PlaceWorks Publications

Practical Guides

Have you ever thought that government guidelines were written by computers? Or aliens? Have you ever wished that lawyers were paid by how few words they used? Or that a consultant would just explain, simply and clearly, what the heck they were talking about? PlaceWorks feels your pain. At least, we listened to your complaints and came up with our popular Practical Guides—short booklets that give you the big picture.

A Practical Guide to the California Environmental Quality Act (2019) NEW! ORDER NOW

Let us guide you through the maze of CEQA requirements. As CEQA grows in complexity, it is critical to understand how recent changes influence the general flow and direction of the process. This Guide is a great resource for decision makers, professional planners, and the public.

A Practical Guide to Planning Healthy Communities (2014) ORDER NOW

This guide provides tools for diagnosing a community’s health and principles that can be followed and adapted to suit the needs of each community.

A Practical Guide to Environmental Risk (2014) ORDER NOW

This guide explains the basics of risk perception by the public, scientific risk assessment, and the principles behind good risk communication: how to ask the right questions, listen carefully, and respond effectively.

A Practical Guide to the Specific Plan (2003) ORDER NOW

One of our most popular titles, this Guide covers the basics—what a specific plan is, what it is not, when to use it, and typical content. Applicable references to government code are revised to reflect contemporary law and practice.

Suburban Studies

Five Steps Towards a New Suburbia (2006)

Five Steps Towards a New Suburbia focuses on the critical elements of community—economic, environmental, physical, social, and governmental—and presents five practical examples or ”steps” that communities can take to enhance their own suburban experiences.

Suburban Case Studies (2006)

Additional research and case studies on improving our suburban communities.

PLACEVIEWS (Previously CenterVIEWS)

These short newsletters pick up where the Practical Guides leave off. Each one explores the cogent issues of an event, a change in legislation, an emerging problem, or a new trend, to name a few.


Other Publications

These books, articles, and reports by PlaceWorks staff or other authors explore various planning and environmental issues. Works are listed chronologically, most recent first.

Staff-Authored/Firm-Affiliated Books

David Early, contributing author, The General Plan in California, Point Arena CA: Solano Press, 2015

Tammy L. Seale, contributing author, Guiding Principles for City Climate Action Planning, United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT), 2015.

Sarah Sutton, The New American Front Yard: Kiss Your Grass Goodbye!, Aurora CO: Tendril Press, 2013

Kati Rubinyi, ed., The Car in 2035: Mobility Planning for the Near Future, Los Angeles: Civics Projects Foundation, 2013. Contributing author, Mark Hoffman

Tammy L. Seale, with Michael R. Boswell and Adrienne I. Greve, Local Climate Action Planning, Washington, DC: Island Press, 2012.

Karl Rodenbaugh, Siting Electric Generation and Transmission Facilities: A Guide to Securing Federal, State and Local Approvals, prepared for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, Arlington, Virginia, 2007

Dwayne Mears, contributing author, California School Facilities Planning, Point Arena CA: Solano Press, 2006


  • “New Year’s Resolutions for the Urban Forest,” by Laurel Kelly, ASLA, ASLA Northern California Chapter
  • “Climate Change Planning,” by Michael R. Boswell, Adrienne I. Greve, and Tammy L. Seale, in Elgar Companion to Sustainable Cities: Strategies, Methods and Outlook, edited by D. Mazmanian and H. Blanco, Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar Publishing, 2014, 302–319
  • Newsletter (2/13). Interview with Isabelle Minn, ASLA, Associate Principal.
  • “Developer offers to build O.C. Great Park for Irvine” by Thomas Martinez, OC Register (9/12/12)
  • “Climate Action Planning Is Good Planning,” by Michael R. Boswell, Adrienne I. Greve, and Tammy L. Seale, Florida Planning, Summer 2012, 6–7.
  • “Forecasting Community-Wide Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Setting Reduction Targets,” by Tammy L. Seale, principal author, California Association of Environmental Professionals, May 2012.
  • “Los Gatos Looks to Lower Greenhouse Gas Emissions” by Jeremy Barousse, Los Gatos Patch (12/6/2011)
  • “Identification of Subwatershed Sources for Chlorinated Pesticides and Polychlorinated Biphenyls in the Ballona Creek Watershed,” by Steve Bush, Science of The Total Environment 403, no. 13 (2011): 2525–33
  • “Sacramento County Plan Embraces ‘Paradigm Shift’ in Growth Management” by Josh Stephens and small article on Salt Pond project, CP&DR 26:19 (10/1/2011)
  • “Community-Wide Greenhouse Gas Baseline Inventory White Paper” by Tammy L. Seale, contributing author, California Association of Environmental Professionals, March 2011.
  • “Climate Action Plans and Emissions Inventories: Strengthening the Foundations of Policy Development,” by Michael R. Boswell, Adrienne I. Greve, and Tammy L. Seale, Journal of the American Planning Association 76, no. 4 (Autumn 2010).
  • “Returning to Their Roots,” by Jamie Thomas and Colin Drukker, Urban Land Green (Spring 2009)
  • “Taking Charge of Site Assessment,” by Peter Garcia, CASH Register (7/2008)
  • “Advances in the Characterization of the Polarity of DOM under Ambient Water Quality Conditions Using the Polarity Rapid Assessment Method,” by Steve Bush with M. Philibert, F. L. Rosario-Ortiz, and I. H. Suffet, Water Science & Technology: Water Supply 8, no. 6 (2008): 725–733
  • “Environmental Protection or Smart Growth?” by William Halligan, Esq., Urban Land (1/2008)


  • “Production, Consumption and Lifecycle Greenhouse Gas Inventories: Implications for CEQA and Climate Action Plans,” by Rich Walter et al., California AEP Climate Change Committee white paper, August 2017. Contributing authors, Tammy Seale and Eli Krispi.
  • “Healthy Planning: An Evaluation of Comprehensive and Sustainability Plans Addressing Public Health,” Ricklin, A., et al., American Planning Association, 2012
  • “Forecasting Community-Wide Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Setting Reduction Targets,” by Michael Hendrix et al., AEP Climate Change Committee white paper (5/2012). Introduction by Associate Principal Nicole Vermilion.
  • “California Community-Wide Greenhouse Gas Baseline Inventory Protocol,” AEP Climate Change Committee white paper (6/2011). Associate Principal Nicole Vermilion was project manager and a principal author.
  • “Strategies for Sustainable Communities: A Guidebook Based on California Community Types” Governor’s Office of Planning and Research, 12/15/2010