Darrin Nordahl

Making Transit FUN!

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Why do people in Stockholm prefer to take the stairs over the escalator? Why do Londoners enjoy hanging out at bus stops? How to carmakers convince us to buy gas-guzzling, environmentally damaging, wallet-draining machines? It's called the fun theory. What Darrin Nordahl illustrates in this delightful book is that transit can be just as inviting, exciting, and even seductive as the automobile, if designed with the passenger experience in mind.

Throughout the world, creative campaigns, appurtenances, and circulators are being devised to woo the entrenched motorist. The common denominator in each of these strategies is a single, positive emotion: joy. In Making Transit FUN!, Nordahl shows that with the help of architects, urban designers, graphic artists, industrial engineers, marketing experts--and even fashion designers--we can steer people away from their automobiles and toward healthier, more sustainable methods of transportation.  

Each chapter demonstrates how the transit stigma can be overcome with innovative design. From the aesthetics of buses to separated bike lanes and pedestrian-priority streets, Nordahl showcases examples from around the world that excite the heart and bring an easy smile.

PRAISE

[Nordahl] might just get motorists thinking that they are missing out on something fun by driving.

Kelly Nelson
 - 

Carbusters

Nordahl's books is a reminder that transit has only lost when it aims low. We should always be looking for joy, even on the bus.

Sarah Goodyear
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The Atlantic Cities

[This] potent new e-book, Making Transit FUN!, has all the enthusiasm for buses, trains, and bike lanes that its title's exclamation point implies. Can transit incorporate art? Yes! How about playground equipment? You bet. Even...sex? Oh yeah baby.

Scott Carlson
 - 

Grist

Public Produce

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Public Produce makes a uniquely contemporary case not for central government intervention, but for local government involvement in shaping food policy. In what Darrin Nordahl calls municipal agriculture, elected officials, municipal planners, local policymakers, and public space designers are turning to the abundance of land under public control (parks, plazas, streets, city squares, parking lots, as well as the grounds around libraries, schools, government offices, and even jails) to grow food.Public agencies at one time were at best indifferent about, or at worst dismissive of, food production in the city. Today, public officials recognize that food insecurity is affecting everyone, not just the inner-city poor, and that policies seeking to restructure the production and distribution of food to the tens of millions of people living in cities have immediate benefits to community-wide health and prosperity.This book profiles urban food growing efforts, illustrating that there is both a need and a desire to supplement our existing food production methods outside the city with opportunities inside the city. Each of these efforts works in concert to make fresh produce more available to the public. But each does more too: reinforcing a sense of place and building community; nourishing the needy and providing economic assistance to entrepreneurs; promoting food literacy and good health; and allowing for serendipitous sustenance. There is much to be gained, Nordahl writes, in adding a bit of agrarianism into our urbanism.

PRAISE

What Darrin Nordahl envisions in this lively book is nothing short of a revolutionary way of seeing cities, a kind of edible urbanism, in which every public space from streets to parks to rooftops is a chance to grow food and build community. This is no starry-eyed treatise but a book packed with creative ideas, compelling stories and practical advice, especially for overcoming the obstacles that will be faced in growing more food in the public realm. This is a book that will likely shape the urban agenda for years to come.

Timothy Beatley
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Teresa Heinz Professor of Sustainable Communities, University of Virginia

A thought-provoking work about the food-producing potential of urban public space, and a worthwhile read for everyone who does food policy work.

Benjamin Thomases
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Chez Panisse

This vital book shows how growing food on public land can transform our civic landscape, sprouting the seeds of biodiversity, sustainability, and community.

Alice Waters
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Chez Panisse

Public Produce gives all the reasons why growing food in cities would be good for alleviating poverty, for building communities, and for public policy. Nordahl is a visionary who shows how easily cities could promote urban agriculture to the great benefit of all concerned. This book is at the cutting edge of today’s food revolution. Read it and get your city council to sign up!

