- You'll save an extra 5% on Books purchased from Amazon.ca, now through July 29th. No code necessary, discount applied at checkout. Here's how (restrictions apply)
Home from Nowhere: Remaking Our Everyday World For the 21st Century Paperback – Mar 26 1998
Special Offers and Product Promotions
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
No Kindle device required. Download one of the Free Kindle apps to start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, and computer.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Through magazine articles and through his previous book, The Geography of Nowhere, James Howard Kunstler has become one of the foremost decriers of the blighted urban landscape of the United States. Now, in this new sequel to the earlier book, Kunstler moves from description to prescription. The villains, Kunstler says, are zoning laws, real estate taxes, modernist architecture, and, particularly, the automobile. The solutions include multi-use zoning districts, car-free urban cores, revised tax laws, Beaux-Arts design principles, and, in particular, the neo-traditionalist school of architecture and city planning known as "new urbanism." It's possible to disagree with some of Kunstler's conclusions--the hope that large numbers of commuters will give up their single-passenger vehicles for public transit downtown has been discredited in city after city--without abandoning his larger goal: a return to a saner urban geography and, with it, to a saner way of life. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
In a slashing, fervent, practical, brilliant critique of the philosophy?or lack thereof?underpinning today's dismal American cities and isolating suburbs, Kunstler argues that our streets, malls, parks, civic buildings and houses frustrate innate psychological needs, violate human scale and thwart our desire to participate in the larger world. An architectural design critic (The Geography of Nowhere) and a novelist, he champions "new urbanism," an architectural reform movement dedicated to producing cohesive, mixed-use neighborhoods for people of widely different incomes, neighborhoods resembling U.S. towns prior to WWII. Using photos and line drawings throughout, he highlights numerous new urbanism-inspired projects around the country, from Seaside, a resort town on the Florida panhandle, to redevelopment schemes in Providence, Memphis, Columbus and Corning, N.Y. He also lashes what he considers the major obstacles to new urbanism-banks that make loans only to projects creating more suburban sprawl; stifling zoning laws; and a property-tax system that punishes builders of quality and "rewards those who let existing buildings go to hell." First serial to the Atlantic.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
Reading this book is both humorous and disheartening at the one and same time. It is humorous and easy to read, because the author's writing style is mature, articulate, and witty - clearly one of the quirks of his being a novelist. Disheartening, because it plainly documents how American cities have devolved into bleak, relentless, noisy, squalid, smoky, smelly, explosively expanding, socially unstable, dehumanizing sinkholes of industrial foulness congested with ragtag hordes of racing automobiles.
In response to the tragedy of our cities, we seek escape. After the war, most Americans jumped into the wagon and fled for the suburbs. However, even there we find no guarantee of spiritual or physical ease. Cut off from grocery stores, city-centers, cafes, and work, we end up spending half our life (not to mention half our income) "sitting inside a tin can on the freeway.Read more ›
I was disappointed with the unevenness of this book, especially after such a powerful, interesting beginning. Also, Kunstler's personality and opinions on certain issues are likely to turn some readers off; he frequently seems almost crotchety and bitter as he frowns on things like "teenage rebellion," rock & roll, and "black Nationalism." Although Kunstler's commitment to sound planning principles is admirable, his views on more complex sociopolitical issues are so simplistic as to just make him seem stupid (for example, he essentially denies the significance of systematic racial discrimination). Unfortunately, Kunstler makes it seem like he wants to go back to the ultimate '50s version of small-town life, complete with corner five-and-dime stores, ballgames in the Ramble, and cheery milk deliverymen. He does *not* seem to favor exciting urban development like the kind happening in Europe, since it might contain people "dressed in high top sneakers and a sideways hat."
I would recommend Kunstler's "The Geography of Nowhere" to this sequel. Or if you must read this book, maybe you could follow it up with something like William Upski Wimsatt's "Bomb the Suburbs," which at least shows an appreciation for the vibrancy of *modern* city life.
Home from Nowhere has several chapters with tangible plans for civic improvement, including both urban renewal and 'greenfield' development. Concrete examples are given to demonstrate the principles of New Urbanism, as well as examples where New Urbanism failed to make an impact.
Sections of the book seem like a rebuttal to responses to Geography of Nowhere. He mentions that he has traveled more and acquired an education in architectural principles, and his facts and research do make the book more worthwhile. If you have already read Geography of Nowhere, this book can fill in some of the gaps between the rhetoric.
The last several chapters began to drag. First, the reader spends some time in Florida with a like-minded developer. Then there is the scathing chapter on local politics in upstate New York. Finally, an interesting chapter on organic farming seems tacked on without connection to the rest of the text. Most amusing of all was the autobiographical segment, where we learn the author was teased in his inner-city high school.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
James Kunstler has written what should be considered the 'new urbanism' manifesto. In 'Home From Nowhere', Kunstler tackles the many problems in urban America and offers some real... Read morePublished on July 29 2003 by Guitar Man
I was enthralled by Kunstler's first book, _The Geography of Nowhere_, but extremely disappointed by _Home from Nowhere_. Read morePublished on Nov. 19 2002
I found this book intriguing, and I wholeheartedly agree with many of Mr. Kunstler's observations and suggestions. Read morePublished on March 15 2002
I really don't want to badmouth Mr. Kunstler, for he has done quite a bit of good for our society. I was blown away by Geography of Nowhere, as I read it in an afternoon sitting in... Read morePublished on Sept. 6 2001
This might well become the bible of New Urbanism - the notion that planners should imitate turn-of-the-century townscapes, with their high densities, mixed uses, and streets... Read morePublished on April 14 2001 by saskatoonguy
Kunstler provides solid ideas on how the civic text in most cities erodes our living spaces by unending expansion and suburban hell. Read morePublished on Oct. 12 2000 by yo-tambien
"What's wrong with me? My home is neat and tidy (and big) and the neighborhood is tranquil, so why am I so BORED? How come my kids seem so aloof (comatose)? Read morePublished on Sept. 29 2000 by Steven C Kelly
Somewhere between Celebration, Florida and the current state of many American cities is the often elusive ideal for how towns and cities should be designed. Read morePublished on June 4 2000 by R. Tomlin
This is a superbly written book, probably the result of theauthor's having toiled for years in the salt mines of fictionwriting. Read morePublished on May 17 2000 by Timothy Ritter