If you’re looking for a good read, here are some of my favorite books about cities:

Green Metropolis by David Owen

The book started as a New Yorker article called “Green Manhattan.” When I was a freshman in college, Owen’s argument that Manhattan is the greenest place in the world completely uprooted my preconceptions about cities and sparked my interest in urban studies.

City by Douglas Rae

A terrifically well-written and well-supported explication of how cities work, through the lens of New Haven’s history and evolution.

The Wealth of Cities by John Norquist

Norquist was mayor of Milwaukee and now heads the Congress for New Urbanism. He describes how cities come to exist as centers where commerce and culture are concentrated.

The Death and Life of Great American Cities by Jane Jacobs

This book has become the 20th Century’s bible of urban planning, a very detailed account of how urban spaces and neighborhoods function.

Nature’s Metropolis by William Cronon

Traces the incredible history of Chicago and its hinterlands, as it grew to be one of America’s greatest and most influential cities.

Triumph of the City by Edward Glaeser

A new favorite: this insightful and captivating overview of all of the key issues affecting today’s global cities changed my perspective by introducing an economist’s viewpoint (e.g. height restrictions on downtown buildings artificially limit the housing supply and drive up housing prices).

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