Grand Urban Rules

Grand Urban Rules is a tribute to the city’s will to form, manifest in its vast number of steering regimes. The book contains a total of 115 significant ingredients for the Grand Project of our contemporary metropolis. Not always positive but always powerful, these rules are the inverted, abstracted and extracted image of a city’s actual situation. Setting standards is first and foremost a cultural act. We read cities by their rules! Rules link the physical with the social city, connecting quality with quantity and latent characteristics to manifest ones. Thereby and almost unnoticed, they have become design instruments. In fact, regarding rules as tools offers a valuable (urban) design attitude – departing from an approach that wants to control everything, and moving towards a non–fatalistic form of control between freedom and coercion.

010 Publishers, Rotterdam
Graphic Design by Studio Joost Grootens
Made possible by the Netherlands Architecture Fund.

2nd Edition published December 2013.

Winner of the Urban Design Group Book Award, 2010.

Some Press—

The substantive chapters provide a lively, detailed and sometimes amusing history of zoning in the US. The book does us the great service of drawing to our attention the apparatus of rules, that invisible armature around which our cities are spun, which has rarely been the subject of such a wide-ranging examination.
(Matthew Hardy in RIBA Journal, February 2010)

Grand Urban Rules är en mycket slagkraftig bok, inte minst gäller detta de 115 kortfattade stadsbyggnadsregler som formuleras i bokens inledande kapitel.
(Johan Janssen in Arkitektur #3, 2010)

Geeft op een leesbare en onderhoudende manier inzicht in hoe regelgeving een antwoord kan geven op stedenbouwkundige vraagstukken.
(Vitale stad, February 2010)

Uitermate actueel.
(Architectenweb Magazine, #32, March 2010)

De casestudy’s bewijzen dat het boek hoe dan ook een onmisbaar naslagwerk voor elke stedenbouwkundige is.
(Robert-Jan de Kort at, 7th January 2010)

To sum up, this is a brilliant read and a book that could lead a new and much more open debate around the implications and possibilities of identity of place.
(Urbantick, March 2010)

This book does something to redress the balance, looking at rules as products of human culture and as conduits of beauty and creativity. And it’s not the dry experience you might expect.
(William Wiles, iconeye, April 2010)

Grand Urban Rules succeeds in being educational, interesting and entertaining.
(Marc Furnival, Urban Design, Issue 116, Autumn 2010)