184 pages, 6 x 9
39 photos
Release Date:09 Jan 2009

Resilient Cities

Responding to Peak Oil and Climate Change

Island Press

Half of the world’s inhabitants now live in cities. In thenext twenty years, the number of urban dwellers will swell to anestimated five billion people. With their inefficient transportationsystems and poorly designed buildings, many cities – especiallyin the United States – consume enormous quantities of fossilfuels and emit high levels of greenhouse gases. But our planet israpidly running out of the carbon-based fuels that have powered urbangrowth for centuries and we seem to be unable to curb our greenhousegas emissions. Are the world’s cities headed for inevitablecollapse?

The authors of this spirited book don’t believe that oblivionis necessarily the destiny of urban areas. Instead, they believe thatintelligent planning and visionary leadership can help cities meet theimpending crises, and look to existing initiatives in cities around theworld. Rather than responding with fear (as a legion of doomsayingprognosticators have done), they choose hope. First, they confront theproblems, describing where we stand today in our use of oil and ourcontribution to climate change. They then present four possibleoutcomes for cities: ”collapse,”“ruralized,”  “divided,” and“resilient.” In response to their scenarios, theyarticulate how a new “sustainable urbanism” could replacetoday’s “carbon-consuming urbanism.” They address indetail how new transportation systems and buildings can be feasiblydeveloped to replace our present low efficiency systems. In conclusion,they offer ten “strategic steps” that any city can taketoward greater sustainability and resilience.

This is not a book filled with “blue sky” theory(although blue skies will be a welcome result of its recommendations).Rather, it is packed with practical ideas, some of which are alreadyworking in cities today. It frankly admits that our cities haveproblems that will worsen if they are not addressed, but it suggeststhat these problems are solvable. And the time to begin solving them isnow.

For more information, please visit www.resilientcitiesbook.org.
Peter Newman is professor of sustainability at CurtinUniversity in Western Australia, and the author of Cities asSustainable Ecosystems. Timothy Beatley is TeresaHeinz Professor of Sustainable Communities at the University ofVirginia and author of Green Urbanism and Ecology ofPlace. Heather Boyer is senior editor at IslandPress and 2005 Loeb Fellow at the Harvard Graduate School of Design.

One    UrbanResilience: Cities of Fear and Hope

Two    ClimateChange and Peak Oil: The Double Whammy for Resource-IntensiveCities

Three   Four Scenarios for theFuture of Cities: Collapse, Ruralized, Divided, or Resilient City

Four     AVision for Resilient Cities: The Built Environment

Five    Hope forResilient Cities: Transport Six

Conclusion: Ten Strategic Steps toward a Resilient City

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