Better by Design? Architecture, Urban Planning, and the Good City

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Virginia Tech Publishing


The design professions—architecture, city planning, landscape architecture, and urban design—share a great deal in terms of intellectual antecedents, professional ideals, and praxis. In particular, they share a commitment to creating better cities—whether at the scale of buildings, neighborhoods, or city-regions. But who decides what constitutes a “good” city, and how should such an ideal be implemented?

In Better by Design? Paul Knox explores the intellectual roots of the design professions, showing how architects, planners, and other designers have traditionally interpreted their roles and implemented their ideas in cities across North America and the UK. Drawing on his long record of research and award-winning publications on the social production of the built environment, Knox offers a critical appraisal of their ultimate effectiveness in achieving the goal of creating and sustaining good cities.



City planning, Cities, Design, Urban planning, Architecture, Architecture and society


Knox, Paul L. Better by Design?: Architecture, Urban Planning, and the Good City. Blacksburg: Virginia Tech Publishing, 2020. DOI: