Zine 04 – Six Books and a Podcast Worth Reading and Listening To

December 11, 2020

For the fourth issue of the URBAN-X Zine, editor Andrew Small has selected six books and a podcast about roads and cities to read or listen to over the winter. We hope you enjoy them as much as we do!

The High Cost of Free Parking

by Donald Shoup

In 2005, the UCLA professor Donald Shoup’s book looked at a very niche topic, parking policy, but over time this planning classic has upended the idea that free parking was ever really free. His book demonstrated how generous parking schemes subsidized suburbs and limited space in urban cores, distilling the citywide diaspora of on-street parking spots down to how many Central Parks they could fill. Now, Shoup’s recommendations of eliminating off-street parking requirements and charge for the curb’s actual value are urbanist dogmas, and self-proclaimed “Shoupistas” now follow the territorial fights over parking spaces as the odd policy failure that they represent.

ISBN: 978-1932364965 | Support your local bookstore

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

by Angie Schmitt

Angie Schmitt’s forthcoming book on the quiet crisis of traffic fatalities unravels the many factors leading to an increase in pedestrian deaths in the United States since 2009 at the same time that vehicle crash deaths have declined. Those two divergent trends are not a coincidence, as gigantic trucks and SUVs are sold as a safer option to drivers but they make impact more deadly for people outside the car. Subsequently, the wide roads designed to accommodate those larger vehicles create riskier crossing odds for walkers, bikers, and other road users. Schmitt ties the personal stories of victims of road violence to the decisions made in neighborhood planning and road design to the racist, classist past of building infrastructure that gives the right of way to the automobile above all else.

ISBN: 978-1642830835 | Support your local bookstore

Know Your Price: Valuing Black Lives in America’s Black Cities

by Andre Perry

Brookings Institution scholar Andre Perry argues that the effort to assess racial disparities in the policy world, which centers around whiteness, has devalued the assets of Black life. Instead of comparing the outcomes of different communities against each other, Perry finds that by looking at majority-Black cities can demonstrate the intrinsic worth of Black people’s “personal strengths, real property, and traditional institutions.” Relating to his personal life, the book takes a tour of six Black-majority cities, including Perry’s hometown of Wilkinsburg, a small city east of Pittsburgh, as well as Detroit, Birmingham, New Orleans, Atlanta, and Washington, D.C., to examine how the historical effects of racism limit the possibility of Black prosperity and why the feelings of home, safety, and empowerment matter for learning from Black cities.

ISBN: 978-0815737278 | Support your local bookstore

Streetfight: Handbook for an Urban Revolution

by Janette Sadik-Khan and Seth Solomonow

As the head of the New York City Department of Transportation from 2007 to 2013, Sadik-Khan became a rock star of urban planning. Her former boss Mayor Michael Bloomberg describes her as “the child Robert Moses and Jane Jacobs never had,” where Sadik-Khan’s approach marries technocratic governance and tactical urbanism. From bikeshare to pocket parks to bus lanes, Sadik-Khan outlines the “source code” on how to usher in a new era of pedestrian- and bike- friendly cities.

ISBN: 978-0143128977 | Support your local bookstore

Bicycle/Race: Transportation, Culture, and Resistance

by Dr. Adonia Lugo

Dr. Adonia Lugo takes an anthropological approach to looking at her years of bicycle advocacy, explaining how race intersects with bicycling. Lugo describes how “human infrastructure” to explain how to center the experiences of people of color to equity and justice into safe streets advocacy. By observing phenomena like why people of color ride on the sidewalk or explaining how open streets events like CicLAvia help multiracial people learn to ride better than white male- dominated spaces like bike shops, Lugo reveals how the recent history of bike advocacy has marginalized the BIPOC voices to the movement’s detriment.

ISBN: 978-1621067641 | Support your local bookstore

Subdivided: City-Building in an Age of Hyper-Diversity

by Jay Pitter and John Lornic

This collection of essays reflects on how people sharing space are not always sharing our lives together in cities. But the old “tale of two cities” view of economic inequality doesn’t quite explain how urbanites now live separate lifestyles on the same city blocks. “Cities are a constant negotiation of distance and difference,” editor Jay Pitter writes, but she argues that “hyper-diversity,” provides a better framework to “describe the beauty, contradictions, and messiness of our lives.” Pitter argues this way of observing urban populations in socio-economic, social and ethnic terms, but also with respect to lifestyles, attitudes and activities helps to “move beyond the oversimplifications of diversity and identity politics.”

ISBN: 978-1552453322 | Support your local bookstore

The War on Cars (Podcast)

by Doug Gordon, Sarah Goodyear, and Aaron Naparstek

Streetsblog founder Aaron Naparstek, Brooklyn Spoke blogger Doug Gordon and writer Sarah Goodyear host this ironically titled but revolutionary- spirited podcast that examines the assumptions about cars in cities. With an anthropological perspective, they tackle questions that bike advocates face in nearly any city: Why do cars take up so much space? How are bike lane fights so polarized? What will it take people to give up their attachment to their cars? A good starting episode is called “It’s Zero Percent About Transportation,” which examines why a New Yorker keeps her 1987 Cadillac Deville parked as a kind of curbside living room.

ISBN: thewaroncars.org | Support your local bookstore