A guide to city planning

Haven’t written in a while so let’s start with this one; a simple book review.

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Happy City by Charles Montgomery

So let’s start with why this book is a must read for all town and city developers in Malaysia along with the citizens living in them.

Firstly, it explains how urban planning impacts peoples lives. It is necessary to point out that it argues about the need (or lack of need) for highways but more focus on public transport.

It also talks about how buildings are built, designed and how it impacts the people around it and those who live in it. Furthermore, it talks of the need to review our dependence on cars and roads, and instead look to walking, cycling and even streetcars and buses.

From a government’s standpoint, Happy City talks of how development codes, zoning laws and the likes by local councils could be standing in the way of making a city liveable. It also speaks of how public funding is sometimes necessary in the expansion of good transportation plans.

There is also a mention on how mixed developments are the future and generates income through better taxes, and this would benefit both Kuala Lumpur and even Penang – in fact, Penang may have read this book better.

Lowering the number of parking lots, converting entire streets into parks, getting people to walk, making housing affordable and also designed to encourage interaction which subsequently betters public health.

Happy City is a book that details how to build utopia, and what people need to understand in order to live in it.

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