Best Books of 2010

While we don’t have ten best books this year, here are five worth exploring or perhaps giving as presents to your favorite designer or built environment policy wonk:

1) Stickwork by Patrick Dougherty. Princeton Architectural Press, New York, 2010
From the book: “Stickwork, the artist’s first monograph, features 38 of his dynamic works that walk a fine line between architecture, landscape, and art – tangles of twigs and branches transformed into something unexpected and wild, elegant and artful, and often humorous.” (see earlier post on Dougherty’s work)

2) Urban Green: Innovative Parks for Resurgent Cities by Peter Harnik, Director, Center for City Park Excellence, Trust for Public Land. Island Press, 2010
From a review by Edward T. McMahon, Charles E. Fraser Chair for Sustainable Development and Environmental Policy, Urban Land Institute: “Urban Green is part reference manual, part guidebook and part inspiration. It provides an unprecedented look at the re-greening of urban America. From rail trails to rooftops to landfills, Peter Harnik shows us how to find and fund green spaces for the next century.” (see earlier post on Harnik’s book)

3) Biophilic Cities: Integrating Nature into Urban Design and Planning by Timothy Beatley, Teresa Heinz Professor of Sustainable Communities, University of Virginia. Island Press, 2010
From a review by Stephen Kellert, Professor Emeritus and Senior Research Scholar, Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies: “This outstanding and important book provides inspiration and practical guidance for addressing the basic human need for nature in a rapidly urbanizing world, authored by one of the great authorities on harmonizing nature and humanity in cities today.”

4) The Ecology of Commerce Revised Edition: A Declaration of Sustainability by Paul Hawken. Harper Paperbacks, 2010
From a review by Publishers Weekly: “Calling for a restorative economy, Hawken proposes rational, achievable goals: stop ‘accelerating the rate that we draw down capacity’; refrain from ‘buying or degrading other people’s environment’; and avoid displacing ‘other species by taking over their habitats.’ This noteworthy study should kindle debates within the business community.”

5) The Climate Fix: What Scientists and Politicians Won’t Tell You About Global Warming by Roger Pielke Jr. Basic Books, 2010 
From a review by Publishers Weekly: “Pielke presents a smart and hard-nosed analysis of the politics and science of climate change and proposes a commonsense approach to climate policy. According to Pielke, the iron law of climate policy dictates that whenever environmental and economic objectives are placed in opposition to each other, economics always wins. Climate policies must be made compatible with economic growth as a precondition for their success, he writes, and because the world will need more energy in the future, an oblique approach supporting causes, such as developing affordable alternative energy sources rather than consequences, such as controversial schemes like cap-and-trade, is more likely to succeed.”

In addition, check out a few more best books of the year lists:

Planetizen‘s top 10 urban planning books, The Guardian’s top 10 graphic design books, and ArchNewsNow‘s top 10 architecture books.

Lastly, these plates of the world’s great cities by Not Neutral aren’t books, but they make great presents. And if you really have money to spend, check out Edward Tufte’s fine art prints created from his well-known books on information design.

Image credit: Stickwork, Patrick Dougherty

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