One Book and Why

One Book and Why: Design School Dean Frederick Steiner Recommends . . .

June 15, 2023

In this summer installment of “One Book and Why,” Frederick Steiner, dean of the Stuart Weitzman School of Design at the University of Pennsylvania, recommends Before Central Park, an authoritative recent chronicle of two centuries of the history of New York City’s most famous work of of urban landscape design, written by the Central Park Conservancy’s historian emerita, Sara Cedar Miller.

Before Central Park by Sara Cedar Miller (Columbia University Press, 2022). 

“Why? because Miller takes a deep dive into what existed before arguably one of the greatest works of design, perhaps one of most significant works of art, was planned and realized. She explores who suffered and who benefited as a result of Central Park. She helps us realize that there are really no truly blank slates for the design of built environments.” — Frederick Steiner


By Sara Cedar Miller
Winner of the 2023 John Brinckerhoff Jackson Book Prize, UVA Center for Cultural Landscapes 
Hardcover, 624 pages, 2022
Published by Columbia University Press

Find previous installments of “One Book and Why” on Designers & Books. In this occasional series, we ask designers to recommend one book that has inspired them recently — and why it did.

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