Well Worth Reading: BUILDING COMMUNITY by Gordon Harris
My friend Gordon Harris has achieved what I will teasingly say is a near-impossible feat. With some help from Richard Littlemore he has written an engaging and interesting book about urban planning!
Now there’s a sentence you don’t see very often.
Urban planning books tend to be just like those healthy cookies they sell in vitamin stores. They taste like sawdust, rendering them very good for you but absolutely no fun to consume.
This book is focused on Gordon’s time as CEO of the UniverCity project at Simon Fraser University, building one of the most sustainable communities on the planet.
He avoids telling us all about how smart they all were, which would have been easy, because they were all very smart about how they did this work. Instead he spends his time talking about the various component parts of the process, and what he learned. Without much of a stretch, these are many of the same topics that any large scale project should be paying attention to….from the value of making good deals, to how vital the choice of partners must be, and so on.
So yes, this is a book about building community, but it’s moreover a book about a remarkable job well done on a project with a million moving parts, that many said was impossible to complete.
We all can learn some incredibly useful things from this short tome. Moreover, I think we will all learn some incredibly important ways of thinking about things, regardless of what you do and what industry you do it in.