And Now the Rest of the Story: Stewart Brand Promotes Urbanism, Including Slums

This could be the next must-get book for Smart Growthers, New Urbanists, and lots of us who bought into the eco-techno connection decades ago. Stewart Brand, creator of The Whole Earth Catalog and author more recently of How Buildings Learn (Penguin, 1994) – which Jane Jacobs called “a classic and probably a work of genius” – will have another big title out in the next week.

WholeEarthIt’s called Whole Earth Discipline: An Ecopragmatist Manifesto. And you know how New Urbanists love manifestos.

Brand’s new work seems capable of raising eyebrows. In fact, it hit the No. 7 spot among “12 Shocking Ideas that Will Change the World” in the October issue of Wired magazine. In the realm of not-so-shocking, at least for Smart Growth types, is Brand’s championing of cities as good for the environment. More provocative maybe are his positive views about genetic engineering and squatter shanty towns

“We made the mistake of romanticizing villages, and we won’t need to make that mistake again,” Brand told Wired. “But the main thing is not to bulldoze the slums. . . That’s where vast numbers of humans – slum dwellers – are doing urban stuff in new and amazing ways. And hell’s bells, there are a billion of them!”

— Ben Brown


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