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A Country Of Cities - Transit Oriented Urban Density

We had the opportunity to sit in on a talk by Vishaan Chakrabarti on the nature of cities, transit-oriented urban density, and the impact of cities on our quality of life and the planet’s ecological health. He gave a TED Talk on similar themes in 2018, which we’ve embedded below. Notably, Chakrabarti points out that developing high density living areas should not be the work of homogeneity, producing cities that all look and function the same. The architectural stories of cities needs to communicate a sense of place and create opportunities for community building at every street corner, stairwell, and park. He wrote a book in 2012 called “A Country OF Cities” that is still just as relevant today as it was then, and to which we’ll link and share a few choice quotes from below. His perspective is an important one and worth exploring.

There's a creeping sameness in many of our newest urban buildings and streetscapes, says architect Vishaan Chakrabarti. And this physical homogeneity -- the result of regulations, mass production, safety issues and cost considerations, among other factors -- has blanketed our planet in a social and psychological homogeneity, too.

A Country Of Cities

Vishaan Chakrabarti · Architect, author  Vishaan Chakrabarti's book, "A Country of Cities: A Manifesto for an Urban America," makes the case that a more urban USA would result in a more prosperous, sustainable, joyous and socially mobile nation.

Vishaan Chakrabarti · Architect, author

Vishaan Chakrabarti's book, "A Country of Cities: A Manifesto for an Urban America," makes the case that a more urban USA would result in a more prosperous, sustainable, joyous and socially mobile nation.

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Quotes From The Book

While the same tired debates define our political rhetoric, do we consider whether our profligate use of land is the primary culprit behind our vexing national malaise?
— Vishaan Chakrabarti, "A Country of Cities: A Manifesto for an Urban America,"

Driving across the country is a joy; driving to work is folly.
— Vishaan Chakrabarti, "A Country of Cities: A Manifesto for an Urban America,"

Most of what concerned middle-class Americans about the health and safety of city life has all but dissipated with the dawn of the new century.
— Vishaan Chakrabarti, "A Country of Cities: A Manifesto for an Urban America,"

Proponents of passenger rail are continually pressed to prove profitability, while few ask whether airlines or auto companies would be profitable without massive government subsidies and bailouts.
— Vishaan Chakrabarti, "A Country of Cities: A Manifesto for an Urban America,"
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