Sustainability in the built environment (reading list)

Academics talk about having areas of “expertise,” which sounds like bragging until you get used to it. I’m trying to stick with “specialty” instead because if there’s one thing I learn the more I learn, it’s that I’m far from an expert in anything. Anyway, the closest thing I have to expertise a specialty is sustainability in the built environment. Here is my top 10 list of books on this topic, which I think is quite important. In the U.S. alone, we spend hundreds of billions of dollars annually building and retrofitting our built environment, which contributes directly to over 70% of our energy use and climate changing emissions. What’s more, present day decisions about our built environment do a lot to determine future energy use and climate change. 

Alex Steffen’s Carbon Zero: Imagining Cities That Can Save the Planet is at the top of my list. I think it strikes just the right balance between the urgency for serious action and description of what these actions should be, or already are. Steffen’s book is also unique in painting an inspiring picture of  what this better future could look like.

Check out my previously posted top-10 reading lists on other topics:

We’re all teachers

Way more fun than academic journal articles

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