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The First City on Mars: An Urban Planner’s Guide to Settling the Red Planet

  • Book
  • © 2022


  • Explains the scientific, social scientific, and engineering constraints for settling Mars
  • Introduces a blueprint and design concept for the settlement of a Martian city
  • Reviews the history of human colonization to gain perspective for Martian settlement

Part of the book series: Springer Praxis Books (PRAXIS)

Part of the book sub series: Space Exploration (SPACEE)

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About this book

Hundreds of novels, films, and TV shows have speculated about what it would be like for us Earthlings to build cities on Mars. To make it a reality, however, these dreamers are in sore need of additional conceptual tools in their belt—particularly, a rich knowledge of city planning and design.

Enter award-winning author and Tufts University professor, Justin Hollander. In this book, he draws on his experience as an urban planner and researcher of human settlements to provide a thoughtful exploration of what a city on Mars might actually look like. Exploring the residential, commercial, industrial, and infrastructure elements of such an outpost, the book is able to paint a vivid picture of how a Martian community would function – the layout of its public spaces, the arrangement of its buildings, its transportation network, and many more crucial aspects of daily life on another planet. Dr. Hollander then brings all these lessons to life through his own rendered plan for “Aleph,” one of many possible designs for the first city on Mars.

Featuring a plethora of detailed, cutting-edge illustrations and blueprints for Martian settlements, this book at once inspires and grounds the adventurous spirit. It is a novel addition to the current planning underway to colonize the Red Planet, providing a rich review of how we have historically overcome challenging environments and what the broader lessons of urban planning can offer to the extraordinary challenge of building a permanent settlement on Mars.  

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Table of contents (12 chapters)


“Throughout the book, Hollander applies his knowledge in an accessible way, illustrating points with figures from historical sources, as well as images of possible settlements pulled (with permission) from the latest studies on the subject. Overall, the book provides a highly researched and perfectly timed foundation into how humans can anticipate the needs of the future, and plan off-world colonies that are humane, sustainable, and beautiful places to live.” (nature astronomy, Vol. 7, May, 2023)

“The book is rich and detailed, yet easy-to-read – and certain to engage any space enthusiast” (Ian Randall,, March 15, 2023)

Authors and Affiliations

  • Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning, Tufts University, Medford, USA

    Justin B. Hollander

About the author

Justin B. Hollander, PhD, is a Professor of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning at Tufts University.  He is an internationally renowned expert on the planning and design of human settlements, having written eight books and over 50 journal articles, book chapters, and essays on these topics.  At Tufts, Prof. Hollander leads the Urban Mars Project and teaches graduate courses on the history of urbanization and early colonization, as well as the theories of community design.  

Prof. Hollander is a frequent speaker, having appeared on both TV and radio – C-SPAN’s Washington Journal and the Diane Ream Show on NPR.  He is also regularly called upon as an expert for a variety of media sources on urban planning and design issues, including The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, TIME Magazine, USA Today, Crain’s New York Business, and the Las Vegas Sun.

He was recently inducted as a Fellow of the American Institute of Certified Planners and hosts the Apple podcast “Cognitive Urbanism”.

Bibliographic Information

  • Book Title: The First City on Mars: An Urban Planner’s Guide to Settling the Red Planet

  • Authors: Justin B. Hollander

  • Series Title: Springer Praxis Books

  • DOI:

  • Publisher: Springer Cham

  • eBook Packages: Physics and Astronomy, Physics and Astronomy (R0)

  • Copyright Information: The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2022

  • Softcover ISBN: 978-3-031-07527-8Published: 02 February 2023

  • eBook ISBN: 978-3-031-07528-5Published: 01 February 2023

  • Edition Number: 1

  • Number of Pages: XXXI, 255

  • Number of Illustrations: 32 b/w illustrations, 126 illustrations in colour

  • Topics: Astronomy, Astrophysics and Cosmology, Urban History, Science and Technology Studies

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