Trausti Valsson, professor emeritus of planning, environment and global warming at the University of Iceland, has put all the books he has written online so anyone can access them for free.
Professor Valsson has published 14 books on design and planning, four of which are in English. The books cover a wide variety of topics, but planning in Iceland and future- and environmental matters are at the core.
Professor Valsson says he became interested in the subject matters of the books in his studies, but he boasts having both an architecture/planning degree from the University of Technology in Berlin and a doctorate in environmental planning from the University of California, Berkeley, USA.
Valsson taught planning at the University of Iceland for nearly three decades. “In planning it is important to know how things have evolved, so I wrote about planning history in the beginning. In the 1990s, environmental concerns started to come on strong, and I started to include them in my books and articles. Planning needs to look at the broader framework, so I wrote a book about my ideas about an Iceland-Plan (1987) and later on future ideas, e.g. in regional affairs in Iceland. As the Millennium approached, I wrote a book on a vision of the future that I think need to be taken in account. This also appears in the book “How the World will Change – with Global Warming” (2006). Here I studied global developments and the impact of global warming on planning, both globally and in individual regions, especially the Arctic. The last book, “Shaping the Future”, which was published in 2016, is the story of my professional carrier,” says Valsson.
"I thought it would be better to put the books online rather than aim for publishing them. On the Internet, everyone, anywhere, can get them for free, because all the costs of publishing them have already been paid. Also, I had noticed that students prefer to use material from the Internet, where it can be accessed with a single click,” Valsson points out.
When asked why he decided to put all the books online he says they were out of print. "I thought it would be better to put the books online rather than aim for publishing them. On the Internet, everyone, anywhere, can get them for free, because all the costs of publishing them have already been paid. Also, I had noticed that students prefer to use material from the Internet, where it can be accessed with a single click,” Valsson points out.
The University of Iceland has adopted a policy of open access and encourages employees to publish their scholarly works in a forum that is open to all. In this way, the University wants to increase the visibility of science in the community and promote the scientific work done by employees of the university. It is safe to say that professor Valsson’s placing his works on the Internet is truly in that spirit.
When asked Professor Valsson says that the books are useful to all those who want to understand the larger context of things, both concerning planning and the environment. "The books are useful, for example, for historians, sociologists, geographers, engineers, and students of these subjects. The environmental books are also useful to these groups, and to people in the environmental field,” Valsson continues, and does not rule out that he will publish more material in the future.
All of Valsson´s books can be accessed on his website.
Four of Valsson´s books are in English: “Shaping the Future” (2016); “How the World will Change - with Global Warming” (2006): “Planning in Iceland - From the Settlement to Present Times” (2003); and “City and Nature... an Integrated Whole” (2000). The books cover a wide variety of topics, but planning in Iceland, and future- and environmental matters, are at the core.