We Recommend


Interested in Civil Society books? Check out the #OnUrbanism Book List as part of #OnCivilSociety with fascinating titles that will change the way you think about our urban society.

Harris, Richard, 1952-
This book provides a crucial backstory to Toronto before the post-war suburban boom, particularly looking at worker-built housing on the fringes of the city. It explains why some of heterogeneous jumbles of Toronto's neighbourhoods look the way they do today, and how a lack of planning created subsequent problems.
Sewell, John, 1940-
Sewell invaluable research into Toronto's postwar history explains how it evolved after the war, with a dense core surrounded by a variety of planned suburban styles. He also delves into some of the major political battles like the Spadina Expressway and public resistance to plans that did not work, part of Toronto's long history of civic activism.
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Jacobs, Jane, 1916-2006.
Though her first book, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, is her most widely-read and famous book, her final, 2004 book provides a sense of where she would have gone had she lived even longer, like coming around to admiring the suburbs (or least some aspects of them). In it she also follows trends that, if not corrected, could lead to something that looks like the Trump era today. She was prescient.
Elkin, Lauren, author.
The "flâneur" has long been an interesting wandering character to inhabit while exploring cities, especially for writers. However, it has overwhelmingly been a male practice and perspective. Here Elkin explores how women have walked the city and adds a new, needed, dimension to flâneurie.
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Calvino, Italo, author.
Cities are not built by rational plans alone; they're also dreamy places created by thousands, perhaps millions, of dreamers. Calvino's famous book is a romantic meditation on what cities mean to us emotionally, and how they exist in our imaginations as much as they are physical places we can walk.
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