Proposed cities do more with less

Sustainable Communities: A New Design Synthesis for Cities, Suburbs and Towns, edited by Sim Van der Ryn and Peter Calthorpe. San Francisco: Sierra Club Books. 238 pp. $25. Illustrated. The basic assumptions of this book are not of affluence and expansion, but of pollution, limits to land and water, rising costs of capital and time, and a search for human identity.

As the United States and the world shift to an information economy, a new design emphasis is deemed necessary: doing more with less, while working toward long-term social and ecological health.

The central, idealized vision here is that existing communities can be revised over the next 20 years into places that vastly reduce their dependence on fossil fuel, while increasing community self-reliance and livability.

Essays discuss land-use patterns ``as if people mattered,'' the necessary synthesis of architecture and biology, metropolitan food systems, new and better possibilities for transportation, and a history of 20th-century new towns.

Michael Marien edits Future Survey, published monthly by the World Future Society, Bethesda, Md.

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