The idea that a city might not be walkable would never occur to anyone who lived before 1800. Over the past 200 years there have been dramatic changes to our cities. With the very best intentions, Baron George Eugène Haussmann ruthlessly transformed Paris in the mid-19th century. Its broad boulevards and grand vistas are the direct result of Haussmann’s thinking about how to adapt cities to a new age. In North America cities were “redeveloped” to accommodate the automobile and automobile-dependent suburbs. The city was no longer walkable, and in the 1960s activist-writer Jane Jacobs began to critique many of the ideas about how cities should be organized.
Taking us on walks through cities like Paris, New York, Toronto, North Vancouver and Singapore, Mary Soderstrom examines how cites have changed the lives of ordinary citizens—in positive and negative ways. Making the city walkable again is crucial. The author looks to the future and suggests ways in which we can reorganize our lives and our cities.
About the author
Mary Soderstrom is the author of five previous novels: The Violets of Usambara (2008); After Surfing Ocean Beach (2004); The Words on the Wall, (1998), Endangered Species (1995), which was a finalist for the Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction; and The Descent of Andrew McPherson (1977), a finalist for the Books in Canada First Novel Award. Her collections of short stories include Desire Lines: Stories of Love and Geography (2013), The Truth Is (2000) and Finding the Enemy (1997), which was also a finalist for the Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction. She is also the author of several works of creative non-fiction, including Green City: People, Nature and Urban Places, a Globe and Mail best book of 2007. Originally from Washington State, she grew up in San Diego before eventually moving to Montreal, which she has made home for decades.
Other titles by Mary Soderstrom
From Ancient Origins to a Problematic Future
Love and Hate between Neighbo(u)ring States
Road Through Time
The Story of Humanity on the Move
The Continuing Portuguese Adventure
The Walkable City
From Haussman’s Boulevards to Jane Jacobs' Streets and Beyond
The Violets of Usambara
People, Nature and Urban Life
After Surfing Ocean Beach
A Natural History of Botanical Gardens