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The Urban Mystique
by Josh Stephens
Josh Stephens grew up in Los Angeles knowing that it was a perfectly pleasant place, with enviable weather, an impressive natural environment, and Hollywood glamour. But, still, he wondered whether a great city shouldn't be something ...more. With a title inspired by Bette Friedan's account of life in the suburbs, The Urban Mystique is equal part lamentation and celebration. It collects some of Josh's work from the California Planning & Development Report and elsewhere, covering everything from the minutiae of setbacks, the impacts of transit investments, the promise of smart growth and sustainability, and the precariousness of urban politics in the 21st century.
Talk City is a collection of the remarkable blogs the distinguished urban planner Bill Fulton wrote while serving as a member of the City Council in the California beach town of Ventura. The blog started out as a way to explain what had happened at the weekly council meetings. Before long, however, it turned into an evocative, real-time chronicle of what it was like to serve as an underpaid, overstressed, part-time local elected official during hard times. If you like local government and politics, you’ll love how Talk City reveals the stresses and strains of serving as an elected official in a typical American city.
Since it was first published in 1991, Guide to California Planning has served as the authoritative textbook on city and county planning practice throughout the state. The first book ever written that covers all aspects of planning in a single state, Guide to California Planning is used as a textbook in virtually every college- and graduate- level planning program in California. In this revised and expanded fourth edition, William Fulton and Paul Shigley lay out planning laws and processes in detail and describe how planning really works in California - how cities and counties and developers and citizen groups all interact with each other on a daily basis to shape California communities and the California landscape, for better and for worse.
In twelve engaging essays, William Fulton chronicles the history of urban planning in the Los Angeles metropolitan area, tracing the legacy of short-sighted political and financial gains that has resulted in a vast urban region on the brink of disaster. Looking at such diverse topics as shady real estate speculations, the construction of the Los Angeles subway, the battle over the future of South Central L.A. after the 1992 riots, and the emergence of Las Vegas as "the new Los Angeles," Fulton offers a fresh perspective on the city's epic sprawl.
How did Federal Express decide to locate at the Memphis Airport? Why is China also losing manufacturing jobs? Do artists really help turn around a struggling neighborhood? What should you do with a declining auto mall - save it or let it die and start over again? What's better - subsidizing an business or subsidizing the infrastructure such a business requires? Romancing the Smokestack is a collection of economic development columns from Governing magazine that covers deals with these questions - and reveals the good, the bad, and the ugly about how economic development is practiced in the United States.