Top 5… Books for the Beach

AIA Pittsburgh's top 5 summer architectural reads

By Becky Spevack Posted on July 2, 2013


The Summer Solstice has passed and the season is officially upon us. Summer brings with it many things – longer days, thunderstorms, flip flops, and of course, vacation.  No vacation is complete without a good book, so Columns has asked its readers to recommend their favorite architecturally relevant books. With quite a few to choose from, we have picked some of the more recent releases, in hopes that we’ll bring something new to your attention. Here are the top five picks we think are worth having in hand while your toes are buried in the sand.

Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America, One Step at a Time
by Jeff Speck
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2012
In a country where the “car is king” and “downtown is a place that’s easy to drive to by but often not worth arriving at”, Jeff Speck postulates that walkability is the key factor to a thriving city. In Walkable City, Speck delves into the ways in which urban planners, and dwellers, can make American cities walkable and great again. Read AIA Pittsburgh member David Roth’s review of the book here.

Urban Alchemy: Restoring Joy in America’s Sorted-Out Cities
by Mindy Thompson Fullilove
New Village Press, 2013
“What if divided neighborhoods were causing public health problems? What if a new approach to planning and design could tackle both the built environment and collective well-being at the same time?” Those are some of the questions at the core of Urban Alchemy, explored by Dr. Mindy Thompson Fullilove, with guidance from Pittsburgh’s very own Rothschild Doyno Collaborative.


The Nature Principle: Reconnecting with Life in a Virtual Age
by Richard Louv
Algonquin Books, 2012
Written to challenge you to “rethink the way we live” and investigate how to strengthen human bonds, Richard Louv and The Nature Principle suggests reconceiving environmentalism and sustainability to “evolve into a larger movement that will touch every part of society”.

Allegheny City: A History of Pittsburgh’s North Side
by Dan Rooney and Carol Peterson
University of Pittsburgh Press, 2013
Once the third largest city in Pennsylvania, Allegheny City has a long history filled with cultural, industrial, and architectural achievements. Long-time North Side resident Dan Rooney and local historian Carol Peterson have come together to tell the tale of this remarkable place, past to present, and how it has played a role as an industrial city and now as an important part of the city of Pittsburgh.

The Pause Principle: Step Back to Lead Forward
by Kevin Cashman
Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2012
We live in an increasingly complex and fast-paced world, in which technology has made it such that everything is at our fingertips, including decision-making. The Pause Principle acknowledges that today’s leaders must act more quickly, but also must “pause more deeply”. This leadership guide presents the idea of stepping back in order to better lead forward, developing personal leadership skills, development of others, and fostering a culture of innovation.

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