Summer reading from the Harvard Graduate School of Design

Fourth in our Best practices in Community Empowerment series.

Matthew Singh is a Systems Analyst at a prominent foundation in the San Francisco Bay Area, and as an AmeriCorps volunteer helped many nonprofits with technology and organizing. A grad of International Development Studies at UC Berkeley, he was accepted into Harvard University’s Masters program in Urban Planning, and chose to share these three books recommended by the faculty for summer reading:

The Death and Life of Great American Cities by Jane Jacobs – This is one of the most important books in the field of urban planning. It is an attempt to introduce new principles of city planning and rebuilding.

The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York by Robert A. Caro – This book is recommended because it shows the operation of power and political influence in the context of urban governance. One of the most acclaimed books of our time, winner of both the Pulitzer and the Francis Parkman prizes, The Power Broker tells the hidden story behind the shaping (and mis-shaping) of twentieth-century New York.

Rethinking Federal Housing Policy: How to Make Housing Plentiful and Affordable by Joseph Gyourko and Edward L. Gleaser – Despite the recent drop in house prices, housing remains unaffordable for many ordinary Americans. Edward L. Glaeser and Joseph Gyourko explain why housing is so expensive in some areas and outline a plan for making it more affordable. They propose a comprehensive overhaul of federal housing policy – a radical rethinking of policy to allow housing markets to operate freely–and to make housing affordable and plentiful for the middle class and the poor.

Next up: Christina Holt of Community Tool Box

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