The Surprising Design of Market Economies

You can order my latest book, The Surprising Design of Market Economies, from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Indiebound, and The University of Texas website. Or better still, walk or drive down to your local bookstore, thumb through a copy, walk up to the counter, and buy it there!

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See reviews and articles about the book here.

Check out my new mistakes page here. Yes, I put mistakes from the book that I or others have caught.

How Cities Work : Suburbs, Sprawl, and the Roads Not Taken

My first book, How Cities Work : Suburbs, Sprawl, and the Roads Not Taken, was published in 2001 and was acclaimed for providing insight into how our suburbs and cities grow. You can read excerpts and reviews of it at


“Do cities work anymore? How did they get to be such sprawling conglomerations of lookalike subdivisions, megafreeways, and “big box” superstores surrounded by acres of parking lots? And why, most of all, don’t they feel like real communities? These are the questions that Alex Marshall tackles in this hard-hitting, highly readable look at what makes cities work.

Marshall argues that urban life has broken down because of our basic ignorance of the real forces that shape cities-transportation systems, industry and business, and political decision making. He explores how these forces have built four very different urban environments-the decentralized sprawl of California’s Silicon Valley, the crowded streets of New York City’s Jackson Heights neighborhood, the controlled growth of Portland, Oregon, and the stage-set facades of Disney’s planned community, Celebration, Florida.

To build better cities, Marshall asserts, we must understand and intelligently direct the forces that shape them. Without prescribing any one solution, he defines the key issues facing all concerned citizens who are trying to control urban sprawl and build real communities. His timely book will be important reading for a wide public and professional audience.”

Catalog information:

  • How Cities Work: Suburbs, Sprawl, and the Roads Not Taken
  • By Alex Marshall
  • Paperback: 269 pages
  • Publisher: University of Texas Press; 1st edition (January 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0292752407
  • ISBN-13: 978-0292752405

Beneath the Metropolis: The Secret Lives of Cities

My second book, Beneath the Metropolis: The Secret Lives of Cities, was published in late 2006 by Carroll and Graf Publishers. It is available from


“The pulse of great cities may be most palpable above ground, but it is below the busy streets where we can observe their rich archaeological history and the infrastructure that keeps them running. In The Secret Lives of Cities journalist Alex Marshall investigates how geological features, archaeological remnants of past civilizations, and layered networks transporting water, electricity, and people, have shaped these cities through centuries of political turbulence and advancements in engineering — and how they are determining the course of the cities’ future.

From the first-century catacombs of Rome, the New York subway system, and the swamps and ancient quays beneath London, to San Francisco’s fault lines, the depleted aquifer below Mexico City, and Mao Tse-tung’s extensive network of secret tunnels under Beijing, these subterranean environments offer a unique cross-section of a city’s history and future.

Stunningly illustrated with colorful photographs, drawings, and maps, The Secret Lives of Cities reveals the hidden worlds beneath our feet, and charts the cities’ development through centuries of forgotten history, political change, and technological innovation.”

Catalog information:

  • Beneath the Metropolis: The Secret Lives of Cities
  • By Alex Marshall
  • ISBN 0-7867-1864-1
  • EAN 978-0-7867-1864-1
  • $29.95
  • Trade Paper
  • 240pp, 8 1/2 x 11
  • Carton Qty: 20
  • Art & Architecture
  • ARCHITECTURE / Urban & Land Use Planning
  • ARC010000
  • Fall 2006
  • Rights: Perseus