Book Recommendations!

Come here to talk about topics that are not related to development, or even Kansas City.
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TheLastGentleman
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Book Recommendations!

Post by TheLastGentleman » Fri Jun 21, 2019 9:31 pm

The long awaited KCRag book club is here! Book recommendations do not have to be related to Kansas City, or urbanism, or anything in particular. First try to recommend books you think the forum may enjoy though.

I'll start by recommending Devil in the White City by Erik Larson

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This nonfiction book is fantastic. It's just as much about the planning of the 1893 Chicago World's Fair as it is about the murders committed by serial killer H. H. Holmes in his hotel. It delves into the various architects who designed the fairgrounds and buildings, and shows how their personalities clashed throughout the process. As such, it is relevant to the formation of the City Beautiful movement which profoundly effected Kansas City, as well as the course of wider architecture history

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Re: Book Recommendations!

Post by FangKC » Sat Jun 22, 2019 1:49 am


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wahoowa
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Re: Book Recommendations!

Post by wahoowa » Sun Oct 20, 2019 1:13 pm

ah! i completely missed this thread!!

i am midway through the death and life of american cities by jane jacobs. it is similar to reading this board except i don't get to make pithy jokes midway through any given discussion and also nobody is bitching about glass walls or militantly campaigning on behalf of cordish's good name. i particularly enjoyed that i had gotten started on this book on a flight to new york, and then got to walk through some of the neighborhoods and parks she discussed as examples for various observations or arguments that she made (those examples were used in the 1950s, but the examples i saw still seem to hold up well even after 60+ years).

i think her discussion of parks is interesting and somewhat subversive of even contemporary thought/discussions around urban green space. it has changed how i think of the parks within a few blocks of my daily commute, and probably also how i think about proposals like green space over highways.

i have also enjoyed the shade thrown at corbusier and mumford through this part of the book and suspect there is more to come. this is still a pretty new subject matter for me, so this is one of the first books i've come across that criticizes things i've previously encountered in this field.

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Re: Book Recommendations!

Post by Rabble » Sun Oct 20, 2019 3:25 pm

A great biography of Jane Jacobs came out in 2016, called Eyes On The Street, written by Robert Kanigel. My favorite part was how she almost single-handedly kept Robert Moses from building a freeway through SoHo.

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TheLastGentleman
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Re: Book Recommendations!

Post by TheLastGentleman » Sun Oct 20, 2019 5:10 pm

I'd highly recommend this book to everyone on the forum, Kansas City and How It Grew, 1822-2011.

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Unlike many KC history books, this one explains how the city grew and changed from a geographical perspective. It describes unbuilt schemes, the makeup of the city's geology, why neighborhoods formed in different ways, and even where street names came from, among other topics, illustrating everything through clearly drawn maps. Though it was published in 2012, all the information remains relevant.

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wahoowa
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Re: Book Recommendations!

Post by wahoowa » Sun Oct 20, 2019 11:41 pm

Rabble wrote:
Sun Oct 20, 2019 3:25 pm
A great biography of Jane Jacobs came out in 2016, called Eyes On The Street, written by Robert Kanigel. My favorite part was how she almost single-handedly kept Robert Moses from building a freeway through SoHo.
hell yes, going to read that. thank you!

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TheLastGentleman
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Re: Book Recommendations!

Post by TheLastGentleman » Sun Nov 10, 2019 5:15 pm

This was originally written by Rabble in the "Would you like to see the Royals move to a downtown stadium?" thread. Crossposting it here so it doesn't get buried in the original thread.
Rabble wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 9:56 am
Just finished Paul Goldberger's new book, Ballpark. A nice history of baseball parks, from the wood structures of 19th century, through the concrete donuts of my childhood to the retros of today, and how they related to the American city. Three takeaways:
1. Goldberger is an excellent writer of both architecture and city design. His 40 year old book about Manhattan, The City Observed, is still the best book written about NYC buildings and neighborhoods. His website says an updated version coming out soon!
2. HOK, now Populous, originally wanted to pluck down a retread of Royal stadium, in downtown Baltimore, much like they did in the south side of Chicago with the new Comiskey. It was a bunch of non-architects that forced them to study the existing city, study what makes a great ballpark, and helped them design Camden Yards. I'm sure Populous is grateful for that help.
3. I've always hoped KC would avoid a downtown ballpark. The ones I've seen give their cities a George F. Babbitt-amusement park quality. But Goldberger points out that the best, Baltimore along with Cleveland, Pittsburgh and San Francisco, improve their cities by how they integrate into existing neighborhoods and their mass transit. I hope Populous designs us something on this level, but for them to do that, I believe they need a more inspired location than the east village.

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Re: Book Recommendations!

Post by moderne » Mon Nov 11, 2019 3:01 pm

A more recent recommendation published in 2018 "A River in the City of Fountains" An Environmental History of Kansas City and the Missouri River by Amahia MAllea. An understanding of the pre european river, its instrumentality in KC history,how for a century is was an open untreated sewer, how the Corp of Engineers and farm industry screwed it all up and how the river is essential to the future survival and existence of the city.l

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Re: Book Recommendations!

Post by Rabble » Mon Nov 11, 2019 4:01 pm

Ballpark was published last May.

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