Story and Sustainability: Planning, Practice, and Possibility for American Cities

Barbara Eckstein and James A. Throgmorton. 2003. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.

Story and Sustainability explores the role of story in planning theory and practice, with the goal of creating U.S. cities able to balance competing claims for economic growth, environmental health, and social justice. In the book, urban practitioners and scholars from fields as diverse as American studies, English, geography, history, planning, and criminal justice reflect critically on the traditional exclusionary power of storytelling and on its potential to facilitate the transformations of imagination, theory, and practice necessary to create sustainable, democratic American cities. The book begins with an editors’ introduction identifying story, sustainable U.S. cities, and democracy as the three key themes. Part I advances and refines these concepts, connects them to contemporary U.S. urban planning, and provides tools that can be used when reading and interpreting the texts in part II. Part II exemplifies, amplifies, and modifies the key themes and arguments through the presentation of eight texts: theoretical and experiential, academic and nonacademic, expository and narrative, and familiar and unfamiliar. The combined focus on story and urban sustainability makes this book a unique contribution to planning literature.

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