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Walking Home: The Life and Lessons of a City Builder [Hardcover]

Ken Greenberg
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

May 17 2011
One of the world's foremost urban designers shares his passion and methods for rejuvenating neglected cities and argues passionately for the importance and possibilities of their renewal.

From a youth spent in the boroughs of New York City and other great cities of the world, to his beginnings as an architect in Toronto, Ken Greenberg has long recognized that cities at their best provide much of what we seek in a place to call home. Community, places of culture and business that we can walk to, mass transit and a wealth of amenities that couldn't be supported without a city's density: the mid-century drive to suburbanization deprived us of these inherent advantages of urban living. The realization of this loss, in tandem with pressing recent concerns about energy scarcity and global warming, has made us see cities with fresh eyes and a growing understanding that they can provide us with an unparalleled measure of sustainability.

Ken Greenberg has not only advocated for the renewal of downtown cores, he has for thirty years designed the very means by which that renewal can happen. Walking Home is both Ken's story and a lesson in turning the world's urban spaces back into places that can give us not only a platform to face the challenges of the future, but also a place we can call, with pride and satisfaction, home.

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Review

Walking Home arrives at a good time in Canadian urbanism. . . . If you’ve been intimidated by the confounding planning language in miniscule type used in those newspaper rezoning ads, Greenberg’s guide to city building is refreshingly accessible and invites all of us to join in. . . . There’s much hope in Walking Home.”
—Shawn Micallef, National Post
 
“A book that feels hopeful and invigorating. . . . Smart, but accessible. And those that know little about planning history have nothing to fear, as Greenberg does the sweep through history picking up the usual suspects like Frank Lloyd Wright, Le Corbusier, and Jane Jacobs on the way.”
—Jake Tobin Garrett, Spacing
 
“An eloquent, personal, compelling and persuasive argument for more enlightened city-building, made all the more convincing by the Toronto-based author’s 30 years of international experience as an urban designer and architect..”
—Winnipeg Free Press

"A highly readable and erudite book written by one of the foremost practitioners in the field of architecture.... Highly recommended."
Edmonton Journal

“A visionary architect and planner with an international reputation, some of Ken’s more notable assignments have focused on the transformation of problematic urban settings into new environments that not only serve the needs of his clients, but also succeed in reclaiming and enhancing the public realm for the benefit of all.”
—Robert A. Brown, President, Boston University
 
“Ken is one of the most skilled and respected urban designers practicing in the world today. His greatest strength, however, is his ability to build consensus on even the most controversial of projects.”
—Kairos Shen, Chief Planner of Boston
 
“I can say without hesitation that without [Ken Greenberg’s] expertise and guidance, St. Paul would not be what it is today.”
—Senator Norm Coleman, Former Mayor of St. Paul, Minnesota

About the Author

KEN GREENBERG is an architect and urban designer, living in Toronto. For over three decades he has played a pivotal role on public and private assignments in urban settings throughout North America and Europe, focusing on the rejuvenation of downtowns, waterfronts, neighbourhoods and university campuses from the scale of the city region to that of the city block. Cities as diverse as Toronto, Hartford, Amsterdam, New York, Boston, Montréal, Washington, DC, Paris, Detroit, Saint Paul and San Juan, Puerto Rico, have benefited from his advocacy and passion for restoring the vitality, relevance and sustainability of the public realm in urban life. A former Director of Urban Design and Architecture for the City of Toronto and Principal of Greenberg Consultants, he is the recipient of the 2010 American Institute of Architects Thomas Jefferson Award for public design excellence.

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Front Cover | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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2.0 out of 5 stars Walking Backwards July 4 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I must admit that I did not finish this book but I gave it the good old college try (i.e. 175 pages and then up or out). Mostly, I found the first part an over blown account of the impact of one architectural movement and the rest superficial quotes from Jane Jacobs, et al. WTHBS, I have to admit that I am a reluctant denizen of a major city that has decided to make the backyards of an urban city safe for chickens. I will also have to admit that I think chickens are jerks; that's why we eat them.

Nevertheless, a reminder that most of the world walks (women in hunter-gatherer cultures walk the equivalent of NY to LAX each year) and that when we design public places we are talking about creating spaces for people is important. Whether infill and recycling buildings is an example of making lemonade when your career choice gives you lemons (IMHO, most successful buildings stand until they fall down) or the most successful artistic movement of the 20th century (oh that century) is up to other readers to judge.

Just be warned, reading this book may be more like walking backwards than walking to the future.

djc
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By Beanie
Format:Hardcover
Heard Ken Greenberg speak at a seminar put on by Edmonton Economic Development and the City of Edmonton, Alberta - his talk focused on how we can revitilize our inner city core, how we can make it more people friendly,and how the inner city can become the main focal point of Edmonton. The book went into far more detail and gave many examples on how this can be accompished. Ken spoke of his various "jobs" helping out other cities to become more cosmopolitan and vibrant - some were great success some were not.
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