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Thread: The definitive reference book for planning - your thoughts?

  1. #1
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    The definitive reference book for planning - your thoughts?

    The American Planning Association just announced plans to create a 750 page reference book, [i]Urban Planning and Design Standards[i], to be published in 2005.

    Plans for the book include:

    This book will be similar in scope and depth to Architectural Graphic Standards, currently in its 10th edition .. While that book focuses on structural and functional issues related to buildings, Urban Planning and Design Standards will address elements outside of the building envelope, from individual lots, subdivisions, and neighborhoods, to towns, cities, and regions. It will present information necessary to understand elements of the natural and built environments, provide universal principles on common areas of planning practice, and put forth contemporary issues of planning practice that planners should be incorporating to "make great communities happen".

    ... Our goal is to produce a reference that planners will turn to first to get the absolute essential pieces of information — written and visual — on a topic — or the information that is needed to do additional research on a subject.
    The APA is soliciting a "wish list" for subjects to be included in the book. Have any great thoughts about what you would like to see in a "planning bible?" What shouldn't be in there?
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  2. #2
    I guess I wouldn't like to see some anti-sprawl/anti-suburban propaganda in there. I hope it acknowledges that New Urbanism and Conservation Subdivisions aren't the panacea for all growth related problems.

    I would like a nice, updated, comprehensive version of the Green Bible. I would like lots and lots of pictures, graphics, etc. I would also like some inter-disciplinary stuff like basic engineering concepts (stormwater drainage, roads, traffic, etc) and architectural concepts.

    It would be nice if the book was in a binder or something and the APA could send people who buy the book updates, inserts, case studies, etc. The book should also come with a CD-rom of the entire book.

    I guess if I sat down and really thought about it, I could come up with a lot of stuff.
    "I'm a white male, age 18 to 49. Everyone listens to me, no matter how dumb my suggestions are."

    - Homer Simpson

  3. #3
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
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    "How to fight with City Engineer and Win"

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    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Originally posted by mike gurnee
    "How to fight with City Engineer and Win"
    Oh, yeah! Maybe add the DOT, too.

    I get a little concerned when I see these things. They tend to want to reduce planning down to numbers, formulas, templates and shortcuts. The artistry is lost in them.

  5. #5

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    There are some old planning standards books out there. They are useful if you want to look up the size of a tennis court or to get focused on a particular very specific question or need, but they are no substitute for actually thinking about what you're doing. And the answers to these specific questions are not the essence of planning, anymore than the thumbnail sketches in Architectural Graphic Standards are the essence of design. While I am not sure that the APA always gets it, planning is either about facilitating a community conversation about the desirable future, then making the results of that conversation happen, or the engineers have already won.

    This doesn't mean a new planning standards book wouldn't be helpful in certain ways. What it should NOT include is cut-and-paste ordinance language. I have spent hundreds of hours over the last 2-3 years trying to repair serious damage done by people who were allegedly professional planners, but who substituted a photocopy machine for a real planning process.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Wannaplan?'s avatar
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    This thread is an oldie but goodie.

    Anyone know the status of this book? Looks like it will be coming out shortly, sometime in 2005.

    If a mod sees it appropriate, how about moving this thread to the Cyburbia Book Club?

  7. #7
    I had missed this thread. How about some references for rural planning? We have some diferent needs from urban planners yet we have to plan for the future as well. Most works I have seen have been canted toward the urban and suburban enviroment.

  8. #8

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    APA's encyclopedia will be released at the spring conference. Having contributed a chapter, I doubt that it wll be the "ultimate," planning reference book. It is going to be more broad than deep, but it will be unique in its organization - by land use. I look forward to seeing it.

    1) The Planning for Results Guidebook: Practical Advice for Building Successful Rural Communities by Lee Nellis and Karen Van Gilder is the best rural planning book. It also the least expensive. You can obtain a copy from the National Ass'n of Counties for, I think they raised it a bit, but it used to be $12.00.

    2) John Keller, Tom Daniels, and Mark Lapping's Small TOwn Planning Handbook is also worthwhile. It is available through APA.

    3) Saving America's Countryside by a whole bunch of authors including Shelley Mastran and, I think, Ed McMahon is a good product of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

    4) Finally, there is Randall Arendt's Rural By Design, also available through APA.

    There are others, but if you have these four, you have what you need.

