As 2013 comes to a close, here are 13 books (and a bonus e-book) you should investigate if you want to know more about why cities and metros matter, about the magnitude of the challenges that they are taking on, and about how they can do better.
"Over my dead body" is how renowned former Curitiba mayor Jaime Lerner responds to a question about the proposed subway for this Brazilian city, internationally famous for inventing the Bus Rapid Transit system under his leadership in the 1970s.
The silence of Brovès provided a stark and confounding contrast. I found while photographing the townscape that without its people, the urban form along the highway had little voice. Are there practical lessons from these two models of how a place survives?
For everyone who is tired of our dysfunctional federal government, this metropolitan revolution offers a path forward. Metropolitan areas are succeeding in spite of grave economic and political challenges at the national level.
With billions headed for urban centers in the decades to come, and with cities already home to a majority of the earth's population, the future of cities and our environment are inextricably connected.
American's plague of violence is clear -- it strikes all communities -- and people cannot make up their own facts. We don't have only a problem of black violence in America -- we have a problem of male violence -- and thus white male violence and Latino male violence.
Take a harder look, and see the reasons forests and farms have been elemental to growth management legislation, emulating the naturally evolved agricultural region that has always surrounded the City of Rome.
Unfortunately, when it comes to these far-away urban places, not all of us have real-time access to the inspirational modern projects served by transit, or the historic monuments, streets and squares that illustrate the potential of creative city life.
Across the U.S., mayors, educators, philanthropists, business and community leaders and others who govern the nation's cities and metropolitan areas are taking on the big issues that the federal government won't, or can't, solve.
Data plays a crucial role in any serious effort to reduce urban poverty. It's tough to design initiatives and measure success without a clear understanding of who people are, where they live, and what problems they face.
If places are not implemented with care, and if they leave a sense of the overly artificial and concocted, we may collectively and forever chase The Great Gatsby's symbolic green light at the end of Daisy's pier.