I’ve posted a couple of the reviews that the book has received on Amazon here before, but I thought it might be interesting to take a look at the whole collection.
Here’s what your colleagues have said (names removed to protect the innocent!) If this piques your interest, you can get your own copy in digital or hard cover right here.
I have heard Della speak as several conferences and will always go to one of her sessions if at all possible. Now you know my bias. I have only met her at conferences though.I saw that her book had come out and I needed a book to read while traveling to a meeting. I read the book on the flight and thoroughly enjoyed it. I look at several things that are going on in my own community and I can see how it would be very useful to share this book with the new director of the Economic Development Corporation, or maybe members of the City Council. The Mayor and City Administrator could benefit from the ideas expressed here. Other City Department Directors might grasp where I am coming from if I could get them to read it. Maybe we should do a book club around this.This is not a how to book unless you are looking for a book on how to adjust your view point. Della explains why we need to make those adjustments but doesn’t try to tell us what those adjustments will be. Each community will have to determine those on their own. Her use of common language and metaphor should make it possible for those of us who are professional planners and economic developers to explain the concepts and why the change is necessary to those we work with.
If you’re passionate about making better places, especially places that have seen better days, you’re going to enjoy this book. Della’s a triple threat with experience in planning, economic development, and public engagement and the book provides valuable perspective on all three fronts. I finished feeling reconnected to the “what” that is the work, the “why” that it the purpose behind it and walked away with some new ideas on the “how” front. Most importantly, I finished feeling pretty brave and ready to tackle the hard stuff.
Most such attempts in creating a new future start on the far side of the chasm providing some vision of a shiny city on a hill, too often with no real means of crossing the span and, more often than not, no real grounded connection with this side of the chasm. This is where Della excels by taking what could be multiple complex concepts and making them not only more comprehensive, understandable and approachable but also initially, potentially addressable. It will get more complex and difficult but Della provides a good foothold to begin the ascent.
First let me get my bias out of the way. I have known Della for about 15 years and she has shaped many of my own thoughts regarding economic development in our many conversations.I found this book easy to read and more importantly an easy tool to communicate with people who may not be focused on economic development every day (i.e. politicians, city managers, other departments, community residents). You will find in this book many ideas and concepts that will challenge you to think differently and help others to think differently about your local economy.The book doesn’t sell snake oil or other one time fixes. That is the central point. One time fixes have had a poor record and in some cases cause more harm.For anyone wishing to explore a new perspective regarding economic development, or needs a tool to help communicate a shared perspective to others this book is a must read.
Economic development is the heart of urban planning–cities live & die as their economies change & adapt. Yet the soul of economic development is the unique spirit of your city. Della Rucker gives us a conversational series of essays–part blog, part extended TEDx–challenging us to look more clearly at planning & development in the trenches.