New Book: Ordering the City

In discussions of the life of the city (of any city), "planning" and "neighborhood-based development" conversations take place over in this corner. "Policing" conversations generally take place over in that other, unrelated corner.

Bringing those conversations into a single dialogue is, I take it, one of the important contributions of a new book titled "Ordering the City," by Notre Dame law professor Nicole Garnett.

I haven't read the book, but I picked up a reference to it on a law professor blog that I read, and that hosted a "virtual book club" about it earlier this week. My takeaway is that the author hasn't set herself up to run a consulting practice selling big themes to cities trying to rebuild themselves, but that she has done an excellent job of capturing the fact that any given city and its problems are full of complexities and nuance.

Here's a blurb about the book, from the publisher's site:

This timely and important book highlights the multiple, often overlooked, and frequently misunderstood connections between land use and development policies and policing practices. In order to do so, the book draws upon multiple literatures—especially law, history, economics, sociology, and psychology—as well as concrete case studies to better explore how these policy arenas, generally treated as completely unrelated, intersect and conflict.

Nicole Stelle Garnett identifies different types of urban “disorder,” some that may be precursors to serious crime and social deviancy, others that may be benign or even contribute positively to urban vitality. The book’s unique approach—to analyze city policies through the lens of order and disorder—provides a clearer understanding, generally, of how cities work (and why they sometimes do not), and specifically, of what disorder is and how it affects city life.

Here are links to posts with thoughtful comments about the book:


1 Response to "New Book: Ordering the City"

Tor Hershman said... 3/25/2010 12:10 PM

Did you ever hear the parody song "Mr. Rodgers' Cemetery" by any chance?

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Pittsblog 2.0 is written by Mike Madison, a law professor at the University of Pittsburgh. Send email to michael.j.madison[at] Mike also blogs at, on law and technology. Chris Briem of Null Space drops by from time to time.

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