Design library: Game changers and curious gardens

Doggerel is always on the lookout for good books. This installment of Design Library features selections that explore the multitude of perspectives that can emerge from a singular context.


From Paul Simpson, a business information coordinator in our London office:

On Looking: A Walker’s Guide to the Art of Observation
By Alexandra Horowitz

If you think you know your neighborhood, read this book and change your mind. The author walks the same city block with companions who each have a different perspective (e.g., typography, geology, insect life, soundscape), revealing how much there is to see and experience in an urban environment — and how much most of us are missing.


From Michael Amabile, a transportation planner in our New York office:

European Fields: The Landscape of Lower League Football
By Hans van der Meer

Although Doggerel has already featured a book about soccer, I would propose Hans van der Meer’s European Fields: The Landscape of Lower League Football. There is no doubt that the sport is a major part of the culture of each of these countries. The photos represent something that is equally and simultaneously unique and universal, from the base of the Swiss Alps to the Spanish seaside to French vineyards. The landscapes change dramatically with each new location, but the similarities — the shape and dimension of the fields, the white lines and rectangular goals with nets — remind the viewer of the shared love of a game that unites communities in a part of the world that was so divided for centuries.

The Curious Garden
By Peter Brown

As an urban transportation planner raising kids in New York City, I have plenty of exciting projects and developments to share with them: new train stations, massive bridge and tunnel projects, new lanes for bikes and buses in red and green. But sharing how the concept of each of those pieces of shiny new infrastructure all started with an idea that inspired the designers and decision makers can be more of a challenge. Peter Brown’s The Curious Garden helps readers of all ages see how some ideas can plant seeds that grow into tangible structures, with the help of big thinking and lots of support from others. It shares the story of a boy who finds a small wild garden growing on an old abandoned rail line in the middle of a city with no green space. While not directly about the High Line, it has some similar themes.


We want to hear what you’re reading! Send a list of three recommended books about design, urbanism, or the built environment, along with a brief explanation of why you chose each, to, and you’ll be entered in a quarterly drawing for a $50 gift certificate to the Strand. Winners will be notified by email.


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