As someone who writes about cities, I end up reading a lot of books about how the places we live have formed, grown, and changed. But it wasn’t until I was four-fifths of the way through a stack on my nightstand when I realized something else about the books I read about cities—nearly all of them are written by men.
After writing a story about how urbanist discourse often shuts out women’s voices, both in print and online, I put out the call for books about cities written by people who do not identify as men. The list you see here is not meant to be a definitive or complete list of the contributions of women urbanists, but a collection of essential perspectives on topics where women have much to contribute.
If you’re looking for a refreshing take on the way gender shapes our urban neighborhoods, or a comprehensive history of how inequity is engrained in our transportation systems, you’ll find it here. Enjoy, peruse our list of 101 books about cities for more women-authored titles, and share your own selections in the comments.
Naked City: The Death and Life of Authentic Urban Places by Sharon Zukin
How Women Saved the City by Daphne Spain
Radical Suburbs: Experimental Living on the Fringes of the American City by Amanda Kolson Hurley
The Global City: New York, London, Tokyo by Saskia Sassen
Bicycle/Race: Transportation, Culture, and Resistance by Adonia Lugo
A Black Urbanist by Kristen Jeffers
Our Towns: A 10,000-Mile Journey to the Heart of America by Deborah and James Fallows
The Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone by Olivia Laing
The Death and Life of Great American Cities by Jane Jacobs
Black on the Block: The Politics of Race and Class in the City by Mary Pattillo
Modern Housing for America: Policy Struggles in the New Deal Era by Gail Radford
Urban Alchemy: Restoring Joy in America’s Sorted-Out Cities by Mindy Thompson Fullilove
Streetfight: Handbook for an Urban Revolution by Janette Sadik-Khan and Seth Solomonow
Sidewalks: Conflict and Negotiation over Public Space by Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris and Renia Ehrenfeucht
Towards Cosmopolis: Planning for Multicultural Cities by Leonie Sandercock
The Just City by Susan S. Fainstein
A Neighborhood That Never Changes: Gentrification, Social Preservation, and the Search for Authenticity by Japonica Brown-Saracino
Accessible America: A History of Disability and Design by Bess Williamson
Retrofitting Suburbia: Urban Design Solutions for Redesigning Suburbs by Ellen Dunham-Jones and June Williamson
The South Side: A Portrait of Chicago and American Segregation by Natalie Moore