Choice Reviews Planet of Cities

+ Brandon Fuller

The recent issue of Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries  includes a brief review of Solly Angel’s book, Planet of Cities.

Replete with scores of color photographs, maps, graphs, and other images, this volume brings new life to the tried and true ecological view of cities. Angel (Lincoln Institute of Land Policy) presents propositions about optimal urban development, asserting that cities must plan for housing, transportation, and public works in order to cope with inevitable urban growth, but he also suggests that there is such a thing as too much planning as well as too little. After summarizing the history of world urbanization and the emergence of a global hierarchy of cities, Angel presents ecological patterns accompanying urban expansion in a comprehensive sample of over 3,000 cities around the world, with more intensive study of smaller sub-samples. He explores classical concepts and measures of urban ecological research, including the size/rank rule for city distributions, central place theory, and the like, with new insights provided by the global scale of the data analysis. The author spends a good deal of time analyzing patterns of population density but does not include the recent innovation of population-weighted density calculations, which would have offered yet another angle of vision on the world’s cities. Summing Up: Recommended. All levels/libraries. — E. Carlson, Florida State University

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