Skip to content

Our Fall Reading List

We share our favourite city-building books to start this fall

Books stacked in a library

Published on September 14, 2019

Fall is upon us. Now is a great time to stock your shelves with some new reads. Here are five books that have us thinking about cities.

Perfect City: An Urban Fixer's Global Search for Magic in the Modern Metropolis by Joe BerridgePerfect City: An Urban Fixer's Global Search for Magic in the Modern Metropolis
by Joe Berridge

This is a reflective book by a leading international urban planner, Joe Berridge. It’s a lovely walk through the winding streets of his experiences in the world. A reflection as an active participant in city building, and as an observer at street level among some of our most important cities – New York, Singapore, London, Sydney and Toronto, among others. Many of the ideas expressed are designed to help inform Toronto specifically, but the ideas are substantially universal and well worth reading.

From the Ashes: My Story of Being Métis, Homeless, and Finding My Way by Jesse ThistleFrom the Ashes: My Story of Being Métis, Homeless, and Finding My Way
by Jesse Thistle

A truly remarkable story about Jesse Thistle's life experience as a Métis-Cree man overcoming trauma and addiction. It is a heart-warming story about hope and resilience. From the Ashes is an important read as we collectively learn more about impacts of racism and how we can heal the past.

invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men by Caroline Criado-PérezInvisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men
by Caroline Criado-Pérez

This book highlights a hidden gender bias in society in what Criado-Pérez calls the “one-size-fits-men” approach, including seat belts, a doctor's office and much more. This long list of problems could become much worse as AI and machine-learning grow around the world with algorithms that reinforce many long-standing gender biases. Unless we take positive steps to correct the bias, she argues, inequality will automatically continue. This book changed the way we saw the world and so many elements we took for granted.

palaces for the People: How Social Infrastructure Can Help Fight Inequality, Polarization, and the Decline of Civic Life by Eric KlinenbergPalaces for the People: How Social Infrastructure Can Help Fight Inequality, Polarization, and the Decline of Civic Life
by Eric Klinenberg

In Palaces for the People, Eric Klinenberg asserts the value of civic commons as the spaces that connects us and adds to the social fabric of a community. This social capital makes great communities really work. This is the soft infrastructure of cities that most leaders forget about but that we must pay more attention to in the years ahead if we want to build cities of the future that flourish. You can hear more from Eric on Turning Spaces into Places as part of the TD Future Cities Speaker Series in September. Watch here.

Streetfight: Handbook for an Urban Revolution by Janette Sadik-Khan and Seth SolomonStreetfight: Handbook for an Urban Revolution
by Janette Sadik-Khan and Seth Solomon

Janette Sadik-Khan was the brilliant Transportation Commissioner of New York City for over six years and led some of the most profound changes to city streets we have seen in decades. Janette begain her work with important questions such as: Are neighbourhood roads for the benefit of people driving through, or for the people who live there? Is the mark of a successful street the number of cars it can handle, and how quickly they move, or the strength of the economic activity lining it? Her answers have changed the way life unfolds in New York City and her work is being replicated around the world. This book explores her exigence leading change, in a way that is helpful for all of us.