  9. #9
    Forums Administrator & Gallery Moderator NHPlanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Wanigas?
    If a mod sees it appropriate, how about moving this thread to the Cyburbia Book Club?
    Moderator note:
    Done.
    ...........................
    "Growth is inevitable and desirable, but destruction of community character is not. The question is not whether your part of the world is going to change. The question is how." -- Edward T. McMahon, The Conservation Fund

  10. #10

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    First, the status of the new book, to which yours truly contributed the chapter on "Ranches," is that it will be released at the conference this spring (if all goes well). It will not be the "ultimate" reference book on planning, but more like an encylcopedia. We'll have to see what it really looks like. If anybody wants a preview of what I presume is a typical chapter, PM me.

    nighthawk, the best reference books for small towns and rural areas are:

    1) Lee Nellis and Karen Van GIlder, The Planning for Results Guidebook: Practical Advice for Building Successful Rural Communities, 2003, which is available for a very reasonable price from the National Association of Counties. Your county, as well as every other county in the US, received a copy at about this time last year, but NACo is only charging $12-15 for it. You can find it on NACo's web site or get an order form at the Sonoran Institute's web site.

    2) An older and more conventional, but good book is APA's Small Town Planning Handbook (or something close to that title) written by John Keller, Tom Daniels, and Mark Lapping, three of the best academics in small town and rural planning. It is a lot more expensive, but a good reference.

    3) Rural by Design, by Randall Arendt is another expensive reference, but it has a lot of good material in it about specific topics.

    4) Saving America's Countryside, which is a product of the National Ttrust for Historic Preservation is also worth having.

    If you have these, you have what you need. Beyond this, almost none of the rural planning books are all that helpful.

  11. #11
    Cyburbian jordanb's avatar
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    It's gotta be a pretty tiny font if they're going to write the definitive book about planning in 750 pages.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian Budgie's avatar
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    LOS and Benchmarking

    For my money the best LOS and benchmarking reference book out there is,

    Municipal Benchmarks, Assessing Local Performance and Establishing Community Standards by David N. Ammons.

    This is a must have if you work on LOS, impact fees, APFO's or other similar reports/regulations.
    "And all this terrible change had come about because he had ceased to believe himself and had taken to believing others. " - Leo Tolstoy

  13. #13
    Cyburbian Wannaplan?'s avatar
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    According to Wiley Publishing, the book will be available in January 2006. And the APA hype machine has already begun - tune in to the April 12 audioconference for the "Design Graphics for Planning" session.

    736 pages for $175, and you can pre-order on Amazon. Not yet available on Planners Book Service.

  14. #14
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Wanigas?
    According to Wiley Publishing, the book will be available in January 2006. And the APA hype machine has already begun - tune in to the April 12 audioconference for the "Design Graphics for Planning" session.

    736 pages for $175, and you can pre-order on Amazon. Not yet available on Planners Book Service.

    God I hope that we do not need it for a text book. It would be nice if I can find a nice used copy.
    Not my monkey, not my circus. - Old Polish Proverb

  15. #15
    Cyburbian Wannaplan?'s avatar
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    Wouldn't it be cool if Amazon had it's "Look Inside" feature turned on so we could browse through it first? At the $175 price point, I need to know if this is the book we've been waiting for.

  16. #16
    Cyburbian Wannaplan?'s avatar
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    The book is now out. Price is $165 at the Planners Book Service. There are two samples to view, about roads and bike lanes.

  17. #17
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Wanigas?
    The book is now out. Price is $165 at the Planners Book Service. There are two samples to view, about roads and bike lanes.
    I actually pre-ordered it from the Book Service about 2 months ago. I am fairly confindent I will not have wasted the cash. I don't get it till release date in February.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    Let's not be didactic in this profession, because that is a path to disillusion and irrelevancy.

    Six seasons and a movie!

  18. #18
    Cyburbian abrowne's avatar
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    Any word on how it differs from Time Saver Standards for Urban Design?

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/007...lance&n=283155

  19. #19
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by abrowne
    Any word on how it differs from Time Saver Standards for Urban Design?

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/007...lance&n=283155
    Haven't seen Time Savers..., but i will try to make a comparision once I get my copy of Design Graphics for Planning in a week or two.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    Let's not be didactic in this profession, because that is a path to disillusion and irrelevancy.

    Six seasons and a movie!

  20. #20
    Quote Originally posted by abrowne
    Any word on how it differs from Time Saver Standards for Urban Design?

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/007...lance&n=283155
    The Urban Designbook is nothing like it's cousin for Landscape Architecture; it has more treatises and solliloquies than standards, way less diagrams, and just ain't that useful. Even before seeing the new Urban Planning book, I feel confident you'll prefer it.

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