So… You want to know what to read to become a better designer, urban planner, architect and social activist, who puts inclusion at the forefront of their work? Here are a few recommendations from our Designing Cities For All (DCFA) team, and we will add new recommendations periodically. For all you city designers that want to empower yourself (and others), let these reads guide your practice of transforming cities for the better. And guess what? You can order these books with a pretty neat discount* via our local bookstore Athenaeum!

The following books were chosen by the 1st DCFA fellow of 2023: Sarah Ichioka. These books relate to Sarah’s work and the overall theme of her fellowship: regenerative design, especially as it focuses on the design of products, services, systems and processes that lead to both social and ecological recovery and that keep the systems healthy. What promising alternative systems and regenerative practices are already emerging around the world? And who is taking the first steps towards these essential changes?

Check out the launch of DCFA Re-Generation & Sarah’s fellowship here!


Perspectives on a Global Green New Deal, this book offers a variety of perspectives on the possibility of a ‘Global Green New Deal,’ the promises of which have prompted climate activists, scholars, and policymakers in Europe and North America to imagine what this could look like in their contexts. For the so-called Global North, promises of green jobs and infrastructure will only perpetuate colonial patterns of inequality and exploitation unless these promises are rooted in principles of global justice. What would it mean for the Green New Deal to be globally fair?



Three Horizons offers a ‘simple and intuitive’ framework for thinking about the future. With this framework, author Bill Sharpe highlights how people often manage to strongly disagree not only about their visions of the future, but also on how to achieve them. The 3 horizons offer a co-ordinated way of managing innovation, a way of creating transformational change that has a chance of succeeding, a way of dealing with uncertainty and a way of seeing the future in the present. So, what Sharpe aims to offer overall is a practical way to begin constructive conversations about the future at home, in organisations and in society at large.

Donella Meadows’ posthumously published Thinking in Systems is a concise and crucial book offering insight for problem solving on scales ranging from the personal to the global. Widely regarded as a pioneer in the environmental movement and one of the world’s foremost systems analysts, Meadows brings systems thinking out of the realm of computers and equations and into the tangible world, showing readers how to develop the systems-thinking skills critical for 21st-century life.

In Design Emergency Alice Rawsthorn and Paola Antonelli reflect on the role design plays in dealing with crises, emergencies, etc. With a focus on 4 themes–Technology, Society, Communication, and Ecology–this book tells the stories of the remarkable designers, architects, engineers, artists, scientists, and activists, who are at the forefront of positive change worldwide. This presents a unique portrait of how our great creative minds are developing new design solutions to the major challenges of our time, while helping us to benefit from advances in science and technology.

All We Can Save is a collection of essays and poetry from women who are at the forefront of the climate movement and are harnessing truth, courage, and solutions to lead humanity forward. This book is published by One World, whose mission is: “to nurture the leaderful climate community we need for a life-giving future.” The women highlighted in the book are leading voices with perspectives and expertise that have largely been missing from climate movements. All We Can Save seeks to advance a more representative, nuanced, and solution-oriented public conversation on the climate crisis. These women offer a spectrum of ideas and insights for how we can rapidly, radically reshape society.


In Designing Regenerative Cultures, Daniel Wahl explores ways in which we can reframe and understand the crises that we currently face and explores how we can live our way into the future. Moving from patterns of thinking and believing to our practice of education, design and community living, he systematically shows how we can stop chasing the mirage of certainty and control in a complex and unpredictable world.


*Excluding ‘Perspectives on a Global Green New Deal,’ the books in this list can be ordered at Athenaeum Bookstore by emailing [email protected] . With code DCFA2324 you get a 10% discount on non-Dutch publications. Please mention the code when ordering your books.