Library

The Big Dig

We will discuss “The Big Dig,” a documentary podcast about one of the most ambitious—and vexed—public works projects in American history, the building of two tunnels and a bridge in Boston. This massive project transformed downtown Boston and solved many access problems, but at a huge cost in money and reputation. The documentary has suggestions…

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Ghosting the News: Local Journalism and the Crisis of American Democracy

We will discuss “Ghosting the News,” a book about the decline of newspapers, the loss of their coverage of local government and politics, and why this lost coverage threatens democracy. The book offers some ideas about what might replace newspaper reporting. Sullivan is the media columnist for the Washington Post. She was the public editor…

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Walk the Walk: How Three Police Chiefs Defied the Odds and Changed Cop Culture

We will discuss “Walk the Walk,” a book about why police reform will fail if it does not address “cop culture,” which are the ways police officers view their work and their relations with others. It focuses on three police chiefs, including one in Georgia, who changed their departments’ culture and made other reforms. Gross…

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Love Our Cities: How a City-Wide Volunteer Day Can Unite and Transform Your Community

“Love Our Cities” is a book about volunteering, the benefits it brings to a city, and how a single day devoted to good works can be a source of continuing civic involvement. It was written by two people who learned these things after starting a community outreach project at a church. The “big ideas” for…

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The New Localism: How Cities Can Thrive in the Age of Populism

“The New Localism” is a book about how local governments could solve difficult problems if they worked more collaboratively with others and used more creative approaches to financing improvements. Cities have greater resources than they realize, the authors say. Collaboration and new thinking about finance can unlock these resources. The “big ideas” for Urban Atlanta:

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Paved Paradise: How Parking Explains the World

“Paved Paradise” is about parking’s impact on city life and urban design, how it came to have such a large influence, and the prospects for change.  It asks: Why have we devoted so much land to the exclusive use of idle vehicles? Are there better ways of using this land? The “big ideas” for Urban…

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Blighted: A Story of People, Politics, and an American Housing Miracle

“Blighted” is a book about the effort to create safe, decent, affordable housing for the working poor, told from an unusual perspective: that of a well-motivated landlord. It focuses on the purchase and renovation of a large apartment complex in south Atlanta. The “big ideas” for Urban Atlanta:

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Right of Way: Race, Class, and the Silent Epidemic of Pedestrian Deaths in America

“Right of Way” is about the rise of pedestrian deaths in America, what causes these fatalities, and why some countries in Europe are seeing the opposite, a decline in auto-related injuries and deaths. It has suggestion for reducing these unnecessary deaths. The “big ideas” for Urban Atlanta:

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Happy City: Transforming Our Lives Through Urban Design

This is a book about what makes people happy and the role that cities, suburbs and the way we live today adds to happiness or diminishes it. The “big ideas” for Urban Atlanta:

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Better Buses, Better Cities: How to Plan, Run, and Win the Fight for Effective Transit

This is a book about how cities could build ridership for their public transit systems if they concentrated more on improving bus services than rail extensions. It is also a book about the role that advocacy could play in reforming public institutions—if it were done right. The “big ideas” for Urban Atlanta:

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