The Top Urban Planning Books of 2021

My list

New-York-Lion-Pandemic

We've arrived at the end of another pandemic year. While 2020 was full of apprehension and uncertainty, 2021 seems more likely to come to be defined by hope giving way to disappointment. But the world is still waiting to discover the long-term effects of the pandemic, and with so much focus currently on the global supply chain, gas prices, and endemicity (rather than herd immunity), many of the worst fears of spring 2020 still seem in play.

Still to come also, it seems, is a definitive text about the pandemic and its effects on the field of planning. In the books that follow, we see the pandemic mentioned in forewords and afterwords, or sprinkled in here and there, but if you’re looking for ambitious non-fiction to help wrap your head around the consequences of this unfolding moment in history, you’ll probably still need to reference books that predate the novel Coronavirus—The Great Influenza by John M. Barry and A Paradise Built in Hell by Rebecca Solnit come to mind. Eventually this pandemic will be endemic, and many books will emerge with the brilliant planning analysis we’ve all craved for nearly 21 months now. Those books will require more patience, just like so much else of the experience of surviving COVID-19.

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