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Making Plans

Making Plans
How to Engage with Landscape, Design, and the Urban Environment

This frank, first-person account of developing plans for the city of Austin and the University of Texas campus offers a practical primer on community and regional planning by one of the leading experts in the field.

Series: Roger Fullington Endowment in Architecture

February 2018
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208 pages | 6.5 x 9 | 13 color and 1 b&w photos, 1 color illus., 19 color maps, 3 color charts/graphs |

“Community and regional planning involve thinking ahead and formally envisioning the future for ourselves and others,” according to Frederick R. Steiner. “Improved plans can lead to healthier, safer, and more beautiful places to live for us and other species. We can also plan for places that are more just and more profitable. Plans can help us not only to sustain what we value but also to transcend sustainability by creating truly regenerative communities, that is, places with the capacity to restore, renew, and revitalize their own sources of energy and materials.”

In Making Plans, Steiner offers a primer on the planning process through a lively, firsthand account of developing plans for the city of Austin and the University of Texas campus. As dean of the UT School of Architecture, Steiner served on planning committees that addressed the future growth of the city and the university, growth that inevitably overlapped because of UT’s central location in Austin. As he walks readers through the planning processes, Steiner illustrates how large-scale planning requires setting goals and objectives, reading landscapes, determining best uses, designing options, selecting courses for moving forward, taking actions, and adjusting to changes. He also demonstrates that planning is an inherently political, sometimes messy, act, requiring the intelligence and ownership of the affected communities. Both wise and frank, Making Plans is an important philosophical and practical statement on planning by a leader in the field.

  • List of Illustrations and Tables
  • Introduction: A Planning Species
  • 1. Setting Goals: A Declaration of Aspiration
  • 2. Reading Landscapes: An Understanding of Human Ecology
  • 3. Determining Suitabilities: A Discovery of Opportunities and Constraints
  • 4. Designing Options: An Exploration of Preferred Futures
  • 5. Selecting a Course: A Commitment to Act
  • 6. Taking Actions: A Live Performance
  • 7. Adjusting to Change: A Road to Resilience
  • 8. Reflections: A Clearing in the Distance
  • Coda
  • Acknowledgments
  • Notes
  • References
  • Index

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Steiner is dean of the School of Design and Paley Professor at the University of Pennsylvania. He has more than four decades of planning experience throughout the world. His many books include Design for a Vulnerable Planet, also published by the University of Texas Press.


“[O]ffers a relaxed but thorough first-person view of two recent planning processes for the city of Austin and its University of Texas flagship campus, seasoned with general reflections from five decades in the field.”

“For professionals and active citizens, especially in Texas, this book will be an enjoyable, informative, and thought-provoking read. No book combines literature with practice in a case study format the way this one does.”
Arthur C. Nelson, University of Arizona, coauthor of Megapolitan America: A New Vision for Understanding America’s Metropolitan Geography


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This book may also be available on the following library platforms; check with your local library:
3M Cloud Library/bibliotheca