Many of our global cities are distressed and facing a host of issues: economic collapse in the face of rising expectations, social disintegration and civil unrest, and ecological degradation and the threats associated with climate change, including more frequent and more severe natural disasters. Our long-held assumptions about man and nature and how they interact are defunct. We realize now that we can no longer continue to build without addressing the long-term impacts of our actions and their spillovers. Energy and natural resources are finite. The way we configure economies has come into question. In the developed world, especially in the United States, infrastructure and the notions that underpin it are outdated. Meanwhile, the developing world is experiencing major, rapid transformations in lifestyles and economies that are affecting billions of people and requiring a whole new way of planning human settlements. Cities are the key to our future; they represent the most effective vehicle for positive advancements in the human condition and environmental change. This volume argues for the need to redesign and re-plan our cities in holistic ways that reflect our new understanding and relate to their diversity and multi-dimensionality. Presenting a range of case studies from around the world, this volume examines how these distressed cities are dealing with these issues in planning for their future. Alongside these empirical chapters are philosophical essays that consider the future of distressed cities. Bringing together a team of leading scholars, United Nations agencies, non-governmental organizations, private consulting firms, international organizations and foundations, and policy officials, this volume provides a unique and comprehensive overview on how to transform distressed communities into more livable places.
Fritz W. Wagner is co-Director of the Northwest Center for Livable Communities, Research Professor in the Department of Urban Design and Planning, and former Chair of the Department of Landscape Architecture at the University of Washington. Dr. Wagner also taught at the University of New Orleans, where he served as Director and founding Dean of the College of Urban and Public Affairs for twenty years. Riad G. Mahayni is a Professor Emeritus of Community and Regional Planning at Iowa State University and former Chair of the Department. He previously taught at the University of Rhode Island, where he chaired its Urban Affairs Program. Dr. Mahayni worked as the Technical Coordinator of the Makkah (Mecca) Region Planning and Development Project, Saudi Arabia, with Dar Al Handasah Consultants. Andreas G. Piller is a Master of Planning graduate at the University of Washington focusing on land use and transportation. He has a B.A. in Urban Planning from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and has worked in the Transportation Department at the City of Bellevue, Washington since 2011.
’Wagner and his colleagues have developed an interesting and insightful book on the important topic of community transformation. Their focus on healthy, livable and sustainable communities represents an important contribution to the field. Elected officials, university researchers and community leaders can draw upon this work for inspiration and insight.’ Raymond J. Burby, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA