What We Are Reading Today: Changing Places

Updated 03 November 2019

What We Are Reading Today: Changing Places

Authors: John MacDonald, Charles Branas, and Robert Stokes

The design of every aspect of the urban landscape —from streets and sidewalks to green spaces, mass transit, and housing — fundamentally influences the health and safety of the communities who live there. It can affect people’s stress levels and determine whether they walk or drive, the quality of the air they breathe, and how free they are from crime. Changing Places provides a compelling look at the new science and art of urban planning, showing how scientists, planners, and citizens can work together to reshape city life in measurably positive ways, says a review on the Princeton University Press website.
Drawing on the latest research in city planning, economics, criminology, public health, and other fields, Changing Places demonstrates how well-designed changes to place can significantly improve the well-being of large groups of people.
The book argues that there is a disconnect between those who implement place-based changes, such as planners and developers, and the urban scientists who are now able to rigorously evaluate these changes through testing and experimentation.


What We Are Reading Today: The Politics of Pain

Updated 11 November 2019

What We Are Reading Today: The Politics of Pain

Author: Fintan O’Toole

This is a book about the UK exiting from Brexit. “England’s recent lurch to the right appears to be but one example of the nationalist wave sweeping across the world, yet as acclaimed Irish critic Fintan O’Toole suggests in The Politics of Pain, it is, in reality, a phenomenon rooted in the second World War,” said a review in goodreads.com.
“After the war the UK did not end up as good as they wanted to be. So they were in the European Nation but in 2016 they decided to leave it. They were seeking a new national destiny to shape a new political life and England wanted to be reborn in a new unity that was not with Europe. However, the author does not think their plan went exactly the way they wanted it go,” said the review.
O’Toole is a columnist, assistant editor and drama critic for The Irish Times.
He is a literary critic, historical writer and political commentator, with generally left-wing views. He was and continues to be a strong critic of corruption in Irish politics.