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Oct. 24, 2013

CSU professor writes "Urban Planning for Dummies"

By John Cuturic

When Cleveland State professor Jordan Yin responded to an ad looking for someone to write a book, which he saw on a professional website for urban planners, he didn't realize just which series he was going to write for.

The ad, placed by a publishing company, said that they were looking for someone to write a general-purpose book on urban planning. The book would be one in a series. Yin followed up on the ad and called a telephone number. He asked about the series that the book would be a part of.

"They told me, 'Maybe you've heard of them, they're called the For Dummies books,'" Yin said.

Yin, an associate lecturer and the director of undergraduate studies at Cleveland State's College of Urban Affairs, wrote "Urban Planning For Dummies." The book came out near the end of last year.

Yin said that it took a lot of work to put together an entire book in six months, keeping to deadlines. He referred to what he wrote in his acknowledgments for the book: be careful what you wish for -- you just might get it.

But he said writing the book taught him how to write for a broader audience. He said that urban planning can be a very complicated topic.

"To take all the jargon out of that and make it like people talking at a coffee shop forces you to not just be smart, but to be clever," said Yin.

But he said that it's important to make the effort. Yin said that he believes everyone in the community should be involved in urban planning. He said that he's enjoyed getting emails from his readers.

"I get emails from lots of non-professionals who say, hey, this is really easy to pick up," said Yin.

If you search for urban planning on Amazon, Yin's book is the second entry on the first page. Yin said that he tried his hardest to aim the book at a general audience.
"More people will read this book than will ever read my scholarly work," Yin said. "And I'm okay with that."