What We Read in 2018


We find inspiration, motivation, and information from all over. When it comes to books we, perhaps surprisingly, do not usually read many straight urban planning or design works (beyond the Jane Jacobsy classics, of course). City and neighborhood building is simultaneously about the details and about being a generalist, seeing the connections between apparently disparate dots. This year, there are a number of books that we recommend to pick up over the holidays to get you energized for the new year:


Louis Hyman provides a historic look at the changing nature of work, the work place, and our relationship to both.

Color of Law

Richard Rothstein uncovers the institutional racism that motivates (still) our zoning regulations and outlines recommendations for positive change.

Dream Hoarders

Richard Reeves examines how our modern institutions are restricting access to the American dream and describes what we can do about it.


Elly Blue describes point for point how bike infrastructure can improve local economies.

Hillbilly Elegy

JD Vance recounts his first-hand observations of Appalachian life in America’s Rust Belt.


Sam Quinones weaves the story of how big pharma, economic isolation, and drug trafficking entrepreneurship coincided to create the largest drug crisis in American history.

Palaces for People

Eric Klinenberg uses his groundbreaking research to demonstrate the critical role of third places, public spaces, and other common social infrastructure.

Boom Town

Sam Anderson tells the bizarre and fascinating story of how Oklahoma City was founded and its growth over the last 150 years through a variety of topics ranging from basketball to civics to meteorology.

For most of these books, you can find our notes and page captures in our YARD Resource Library.