Creating Sustainable Communities: Lessons from the Hudson River RegionBy Rik Scarce (SUNY Press Excelsior Editions, 2015) Buy It Now
Award-winning Woodstock architect Lester Walker (whose renovated ranch house is profiled in this issue) has revised and expanded his 1990s classic American Shelter, including more than a thousand detailed and graphically satisfying line drawings, elevations, and ground plans. Highlighting significant details, he offers a guided tour of more than 100 styles of American homes, ranging from Pueblo and Tipi through Dutch Colonial, New England saltboxes, the many variations of Victorian gingerbread, midcentury modern ranch houses, and more. Though Walker is even-handed in his treatment of changing styles, he devotes whole chapters to architects who redefined their era’s aesthetic. He also pays homage to eccentric structures, including roadside-attraction oddities like Lucy the Margate Elephant, in this delightful, informative guide to the places we live. SUNY Press Excelsior Editions, 2015 Skidmore College professor Rik Scarce provides an overview of “one of the most studied, storied, painted, pampered, and abused landscapes in North America.” He outlines the Hudson Valley’s “boom and bust” history from the early decimations of the beaver-pelt trade and tanning trades to the industrial pollution of pulp mills and PCB dumping, before turning his eye to its current resurgence. Scarce interviewed 62 environmentalists and “sustainability entrepreneurs” whose individual efforts are mirrored throughout the region in farm-to-table restaurants, green energy start-ups, and innovative products such as mushroom-based insulation, providing both inspiration and a larger context for the sustainability movement. He also profiles such watchdog organizations as Riverkeeper, Scenic Hudson, the Hudson River Watershed Alliance, and, of course, Pete Seeger’s Clearwater. Inspiring reading.