Marion Nestle
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professor of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health at New York University and author of What to Eat

My Kind of Transit

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In My Kind of Transit, Darrin Nordahl argues that like life itself, transportation isn't only about the destination, but the journey. Public transit reduces traffic and pollution, yet few of us are willing to get out of our cars and onto subways and buses. But Nordahl demonstrates that when using public transit is an enjoyable experience, tourists and commuters alike willingly hand in their keys. 

The trick is creating a system that isn't simply a poor imitation of the automobile, but offers its own pleasures and comforts. While a railway or bus will never achieve the quiet solitude of a personal car, it can provide, much like a well-designed public park, an inviting, communal space.
My Kind of Transit is an animated tour of successful transportation systems, offering smart, commonsense analysis of what makes transit fun. Nordahl draws on examples like the iconic street cars of New Orleans and the picturesque cable cars in San Francisco, illustrating that the best transit systems are uniquely tailored to their individual cities. He also describes universal principles of good transit design.  
 
Nordahl's humanistic treatment will help planners, designers, transportation professionals, and policymakers create transit systems the public actually wants to ride. And it will introduce all readers to delightful ways of getting from point A to point B.

PRAISE

"A more important book than its title would suggest, My Kind of Transit is the first volume I have come across that comprehensively considers transit in terms of those factors that actually determine whether or not people will choose to ride it. Nordahl's humane and even humanist arguments recognize and celebrate how transit, if properly designed, can be elevated in the public esteem from loser cruiser to mode of choice. With a nod to E.F. Schumacher, I think I will call it Transit as if People Mattered. Please, if your work deals in any way with planning or transportation, do us all a favor and read this book."

Jeff Speck
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co-author of Suburban Nation, The Smart Growth Manual, and former Director of Design, National Endowment for the Arts

"An important book. Transit, says Darrin Nordahl, is not medicine or punishment but open space in motion--something to cherish. Full of information, imagination, and commons sense, My Kind of Transit is the way to go."

Tony Hiss
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author of The Experience of Place

"This unique work will inspire scholars and students to research further on this essential and largely untreated topic. It will also pop up on the shelves of those urbanists who ponder wistfully on the loss of great city culture and vital urban social life and imagine the emergence of a more beautiful, more convivial, and livable urban future."

Susan Zielinski
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Urban Planner and Managing Director of Sustainable Mobility and Accessibility Research and Transformation, University of Michigan

Eating Duluth

Eating Duluth forthcoming.  Check back for updates

on publication schedule.

TEASER
Why is wild rice only found in the northern reaches of Minnesota and Wisconsin? What is it about Maine’s landscape that makes it so great for low-bush blueberries? What do Olympia oysters tell us about the relative health of Washington’s estuaries? Why do Alaskans regularly enjoy moose, reindeer, and caribou, while people in the lower-48 insist on beef, pork, and chicken? Why aren’t pawpaws, northern pecans, butternuts, shellbark hickories, prairie potatoes, and American persimmons staples in the Heartland today, even though they fed the Mississippian Indians for millennia? 
 is a paean to place and the native foods that uniquely American landscapes have birthed. But our indigenous and delectable fowl, mammals, fish, nuts, seeds, fruits, leafy greens, and tubers may provide more than gustatory delight. These once common but now forgotten foods may be the key to improved health, both for us and the environment.

My 365 Food Diet

My 365-Food Diet forthcoming.  Check back for updates

on publication schedule.

TEASER
Our diet pales in diversity to those of prehistoric hunters and gatherers. Historians believe the first inhabitants of the land we call the United States--the so-called Clovis culture--consumed some 120 distinct plant and animal species. Today, the average American is lucky to consume half that in any given year. Yet we have access to foods from all over the world. So why is our diet relatively homogeneous?

We should be able to soundly beat the Caveman at his diet. And I have taken up that challenge. This book profiles my year-long journey to consume a different food each day, and the unique people, stories, and adventures I found along the way.