- Paperback: 320 pages
- Publisher: North Point Press; 10th Anniversary ed. edition (Sept. 14 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0865477507
- ISBN-13: 978-0865477506
- Product Dimensions: 20.2 x 2.1 x 20.6 cm
- Shipping Weight: 635 g
- Average Customer Review: 54 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #203,861 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Suburban Nation: The Rise of Sprawl and the Decline of the American Dream Paperback – Sep 14 2010
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“As compelling and important as Jane Jacobs's The Death and Life of Great American Cities and Venturi, Brown, and Izenour's Learning from Las Vegas . . . Everyone who cares about the future of our American way of life should read this book.” ―ROBERT A. M. STERN, Dean, Yale School of Architecture
“Among the wittiest and most perceptive books about sprawl. You couldn't ask for a better trio to guide you through any part of the American built environment.” ―HAROLD HENDERSON, Planning
About the Author
Andres Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk lead a firm that has designed more than 200 new neighborhoods and community revitalization plans, most famously, Seaside, Florida.
Jeff Speck is director of town planning for the firm.
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Obviously, people have to live somewhere. They have to buy groceries and shop, send their children to schools, and live in a neighborhood that's desirable. Are separate residential and commercial zoning laws the only way? Are large sub-divisions of residential track-housing, the only option? These plans usually necessitate a car for doing anything and everything, no matter how trivial. In metropolitan areas with high population densities, we need to get in our cars, drive through congested traffic to eyesoric strip-malls, even to buy a loaf of bread. There is no sense of collective community, even in a mental sense. Office parks are separated, yet connected by hiways, into islands of emptiness. There are also negative economic consequences. It has been been proven from varieties of sources, that the current suburban model not only strains but debilitates the economy. There is a heavy-toll placed on the residents of these widespread areas.
How many times have you heard people say "the traffic is terrible," while they are driving their vehicles everyday to do virtually everything? Have you ever heard, "where do all these people come from?" or "I wonder where they're all going?" Answer: they're doing exactly the same thing you're doing: driving through suburbia, everyday, for everything, and anything. As the population continues to increase in the United States we'll see unprecedented massive growth of suburban sprawl under the current plan of the suburban model. It's not revamping the model entirely that may make living under these circumstances more livable, but some minor well-thought adjustments....
Unfortunately, when the authors start editorializing they become rather arrogant and unfocused. The authors are clearly not sociologists but try to be in this book, with plenty of questionable assertions about the elitist influences on sprawl, and a tendency for big statements. Examples include "[real estate developers are] challenging drug dealers and pimps for position in the public's esteem" (pg. 100), and "the default setting for architecture in America is not modernism but vulgarity" (pg. 211 - which is followed by a condemnation of the entire architecture profession). The biggest flaw in this book is economic, as the types of neighborhoods envisioned by the authors can only be successful if their property values increase, which places them out of reach for the type of people who would most like to live there. In the long run however, such stretching of the authors' credibility can be mostly forgiven as they deliver a solid examination of the evils of sprawl and how they can be counteracted.
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The ideas presented are nothing new anymore and the solutions suggested are now...Read more