Their approach, “Place It!,” draws on three methods: the interactive model-building workshop, the pop-up, and site exploration using our senses. Inspirational and fun, this book celebrates the value of engaging with the dreams we have for our communities.

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American Urbanist

How William H. Whyte's Unconventional Wisdom Reshaped Public Life

Island Press

American Urbanist shares the remarkable life and wisdom of William H. Whyte, whose advocacy reshaped many of the places we know and love today—from New York’s bustling Bryant Park to preserved forests and farmlands around the country. Over his five decades of research and writing, his wide-ranging work changed how people thought about careers and companies, cities and suburbs, urban planning, open space preservation, and more. In a time when most Americans were eager to fit in, he advocated for oddball ideas and unconformity. His ideas influenced everything from corporate hiring practices to designs of city plazas. “We need the kind of curiosity that blows the lid off everything,” he once said. This fascinating biography offers a rare glimpse into the mind of an iconoclast whose healthy skepticism of the status quo can help guide our efforts to create the kinds of places we want to live in today.

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From the Ground Up

Local Efforts to Create Resilient Cities

Island Press

In From the Ground Up: Local Efforts to Create Resilient Cities, design expert Alison Sant focuses on the unique ways in which US cities are working to mitigate and adapt to climate change while creating equitable and livable communities.

Sant presents 12 case studies, drawn from research and over 90 interviews with people who are working in these communities to make a difference. These efforts show how US cities are reclaiming their streets from cars, restoring watersheds, growing forests, and adapting shorelines to improve people’s lives while addressing our changing climate.

From the Ground Up is a call to action. When we make the places we live more climate resilient, we need to acknowledge and address the history of social and racial injustice. Advocates, non-profit organizations, community-based groups, and government officials will find examples of how to build alliances to support and embolden this vision together.
 

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Pathways to Success

Taking Conservation to Scale in Complex Systems

Island Press

As environmental problems grow larger and more pressing, conservation work has increasingly emphasized broad approaches to combat global-scale crises of biodiversity loss, invasive species, and climate change. Pathways to Success is a modern guide to building large-scale transformative conservation programs capable of tackling the complex issues we now face.
 
In this strikingly illustrated volume, coauthors Nick Salafsky and Richard Margoluis walk readers through fundamental concepts of effective program-level design, helping them to think strategically about project coordination, funding, and stakeholder input. Pathways to Success is the definitive guide for conservation program managers and funders who want to increase the effectiveness of their work combating climate change, species extinctions, and the many challenges we face to keep our planet livable.
 

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