Extremely pertinent and engrossing; essential reading for city planners.




An urban designer presents a compact case and provides practical advice for the revitalization of American cities.

City planners and urban advocates take notice: This excellent debut book may be the solution to your most vexing problems. Crandall, who co-founded an urban design firm 20 years ago and has worked on high-profile projects for cities such as Portland, Oregon, puts forth a smart, comprehensive, no-nonsense method for renewing any city. In a sobering first chapter, the author highlights and summarizes urban deficiencies he says result from three basic problems: “(1) a depletion of the retail offering, (2) the creation of a hostile pedestrian environment, and (3) the preponderance of visual blight and chaos.” He offers a litany of bulleted points for each and discusses such key issues as flawed planning, automobile emissions, and the effects of climate change. But more importantly, Crandall lucidly explains his “Transformation Strategy,” a three-part process intended to change the way city plans are created. Each of these three parts (“Public Support,” “Framework Plan,” and “Implementation Rules”) is discussed in appropriate, highly comprehensible detail in the remainder of the book. In covering Public Support, for example, the volume offers specific ways to obtain public involvement, concentrating on “information workshops,” a technique the author’s firm has used with great success. The chapter concerning the Framework Plan is the meatiest. In clear and uncomplicated fashion, Crandall talks about all the necessary elements: “healthy retail,” public spaces, urban parks and neighborhoods, employment districts, civic and cultural aspects, transportation, and implementation fundamentals. Particularly captivating in this section are brief illustrations of three “business case scenarios” that demonstrate different ways a strategy can be implemented. Also intriguing is the author’s lively discussion of “Game Changers” (“Public investments that stimulate private development momentum”) and “Silver Bullets” (“Public actions with long-term negative political and/or financial impacts”). Here, Crandall supplies specific examples from Portland and other cities, with “before” and “after” full-color photographs to enhance the text. In fact, the entire Framework Plan chapter includes superb explanatory charts and photos. The chapter regarding Implementation Rules is equally elucidating. The author deftly discusses the need for rules, the development of guidelines and standards, and the design review process, helpfully illustrating the last with a detailed chart. He also shares his “Design Guidelines Checklist,” sure to be useful to city planners. The most absorbing and forward-thinking chapter of the book, “Radical Transformation Strategy,” addresses a city’s more complex needs. Again, Crandall explains in uncomplicated terms how to implement such a tactic and uses the specific example of “what Portland must do to become proactive in regard to climate issues.” This particular case is both enthralling and prescient in terms of its relevance to future development in any city. In closing the volume, the author boldly proposes the possibility of creating a new class of professionals he calls “Urban Architects” to work on modern cities’ pressing challenges. Crandall’s eloquent treatise delivers an accomplished practitioner’s sensible perspective on what cities need to become livable.

Extremely pertinent and engrossing; essential reading for city planners.

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-9961040-1-2

Page Count: 149

Publisher: Fuller Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 14, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2018

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This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-448-42421-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000

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Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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