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Christmas Gift Ideas For...Planners


Andrew Kingsley

Have you used up all your good ideas for your Town Planning friends, family or colleagues? Sick of buying mugs and T-shirts? Here is our specially curated list of Christmas gifts for planning enthusiasts, both young and not so young.

Invisible Cities
Italo Calvino

What the publisher says: "In Invisible Cities, Marco Polo conjures up cities of magical times for his host, the Chinese ruler Kublai Khan, but gradually it becomes clear that he is actually describing one city: Venice."

Why we like it: It's a classic. Full of passion about a city


Dream Cities: Seven Urban Ideas that shaped the world
Wade Graham

What the publisher says: “From the acclaimed landscape designer, historian and author of American Eden, a lively, unique, and accessible cultural history of modern cities--from suburbs, downtown districts, and exurban sprawl, to shopping malls and "sustainable" developments--that allows us to view them through the planning, design, architects, and movements that inspired, created, and shaped them.”


Why we like it: It's inspiring and easy to read.


Vertical: The City from Satellites to Bunkers: The City from Satellites to Bunkers 
Stephen Graham

“A revolutionary reimagining of the cities we live in, the air above us, and what goes on in the earth beneath our feet.”

What the Publisher says: “Today we live in a world that can no longer be read as a two-dimensional map, but must now be understood as a series of vertical strata that reach from the satellites that encircle our planet to the tunnels deep within the ground. In Vertical, Stephen Graham rewrites the city at every level: how the geography of inequality, politics, and identity is determined in terms of above and below. Starting at the edge of earth’s atmosphere and, in a series of riveting studies, descending through each layer, Graham explores the world of drones, the city from the viewpoint of an aerial bomber, the design of sidewalks and the hidden depths of underground bunkers. He asks: why was Dubai built to be seen from Google Earth? How do the super-rich in São Paulo live in their penthouses far above the street? Why do London billionaires build vast subterranean basements? Vertical will make you look at the world around you anew: this is a revolution in understanding your place in the world.”

Why we like it: this book covers such a wide range of topics in fascinating detail.


Personalised OS MAP


What the company says: "Create your own unique map with OS Custom Made maps. Focus on your favourite area or create a unique gift with folded, flat or framed maps.”

Why we like it: This is such an unusual but thoughtful gift, plus you can personalise both the title and picture on your physical map.


Smart Cities, Smart Future: Showcasing Tomorrow
Mark Barlow and Cornelia Levy-Bencheton

What the publisher says:Are you curious about smart cities? You should be! By mid-century, two-thirds of us will live in cities. The world of tomorrow will be a world of cities. But will they be smart cities? Smart cities are complex blends of technologies, systems and services designed and orchestrated to help people lead productive, fulfilling safe and happy lives. This remarkable book is a window into our shared future. In crisp language and sharp detail, Mike Barlow and Cornelia L Bencheton explain how smart cities are powerful forces for positive change. With keen eyes and warm hearts, they invite readers to imagine the world of tomorrow, a fascinating world of connected cities and communities. They capture and convey the depth and richness of the worldwide smart city movement. Smart Cities, Smart Future describes the impact of smart city projects on people in towns, cities and nations around the world.”

Why we like it: It’s inspired reading and gets great reviews.



There is a drone for every budget. From top of the range, like the DJI Inspire 2 and the  DJI Phantom 4 Advanced to the more compact DJI Spark. Check out TechAdvisor’s review of the top drones for 2018.

Why we like it: You can take video of your house from above, your family, your holiday. Just remember to avoid the trees and strong winds!


Cities: Skylines XBox360

What Amazon says: “Build the city of your dreams: Plan road networks, bus lines and parks. Bring on a smog-filled industrial revolution or create a quiet beach town ideal for tourists powered by renewable energy. Bring education, healthcare and safety to your citizens. Build it your way!

What the reviewers say: “At times, Skylines is intensely satisfying, such as when solving a troublesome traffic snarl or when all the buildings in a district begin levelling up because you've provided the right combination of services and amenities. It's often soothing, like when flying the free camera around or peering down at the tiny NPCs living in your creation. It can also be terrifically tense, like when you realize your industrial zone has poisoned the groundwater of a residential area or when a power grid gets overloaded and you've got no money to add a new plant. The citizens of Skylines are pretty tolerant, but let them suffer too long and they'll abandon you in droves.” (PC Gamer)

Why we like it: This will fully test your logic and multi-tasking skills as well as being really fun.


Lonely Planet - Cities

What the publisher says: “It's a celebration of 200 of the world's most exciting urban destinations, beautifully photographed and packed with trip advice and recommendations from our experts - making it the perfect companion for any traveller deciding where to visit next

Why we like it: It’s a beautiful coffee table book and includes some more unusual cities like Tbilisi. A great read to transport you away on cold winter’s night.


Tickets to Smart City Expo World Congress
13th - 15th November 2018 Barcelona, Spain | Gran Via Venue

What the organisers say: “Billed as the leading international event on urban development, you can expect Smart City Expo World Congress to pack a punch - with smart city topics including government and finance, mobility and digital transformation. Last year witnessed a staggering 18,000 attendees, 600 exhibitors and 400 speakers.”

Why we like it: It’s in Spain!

Tickets to Smart Cities UK | 7th February 2019, London, UK

What the organisers say: “It’s the UK’s original and longest-serving smart cities event. This year the conference will be examining the importance of sustainable investment within UK cities, bringing together over 350 decision-makers to discuss the impact of Brexit and highlight how new trade links can drive prosperity, increase employment and tackle society's fundamental issues.”

Why we like it: It’s closer to home

For your aspiring town planners


In the Darkness of the Night
Emily Rand

What the publisher says: “Emily Rand’s In the Darkness of the Night takes us on a gentle journey through the night, looking at all the sounds and activity that happen whilst you’re tucked up warm in bed!

Why we like it: The images are simply beautiful. You’ll want to keep this book displayed in their bedroom for years to come.




What the publisher says: "The book, by Anouk Boisrobert and Louis Rigaud, tells the story of a single house that over time becomes the centre of an entire bustling town. The book begins with a single pop-up house at the end of a street. With every turn of a page, more buildings and streets begin surrounding the house. Eventually, a town begins to form."

Why we like it: It's very unusual and a good one for inspiring children to think about the world around them.

Next week we look for some inspirational Christmas gifts for Engineers!