Seven Rules for Sustainable Communities (Hardcover)

Design Strategies for the Post Carbon World

By Patrick M. Condon, Robert Yaro (Foreword by)

Island Press, 9781597266505, 216pp.

Publication Date: April 27, 2010

List Price: 65.00*
* Individual store prices may vary.


Questions of how the design of cities can respond to the challenge of climate change dominate the thoughts of urban planners and designers across the U.S. and Canada. With admirable clarity, Patrick Condon responds to these questions. He addresses  transportation, housing equity, job distribution, economic development, and ecological systems issues and synthesizes his knowledge and research into a simple-to-understand set of urban design recommendations.

No other book so clearly connects the form of our cities to their ecological, economic, and social consequences. No other book takes on this breadth of complex and contentious issues and distills them down to such convincing and practical solutions.

About the Author

Patrick M. Condon is a Professor at the University of British Columbia, affiliated with the James Taylor Chair in Landscape and Liveable Environments. He is the author of numerous books including Design Charrettes for Sustainable Communities (Island Press).

Praise For Seven Rules for Sustainable Communities: Design Strategies for the Post Carbon World

"Seven Rules for Sustainable Communities is a must-read. It is exhaustively researched and empirically grounded in the unknown or forgotten histories of real examples. Condon's manual presents a compelling and detailed vision for how cities can be transformed and contribute to planetary survival."

— Harrison Fraker, Professor of Architecture and Urban Design, University of California at Berkeley

"Seven Rules for Sustainable Communities builds on reflective practice to suggest better ways to design communities. In doing so, Professor Condon puts forth the essential building blocks for constructing the post-carbon city."

— Frederick Steiner, Dean, School of Architecture, University of Texas at Austin

"Professor Condon's deep familiarity and engagement with the Vancouver model of city-building, and many other models from across North America, lends practical credibility to this much-needed book. With clear rules and real solutions, this is the kind of book practitioners and engaged citizens need to read."

— Brent Toderian, Director of City Planning, Vancouver, British Columbia

"Seven Rules is worthy of our attention because it improves our understanding of how urban form affects greenhouse gas production. In referring to an imminent 'planetary meltdown' (p. 10), Condon sounds an alarm bell about global warming. Yet, he brings the discussion down to the level of designing individual sites, building neighborhoods, retrofitting cities, and promoting smart growth in regions. Planners who want to respond to the warning bell but have not yet deciphered exactly what can and should be done at local and regional (rather than national and global) levels will benefit greatly from Seven Rules."

"Condon's intimate understanding of his neighborhood—of how a series of different elements work together to make Kitsilano a satisfying human habitat—ogives depth and persuasiveness to his Seven Rules for Sustainable Communities, one of the best books I've read on urban planning in the era of climate change."

"Professor Condon sums up the opportunities well: 'If we change the way cities are built and retrofitted, we can prevent the blackest of the nightmare scenarios from becoming real and can create the conditions for a livable life for our children and grandchildren. It is not apocalyptic to say we can save their lives.'"

"While some of this has been said before, Condon offers a fresh take on the material. He starts with an uncompromising view of the reality and menace of climate change. His thesis is that urban areas are responsible for 80 percent of all greenhouse gases and that, therefore, fixing cities must be a priority...The shift in thinking Condon calls for is sizeable and has barely begun. 'No responsible planner, architect, landscape architect, politician, or developer,' he writes, 'can escape the moral imperative to change the way he or she does business.'"

"Professor Patrick Condon uses his impressive knowledge of urban planning and his years of research and teaching at the University of British Columbia to create a comprehensive set of rules that may help to secure our future on this planet. His rules are simple and realistic, and are supported by extensive data. Although the rules themselves are not new ideas, Condon's ability to simplify and apply them to current urban design situations is impressive and inspiring...Well-written, concise, and thorough, this should not only be a required reading for students, but should be on the shelves of every planner, developer, architect, landscape architect and engineer in the city...Condon should be highly-praised for his ability to take the world's most complex problem and outline a set of realistic, and exciting solutions."

"For Condon, climate change is a fact, not a debate, and one (along with unsustainable dependence on cars and increasingly unaffordable infrastructure maintenance costs) that demands a response. Although it's clear that he's passionate about the impact of our current lifestyle on the natural world, he makes his points with data and lessons from the field, not emotion or aesthetic critiques. Issues are framed in terms of how they affect people's lives, not in abstractions about atmospheric temperature changes. Reading this book, you can just about believe a retrofit is possible."

"A slim 166 pages, the book is rich in ideas and well-articulated arguments for those ideas. It frames the problems of our existing urban forms clearly and proposes solutions. The writing is organized and well illustrated with examples. It is very accessible to the casual reader and well suited to policy-makers, elected officials, and the public at large. This is the book to hand to elected officials to help them understand the issues and possible solutions for making their communities more sustainable...Fundamentally, Seven Rules for Sustainable Communities is about the design of cities. While it gives a comprehensive review of many strategies and techniques for achieving sustainability, its real value is the provision of an intelligent framework for integrating them into comprehensvie designs and master plans. The book sets a direction that the discipline of landscape architecture would do well to pursue as part of its research agenda."

"Seven Rules for Sustainable Communities is a compact, informative handbook to one of the most profound and intricate planning challenges of our time... Condon prescribes very specific and useful solutions ... Condon has assembled a concise, cogent plea to search for design strategies for the post-carbon world in our own backyards—as well as our streets, sidewalks, driveways, roods, houses, blocks, parks, waterways, and the planning policies we devise together to govern them"