As Mayor of Santa Monica and a
member of the Metro Board, the life
of cities, the success of cities, and
the livability of cities are on my
mind—especially as I move around
our region. My interests lie in urban
planning, social policy and travel.
The books I'm reading reflect that.
ON MY NIGHTSTAND
SMART PEOPLE SHOULD
BY ANDREW YANG
Author Andrew Yang started Venture for
America, an organization with a mission to revitalize American cities through
entrepreneurship. His idea is to focus
America’s smart young people on jobs in
innovative companies that are taking on
the challenge of addressing areas in crisis.
The solution is focusing on problems such as education, energy,
and transportation, as well as helping legacy cities and communities that have experienced decline and disinvestment. The
“building things” part is about enabling these smart folks to
establish companies that innovate and create value while solving problems.
CITIES FOR PEOPLE
BY JAN GEHL
I recently bought this book at a confer-
ence on cities in Denver. This is not some
dense book on urban planning, but an
accessible journey that outlines those
things that make cities great places and
sustainable places for living. Replete with
colorful photographs, perhaps my favor-
ite chapter is about how people use the
public spaces in cities, the value of a well-placed bench in a park
or boulevard—which are the outdoor living rooms of a commu-
nity. As Gehl observes, city spaces have served as meeting places
for humans for centuries, and today more people are living in
cities than ever before.
KYOTO CITY OF ZEN: VISITING
THE HERITAGE SITES OF
JAPAN’S ANCIENT CAPITAL
BY JUDITH CLANCY
I will be traveling to Japan in a few
months to visit our Sister City of
Fujinomiya at the base of the magnificent and sacred Mount Fuji.
While there, I also plan to visit the
ancient city of Kyoto. This book covers much territory—
featuring the gardens, shrines and spiritual places, to information
about foods, arts and crafts, ceremonies and the architecture of
this fascinating city. I am a garden fan and am working out my
own special garden tour. I will be supplementing the book with
the Lonely Planet Kyoto guide on my smartphone to help with
the practical aspects of traversing the city.
For nearly two decades, Mayor Pam O’Connor has championed policies and partnerships
that enhance community, livability, and wellbeing. She is particularly interested in issues
that advance mobility, transportation, and sustainability. Mayor O’Connor views community
wellbeing as the natural next step in the evolution of local government, as well as a way to
advance the connection between mobility and sustainability by looking at the their impact
through the lens of human flourishing. smgov.net