No Cover Image Cities in Our Future


Robert Geddes
Format: Hard Cover
Length: 220 pages
Publisher: Island Press
ISBN: 1559634960
Copyright: 1997

By the year 2000, half of humanity will live in urban areas. The problems of large-scale urbanization are profound, and coping with growth in the world's cities will be the most pressing challenge of the 21st century.

In June 1996, the third in a series of United Nations sponsored conferences on global concerns was held: the Conference on Human Settlements, Habitat II. In preparation for that meeting, Robert Geddes, one of the nation's most respected and influential architects and urban designers, invited leading experts to New York to consider the experience of urban areas in Canada, Mexico, and the United States in order to develop concrete proposals for improving our built environment. Cities in Our Future presents and examines issues set forth at that gathering.

Urban and regional planners, architects, urban designers, and other experts from across North America examine the impact of a city's growth and form on the ability of its citizens to achieve and maintain social equity and environmental health. Case studies of five North American metropolitan areas – New York, Toronto, Cascadia (Vancouver, Seattle, Portland), Mexico City, and Los Angeles – are presented, with in-depth analyses of their physical terrain, design, planning, and development. Contributors discuss problems the cities have experienced, how those problems have been handled, and strategies for avoiding or managing similar problems in the future. They consider historical and contemporary transformations of the cities as well as issues of environment, equity, sustainable development, governance, and civic design.

In addition to the case studies, Cities in Our Future features: a foreword by Dr. Wally N'Dow, secretary-general of the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements – Habitat II, that describes the global nature of urbanization problems; an insightful introduction by urban critic Ellen Posner that provides an overview of important issues facing urban areas in the twenty-first century; a broad examination of the concept of social equity by political philosopher Alan Ryan of Oxford University; and a concise description of environmental health issues by John Spengler of the Harvard School of Public Health. The distinguished contributors representing the five urban regions are Alan Artibise, Jonathan Barnett, Gardner Church, Ken Greenberg, Marilou McPhedran, Ann Vernez Moudon, Xavier Cortes Rocha, Ethan Seltzer, Richard Weinstein, and Robert Yaro.


“This book provides a unique survey of current developments in urbanization and planning in major regions on this continent. It deserves the attention of everyone interested in the future of cities.”
-- Robert Gutman, Lecturer in Architecture, Princeton University

“Cities in Our Future is the elegant and incisive outcome of a most interesting and productive conference. It presents the conditions of urban living in five distinct regions of North America, each analyzed by distinguished urbanists who work there. In so doing it reveals the variety of ways in which we do and must think about cities, taking into account the pervasive context they establish for relations between people and for the environmental health of our future.”
-- Donlyn Lyndon, Editor, Places; and Chair, Department of Architecture, University of California, Berkeley

About the Editor

Robert Geddes is an award-winning architect and urban designer. He is dean emeritus of architecture at Princeton University, the Luce Professor of Architecture, Urbanism and History at New York University, and a fellow of the New York Institute for the Humanities.

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