About the Book

If the 20th century was defined by its excesses, the 21st century will be defined by its limitations. Reprogramming the City reveals how cities around the world are reimagining and repurposing existing urban assets to benefit residents by doing more with what cities already have.

From billboards in Lima, Peru repurposed to generate clean drinking water, to bus shelters in Umeå, Sweden that swapped their advertising lights for anti-SADD light therapy tubes to give commuters a mood boost during dark winter months, Reprogramming the City uncovers a new spirit of urban repurposing and reuse that is transforming cities around the world.

Converted bus stop to boost mental health during the winter with light therapy lamps, Umeå, Sweden.

Written by Urban Strategist Scott Burnham and designed by Samantha Altieri, Reprogramming the City features over 40 richly-illustrated projects from numerous cities across 17 countries. The book offers an unparalleled collection of real-world examples of how existing urban elements are being reimagined to perform alternate functions, or assume entirely new roles in the city.

Organized into the thematic chapters of Food and Water, Shelter and Housing, Health and Wellbeing, Energy and Ecology and Renewal and Recovery, this book shows how the full range of human needs and achievement can be realized from the assets cities already have in place.

Transforming a central stairway into a space for leisure and relaxation. The Cascade, Hong Kong.

Reprogramming the City is both a catalogue of exceptional ideas and a catalyst for change and a new approach to cities – one that designs with the city, not for it. It is an exceptional container of inspiration for those seeking to discover a new paradigm of urban creativity and resourcefulness.