Blue Urbanism by Timothy Beatley


Blue UrbanismTitle: Blue Urbanism: Exploring Connections Between Cities and Oceans
Author: Timothy Beatley
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Science, Conservation, Non-fiction
Pace: Slow
Format: Novel
Publisher: Island Press
Year: 2014
5th sentence, 74th page: Looking down from above gives the sense that it is just another farm field or market garden.

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Blue Urbanism offers a comprehensive look at the challenges, solutions, and great potential for urban areas to integrate ocean health into their policy and planning goals. Equal parts inspiration and practical advice, it explores the question: What would it mean to live in cities designed to foster feelings of connectedness to the ocean?


I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this book and was inspired by it. I love reading conservation and science based books, but I wasn’t really certain about the premise of ‘Blue Urbanism’. However, from the first paragraph, I was completely hooked. I read it from cover to cover in two hours (at the detriment to the things I should have been doing, like study and housework…)

Beatley broke down the chapters wonderfully. They were distinctly different, but wove into one another so that you could follow his argument and point. The preface also helped to place his point in context and let you know what you were getting yourself into. It’s always nice when you can read a preface (or blurb) and say “yes, this is the book for me”.

Each chapter not only outlines Beatley’s argument, it also provides some great examples of areas across the world that are using his ideas. In chapter seven, when he is discussing the idea of citizen science in marine conservation, he discusses the Dolphin Watch program in Perth. I found this incredibly helpful. Not only are you being inspired by new ways to protect our gorgeous oceans, you also get examples of ways that this is already happening. It’s a healthy dose of optimism in an otherwise complex and very serious issue.

I really enjoyed the pace of this book and the ways in which it inspired me. I find with some science or conservation based books, they are a little dry and inaccessible to people who don’t have a writhing passion for its topic. Luckily, I generally have that desire, so it doesn’t bother me. But I would rarely recommend these books to my friends and family – they get bored a little too easily. I would easily recommend Blue Urbanism. Beatley covers the issues well, without harping on. He also shows the reader how serious the consequences can be if we don’t start employing Blue Urbanism in our coastal cities; but it’s not all doom and gloom. He has a healthy dose of hopefulness for the future and in being so sanguine about our potential, he inspires you to get off your butt and do something.

This is definitely one of the better science based books I’ve read in a long time and is definitely worth sinking your teeth into. Especially if you live near the coast.

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