A year after death, collected essays from acclaimed urban planner released

Hank Dittmar

Transportation and urban planning professionals in the Bay Area and around the globe mourned the death last year of transportation expert and urbanist Hank Dittmar. Now, a collection of his essays has been published.

Dittmar died  April 3, 2018, at 62 after a 30-month battle with cancer. Locally,  Dittmar made his mark at MTC in the 1980s and early 1990s before going on to increasingly visible positions in the United States and around the world.

In My Kind of City, Dittmar's selected writings have been organized into 10 sections with original introductions. His observations range on scale from local ("My Favorite Street: Seven Dials, Covent Garden, London") to national ("Post Truth Architecture in the Age of Trump") and global ("Architects are Critical to Adapting our Cities to Climate Change"). Andrés Duany writes of Dittmar in the book foreword: "He has continued to search for ways to engage place, community and history in order to avoid the tempting formalism of plans."

Dittmar’s career took him to several organizations in the U.S. and in Europe. Along the way, he served as the head of a U.S.-based foundation, a regional planner, an airport director and an outreach worker with street gangs in Chicago's inner city.

While at MTC, Dittmar spearheaded the agency's legislative advocacy, a position that put him on the front line of efforts to craft the federal Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991, which re-engineered federal transportation policy for the post-Interstate Highway System era. Known as ISTEA, the landmark bill gave metropolitan planning organizations like MTC considerable new funding and new powers to shape their urban environments.  


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