New Urbanism book club meets in Lansing

An unusual book club dedicated to new urbanism meets each month in Lansing Michigan and discusses books that explore designing and creating a livable city where sprawl is reduced, density of living space increased and walking and biking promoted through design.

According to one of the group’s organizers, Lansing Architect Amanda Harrell-Seyburn, the book club, now in its seventh month, is diversifying the participants which at the start was predominately planners and architects. Seyburn writes a weekly column for Lansing City Pulse which you can read here. Shown at left is the Lansing skyline shot by Lansing developer Carl Hausmann in 1949.

“We are building a more diverse group of people who care about the community she told me recently.”

The group has read and discussed a variety of books including, “Sprawl: A Compact History” to “The Devil in the White City” “How Buildings Learn” and ”Green Metropolis: Why Living Smaller, Living Closer, and Driving Less are the Keys to Sustainability.”

The group meets the fourth Thursday of the month at 5:30 p.m. (discussion starts at 6 p.m.) at The Soup Spoon Café at Michigan Avenue and Clifford Street.  This month on Thursday, January 27 the group will return to the early roots of new urbanism and discuss the landmark book “The Death & Life of Great American Cities” by Jane Jacobs. On Thursday, February 24, the group will discuss a classic follow-up book “the Naked City: Death & Life of Authentic Urban Places” by Sharon Zukin. Read more about Jane Jacobs here.

 For more information on the Book Club e-mail harrellseyburn@yahoo.com

 New Urbanist designers place a high importance on cities which are compact, conserve energy and promote historic preservation.

Read more about new urbanism here. After decades of false starts and one-way streets headed out of town, Lansing Michigan has reinvigorated much of its downtown by applying new urbanism principles.

Bill Castanier has been an award-wining weekly newspaper editor, advertising and public relations executive in his 40 year career. In addition, he has been an executive with a newspaper trade association and founded Michigan’s first technology association, I-TE@M. He writes a weekly newspaper feature on Michigan authors and is on the Board of the Kerrytown BookFest and the Michigan Notable Book Awards. He has the only daily blog on Michigan literature (Mittenlit) and founded Spartanpodcast.com.

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