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Neighborhood Renewal
Photo: Joseph Zlomek
Reinvent existing neighborhoods—what a concept! Whether urban or suburban, neighborhoods can become places where there are strong connections with people, local traditions, and nature. “Superbia! 31 Ways to Create Sustainable Neighborhoods” moves from theory to practical steps of implementation. This is a book for those who want to increase the sense of community where they live.

In the Introduction, authors Dan Chiras and Dave Wann outline their vision, “We believe most neighborhoods have the raw ingredients and resources to become sustainable, resilient, and healthy. We want to help make the transition happen because the potential economic, environmental and social benefits are huge! But it won’t happen automatically—it will take cooperation, vision, and strategy. The truth is, many neighborhoods are currently programmed for dysfunction.”

Menu of Ideas

Chiras and Wann share a variety of ideas ranging from remodeling a community’s physical attributes to a menu of ideas for bonding people together. Easy first steps include starting a community news sheet, planning gatherings where people eat and talk, organize work bees, and find ways to encourage discussion. Ideas for conservation include activities such as creating shared gardens (and composting centers), starting a food coop, organizing carpools, and promoting adoption of more energy efficient appliances. Every page with a suggested action has a sidebar that details the benefits of that particular idea. The most radical ideas expand the reader’s perspective, possibly fostering new ideas.

In this volume, New Society Publishers (NSP) has joined with “Mother Earth News” to provide “a book for wise living.” NSP expresses its mission “to publish books that contribute in fundamental ways to building an ecologically sustainable and just society, and to do so with the least possible impact on the environment, in a manner that models this vision.” It is reassuring to find out that the publisher follows its vision with action. Printed on acid-free paper that is 100% recycled and processed chlorine free, this book is printed with vegetable based, low VOC inks.

ISBN:  0-86571-490-8

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