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The Heart of the City

Creating Vibrant Downtowns for a New Century

Authors: Garvin, Alexander

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  • Written by an award‑winning and internationally recognized expert on cities 
  • Recommends actions that will help any downtown thrive, with examples from many different American cities
  • Author brings an insider perspective to successful projects profiled in the book 
  • Focus on downtowns, rather than entire metropolitan areas, is unique 
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Buy this book

eBook £11.99
price for United Kingdom (gross)
  • ISBN 978-1-61091-950-0
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format:
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
About this book

Downtowns are more than economic engines: they are repositories of knowledge and culture and generators of new ideas, technology, and ventures. They are the heart of the city that drives its future. If we are to have healthy downtowns, we need to understand what downtown is all about; how and why some American downtowns never stopped thriving (such as San Jose and Houston), some have been in decline for half a century (including Detroit and St. Louis), and still others are resurging after temporary decline (many, including Lower Manhattan and Los Angeles). The downtowns that are prospering are those that more easily adapt to changing needs and lifestyles.

In The Heart of the City, distinguished urban planner Alexander Garvin shares lessons on how to plan for a mix of housing, businesses, and attractions; enhance the public realm; improve mobility; and successfully manage downtown services. Garvin opens the book with diagnoses of downtowns across the United States, including the people, businesses, institutions, and public agencies implementing changes. In a review of prescriptions and treatments for any downtown, Garvin shares brief accounts—of both successes and failures—of what individuals with very different objectives have done to change their downtowns. The final chapters look at what is possible for downtowns in the future, closing with suggested national, state, and local legislation to create standard downtown business improvement districts to better manage downtowns.
This book will help public officials, civic organizations, downtown business property owners, and people who care about cities learn from successful recent actions in downtowns across the country, and expand opportunities facing their downtown. Garvin provides recommendations for continuing actions to help any downtown thrive, ensuring a prosperous and thrilling future for the 21st-century American city.

About the authors

Alexander Garvin has combined a career in urban planning and real estate with teaching, architecture, and public service. He is currently President and CEO of AGA Public Realm Strategists, Inc., a planning and design firm in New York City that is responsible for the initial master plans for the Atlanta BeltLine, Tessera (a 700-acre new community outside Austin), and Hinton Park in Collierville, Tennessee. Between 1996 and 2005 he was managing director for planning at NYC2012, the committee to bring the Summer Olympics to New York in 2012. During 2002-2003, he was Vice President for Planning, Design and Development of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation. During the last 49 years he has held prominent positions in five New York City administrations, including Deputy Commissioner of Housing and City Planning Commissioner.
Garvin is Adjunct Professor of Urban Planning and Management at Yale University, where he has taught a wide range of subjects including “Introduction to the Study of the City,” which for more than 52 years has remained one of the most popular courses in Yale College.  In addition, he teaches three courses in the School of Architecture, including: “An Introduction to Planning & Real Estate Development,” “Residential Design, Development, and Management,” and “Intermediate Planning & Development.”

Garvin is on the board of directors of the Forum for Urban Design and the Citizens Housing and Planning Council. Between 1996 and 2004, he was a fellow of the Urban Land Institute for whom he has organized and taught workshops on basic real estate development, the residential development process, and the role of design in real estate. He is a past member of the Board of Directors of the Skyscraper Museum, the Ed Bacon Foundation, and the Society of American City and Regional Planning History, as well as the National Advisory Council of the Trust for Public Land.
Garvin is the author of the book The American City: What Works, What Doesn't, published by McGraw-Hill and winner of the 1996 American Institute of Architects book award in urbanism. (The substantially revised, updated, expanded, now full color 3rd edition was released during in 2013). He also is the author of The Planning Game: Lessons from Great Cities, published by W. W. Norton in 2013; Public Parks: The Key to Livable Communities, published by W. W. Norton in 2010; Parks, Recreation, and Open Space: A 21st Century Agenda, published in 2001 by the American Planning Association; and one of the principal authors of Urban Parks and Open Space, published in 1997 jointly by the Trust for Public Land and the Urban Land Institute.
Garvin earned his B.A., M.Arch, and M.U.S. from Yale University.

Table of contents (8 chapters)

Table of contents (8 chapters)
  • What Is Downtown?

    Pages 1-17

    Garvin, Alexander

  • Where Is Downtown?

    Pages 19-42

    Garvin, Alexander

  • How and Why Downtown America Is Changing

    Pages 43-74

    Garvin, Alexander

  • People Who Are Changing Downtown

    Pages 75-93

    Garvin, Alexander

  • Organizations That Are Changing Downtown

    Pages 95-129

    Garvin, Alexander

Buy this book

eBook £11.99
price for United Kingdom (gross)
  • ISBN 978-1-61091-950-0
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format:
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
The Heart of the City
Book Subtitle
Creating Vibrant Downtowns for a New Century
Authors
Copyright
2019
Publisher
Island Press/Center for Resource Economics
Copyright Holder
Alexander Garvin
eBook ISBN
978-1-61091-950-0
DOI
10.5822/978-1-61091-950-0
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XII, 248
Number of Illustrations
1 b/w illustrations
Topics