cover of book

Sprawl and Suburbia: A Harvard Design Magazine Reader
by William Saunders
University of Minnesota Press, 2005
Cloth: 978-0-8166-4754-5 | Paper: 978-0-8166-4755-2
Library of Congress Classification HT352.U6S67 2005
Dewey Decimal Classification 307.760973

Sprawl is the single most significant and urgent issue in American land use at the turn of the twenty-first century. Efforts to limit and reform sprawl through legislative “Smart Growth” initiatives have been enacted around the country while the neotraditionalist New Urbanism has been embraced by many architects and urban planners. Yet most Americans persist in their desire to live farther and farther away from urban centers, moving to exurbs made up almost entirely of single-family residential houses and stand-alone shopping areas. 

Sprawl and Suburbia brings together some of the foremost thinkers in the field to present in-depth diagnosis and critical analysis of the physical and social realities of exurban sprawl. Along with an introduction by Robert Fishman, these essays call for architects, urban planners, and landscape designers to work at mitigating the impact of sprawl on land and resources and improving the residential and commercial built environment as a whole. In place of vast residential exurbs, these writers offer visions of a fresh urbanism—appealing and persuasive models of life at greater density, with greater diversity, and within genuine communities. 

With sprawl losing the support of suburban citizens themselves as economic, environmental, and social costs are being paid, Sprawl and Suburbia appears at a moment when design might achieve some critical influence over development—if architects and planners accept the challenge. 

Contributors: Mike Davis, Ellen Dunham-Jones, Peter Hall, David Harvey, Jerold S. Kayden, Matthew J. Kiefer, Alex Krieger, Andrew Ross, James S. Russell, Mitchell Schwarzer. 

William S. Saunders is editor of Harvard Design Magazine and assistant dean for external relations at the Harvard Design School. He is the author of Modern Architecture: Photographs by Ezra Stoller

Robert Fishman is professor of architecture and urban planning at the Taubman College of Architecture, University of Michigan. He is author of Bourgeois Utopias: The Rise and Fall of Suburbia and editor of The American Planning Tradition: Culture and Policy.

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