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Book: Green Urbanism: Learning from European Cities, Timothy Beatley, 2000
Published by Island Press (original article)

Timothy Beatley explains what planners and local officials in the United States can learn from the sustainable cities movement in Europe. The book draws from the extensive European experience, examining the progress and policies of twenty-five of the most innovative cities in eleven European countries. Beatley focuses on the key lessons from these cities and what their experience can teach us about effectively and creatively promoting sustainable development in the United States.

Published by Island Press,

Beatley, Timothy. (2000) Green Urbanism: Lessons from European Cities. Washington, D.C.: Island Press.

Preview on Google Books.


From Timothy Beatley's bio at the University of Virginia website:

Green Urbanism: Reducing The Ecological Footprint Of Our Cities

With increasing awareness of the ecological impact of our cities, urban planners are devising ways to make communities not only less damaging to the environment, but also more sustainable and more livable. This is called "green urbanism," and one of its leading proponents is Timothy Beatley, professor of urban and environmental planning in the School of Architecture. In a recent study of European cities that have taken measures to optimize energy use, reduce dependence on automobiles, and prevent sprawl, he uncovered some valuable lessons for the United States.

In Helsinki and Vienna, hot water from power plants is piped into district heating networks, warming homes and offices. The result is more efficient use of fuel and reduced emission of greenhouse gases. In the Dutch city of Amersfoort, solar energy systems are incorporated into new residential and community buildings, including schools and recreation centers. In Delft, public buildings are constructed with solar hot water and heat recovery systems, as well as electric lighting that adjusts automatically to changes in natural illumination. In Freiburg, Germany, the heart of the urban center is accessible only to trams, pedestrians, and bicycles, and the rest of the city uses traffic calming to keep speeds below 30 kilometers per hour. This has led to fewer traffic fatalities, decreased air pollution, and a safe and pleasant pedestrian environment.

Mr. Beatley, who took fifteen graduate students abroad in June to examine models of green urbanism, notes that these approaches to planning and development enjoy strong public support in Europe. He admits it will be a challenge to make such practices equally appealing to Americans, who place a high premium on convenience and independent mobility. "We must overcome the perception that it requires great sacrifice to live in sustainable communities," he says. "There are ways we can continue to progress and flourish, and at the same time protect the natural capital that supports us."


Timothy Beatley, Associate Professor. Professor Beatley's primary teaching and research interests are in environmental planning and policy, with special emphasis on coastal and natural hazards planning, environmental values and ethics, and biodiversity conservation. He has published extensively in these areas, including several recent books: Green Urbanism: Lessons from European Cities (Island Press, 2000); Ethical Land Use (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1994); Habitat Conservation Planning (University of Texas Press, 1994); and An Introduction to Coastal Zone Management (Island Press, 1994, with David Brower and Anna Shwab), and After the Hurricane (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1977, with Phil Berke).

In recent years much of his research and writing has been focused on the subject of sustainable communities, and creative strategies by which cities and towns can fundamentally reduce their ecological footprints, while at the same time becoming more livable and equitable places. To this end, he is the recent author of The Ecology of Place (Island Press, 1997, with Kristy Manning), which reviews innovative local sustainability practice from around the country and provides practical guidance on creating more sustainable urban form, restorative local economies, and stronger communities. In the last several years, Beatley has spent much of his time researching innovative urban sustainability programs and initiatives in Europe.

Beatley holds a Ph.D. in City and Regional Planning from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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