Excerpts from review by Philip Langdon
Judging by its title, you might think Time-Saver Standards for Urban Design would be a source mainly for street widths, sidewalk dimensions, parking ratios, and other matters than can largely be reduced to mathematical calculations. But this six-pound tome with its 960 oversized pages has far broader ambitions. McGraw-Hill calls this volume, "the definitive reference on urban design," and the description doesn't seem to be hyperbole.
Donald Watson, former dean of the School of Architecture at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, with help from Alan Plattus of Yale School of Architecture and Robert Shibley of SUNY-Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning, has assembled a volume containing the most significant urban design writings of the past 106 years. And that's just one of the eight sections in this enormous compilation. In addition to twelve classic texts...readers will find dozens of authoritative recent writings on world urbanization, regionalism, neighborhood planning, bikeways, greenways, universal design, outdoor lighting, way finding, acoustic considerations, and seemingly every other aspect of city-shaping.
You can flip from key documents of New Urbanism, including the Charter and the Lexicon, to LeCorbusier's (wrongheaded but fascinating) vision of towers and highways, Clarence Stein's The Radburn Idea, Clare Cooper Marcus's sociological analyses of urban plazas and shared outdoor spaces, and case studies of places such as Seattles Pike Place Market. History, theory, principles and practice, theyre all here...this is the best single volume Ive seen, in terms of its ability to explain the entire spectrum of urban design through the words of its most prominent analysts and practitioners. Expand your bookshelf. Watson, Donald is the author of 'Time-Saver Standards for Urban Design', published 2003 under ISBN 9780070685079 and ISBN 007068507X.