Further reading

Essential reads

What Makes a Successful Place?
Project for Public Spaces, 2009

With the help of the simple diagram in this article, it's possible to judge the success of any public space. Highly recommended reading.

Making Pedestrian Malls Work: Key Elements of Successful Pedestrian Malls in the US and Europe
Kai Bates, 2013

An accessible yet thorough explanation of the qualities that make pedestrian plazas/malls work. Also includes a discussion of why so many pedestrian malls failed in the US.

Places in the Making: How placemaking builds places and communities
MIT, 2013

A powerful report, with plenty of examples and visuals, explaining the principles behind placemaking: That process should be valued over product.

What Makes a Place Great?
Project for Public Spaces, 2009

This article explains the main benefits of public spaces: Identity, economic, environmental, and social and cultural.


For more suggestions, see the top 100 city-making books, according to Brent Toderian (Planetizen).

Cities for People (Link)
Jan Gehl, 2010

This book explores how to create - or recreate - cities on a human scale, based on four essential elements: Liveliness, safety, sustainability, and health.

A Pattern Language (link) and The Timeless Way of Building (link)
Christopher Alexander et al, 1977 and 1979

These highly influential works explore how our surroundings can become life-affirming places. Furthermore, anybody can create such places.

The Death and Life of Great American Cities (link)
Jane Jacobs, 1961

The book that started a new era of urban philosophy. What makes cities great places to live? Jacobs explores what makes streets safe, how neighborhoods form, and the importance of neighborhoods in the greater context of the city.


Quality Streets (introduction/conclusion sections only)
TEST, 1988

An exhaustive study of the effects of traffic-calming and pedestrianization on quality of life and the economy.