The book "City Making and Urban Governance in The Americas: Curitiba and Portland" by Clara Irazábal (2005. ISBN 0 7546 4253 4) is full of good information and analysis about how cities have to grow and develop. Irazábal has a deep feel for the similarities as well as the differences between these two cities that help not only see the historical implications of proper governance but more so looks deep into the human, sociological aspects that through the cultural dynamics evolve in what we now consider livability of the city. As she looks at the forced integration of what Curitibans tried to do by symbolic representation of ethnic backgrounds while at the same time it seems like some forgetful disregard of real ethnic conflicts. The analytical interpretation of Portland's new character as one of the best livably cities in the US goes far. The changes that during Portland's history mainly based on the active participation of its citizenry though a varied modes of organization, like neighborhood and business associations and other interest groups (like bicyclists) has allow the empowerment of ordinary citizen in their governance.
In brief, Irazábal's book is a must read for those interested in Urban Studies and its relationship with Environmental Stewardship.