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Alien Neighbors, Foreign Friends
Asian Americans, Housing, and the Transformation of Urban California
Charlotte Brooks
University of Chicago Press, 2009

Between the early 1900s and the late 1950s, the attitudes of white Californians toward their Asian American neighbors evolved from outright hostility to relative acceptance. Charlotte Brooks examines this transformation through the lens of California’s urban housing markets, arguing that the perceived foreignness of Asian Americans, which initially stranded them in segregated areas, eventually facilitated their integration into neighborhoods that rejected other minorities.

Against the backdrop of cold war efforts to win Asian hearts and minds, whites who saw little difference between Asians and Asian Americans increasingly advocated the latter group’s access to middle-class life and the residential areas that went with it. But as they transformed Asian Americans into a “model minority,” whites purposefully ignored the long backstory of Chinese and Japanese Americans’ early and largely failed attempts to participate in public and private housing programs. As Brooks tells this multifaceted story, she draws on a broad range of sources in multiple languages, giving voice to an array of community leaders, journalists, activists, and homeowners—and insightfully conveying the complexity of racialized housing in a multiracial society.


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City Diplomacy
From City-States to Global Cities
Raffaele Marchetti
University of Michigan Press, 2021

While the view that only states act as global actors is conventional, significant diplomatic and cross-cultural activity is taking place in cities today. Economic growth and fiscal experiments all occur in urban contexts. Political reforms, social innovation, and protests and revolutions generate in cities. Criminal activities, terrorist actions, counterinsurgency, missile attacks (indeed, atomic bombs), and wars are centered in big cities. They are sources of global pollution as well as of environmental transformations such as urban gardening. Knowledge production, big data collection, and tech innovation all spur from intense interaction in cities. They are the meeting points between different cultures, religions, and identities.

These increasingly international cities develop twinning networks and projects, share information, sign cooperation agreements, contribute to the drafting of national and international policies, provide development aid, promote assistance to refugees, and do territorial marketing through decentralized city-city or district-district cooperation. Cities do what “municipalities” used to do many centuries ago: they cooperate but also enter into intense competitive dynamics. To understand current sociopolitical dynamics on a planetary level, we need to have two mental maps in mind: the state-centered map and the nonstate centered map. We must take into account the existence of a complex diplomatic regime based on different overlapping levels—the urban and the state.


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Confronting Suburban Decline
Strategic Planning For Metropolitan Renewal
William H. Lucy and David L. Phillips
Island Press, 2000
Sprawling commercial and residential development in outer suburbs and exurban areas has for a number of years masked increasingly severe socioeconomic problems in suburban America. In recent decades, income declines, crime increases, and tax base erosion have affected many suburbs to an extent previously seen only in central cities.In Confronting Suburban Decline, William H. Lucy and David L. Phillips examine conditions and trends in cities and suburbs since 1960, arguing that beginning in the 1980s, the United States entered a "post-suburban" era of declining suburbs with maturation of communities accompanied by large-scale deterioration. The authors examine: why suburban decline has become widespread how the "tyranny of easy development decisions" often results in new housing being built outside of areas that people prefer how strategic planning can help assess dangers how some suburbs have stabilized or revived how interactions between residential mobility and the age, size, and location of housing can help policy makers anticipate dangers and opportunities facing neighborhoods and jurisdictions Making the case that a high quality natural and built environment is key to achieving economic stability, the authors set forth a series of policy recommendations with federal, state, regional, and local dimensions that can help contribute to that goal.In-depth case studies are provided of Richmond, Virginia and Washington, D.C., along with examples from Minnesota, Oregon, Maryland, Tennessee, and other locations. In addition, the book offers information and statistics on income, population, and racial transitions in 554 suburbs in the nation's twenty-four largest metropolitan areas.Confronting Suburban Decline provides a detailed look at the causes of and responses to urban and suburban decline. Planners and policymakers as well as students and researchers involved with issues of land use, economic development, regional planning, community development, or intergovernmental relations will find it a valuable resource.

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Gendered Places
The Landscape of Local Gender Norms across the United States
William J. Scarborough
Temple University Press, 2023

Every place has its quirky attributes, cultural reputation, and distinctive flair. But when we travel across America, do we also experience distinct gender norms and expectations? In his groundbreaking Gendered Places, William Scarborough examines metropolitan commuting zones to see how each region’s local culture reflects gender roles and gender equity. He uses surveys and social media data to measure multiple dimensions of gender norms, including expectations toward women in leadership, attitudes toward working mothers, as well as the division of household labor.

Gendered Places reveals that different locations, even within the same region of the country, such as Milwaukee and Madison Wisconsin, have distinct gender norms and highly influential cultural environments. Scarboroughshows how these local norms shape the attitudes and behaviors of residents with implications on patterns of inequality such as the gender wage gap. His findings offer valuable insight for community leaders and organizers making efforts to promote equality in their region. 

Scarboroughrecognizes local culture as not value-neutral, but highly crucial to the gender structure that perpetuates, or challenges, gender inequality. Gendered Places questions how these gender norms are sustained and their social consequences.


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The Limitless City
A Primer on the Urban Sprawl Debate
Oliver Gillham
Island Press, 2002

One of the great debates of our time concerns the predominant form of land use in America today -- the all too familiar pattern of commercial and residential development known as sprawl. But what do we really know about sprawl? Do we know what it is? Where did it come from? Is it really so bad? If so, what are the alternatives? Can anything be done to make it better? The Limitless City offers an accessible examination of those and related questions. Oliver Gillham, an architect and planner with more than twenty-five years of experience in the field, considers the history and development of sprawl and examines current debates about the issue. The book:

  • offers a comprehensive definition of sprawl in America
  • traces the roots of sprawl and considers the factors that led to its preeminence as an urban and suburban form
  • reviews both its negative impacts (loss of open space, increased pollution, gridlock) as well as its positive aspects (economic development, personal freedom, privacy)
  • considers responses to sprawl including "smart growth," urban growth boundaries, regional planning, and the New Urbanism
  • looks at what can be done to improve and counterbalance sprawl
The author argues that whether we like it or not, sprawl is here to stay, and only by understanding where it came from and why it developed will we be able to successfully address the problems it has created and is likely to create in the future. The Limitless City is the first book to provide a realistic look at sprawl, with a frank recognition of its status as the predominant urban form in America, now and into the near future. Rather than railing against it, Gillham charts its probable future course while describing critical efforts that can be undertaken to improve the future of sprawl and our existing urban core areas.

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Connecting Open Space in North American Cities
Donna Erickson
Island Press, 2006
In metropolitan areas across the country, you can hear the laments over the loss of green space to new subdivisions and strip malls. But some city residents have taken unprecedented measures to protect their open land, and a growing movement seeks not only to preserve these lands but to link them in green corridors.
Many land-use and urban planning professionals, along with landscape architects and environmental advocates, have joined in efforts to preserve natural areas. MetroGreen answers their call for a deeper exploration of the latest thinking and newest practices in this growing conservation field. In ten case studies of U.S. and Canadian cities paired for comparative analysis-Toronto and Chicago, Calgary and Denver, and Vancouver and Portland among them-Erickson looks closely at the motivations and objectives for connecting open spaces across metropolitan areas. She documents how open-space networks have been successfully created and protected, while also highlighting the critical human and ecological benefits of connectivity.
MetroGreen's unique focus on several cities rather than a single urban area offers a perspective on the political, economic, cultural, and environmental conditions that affect open-space planning and the outcomes of its implementation.

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Metropolis 1890-1940
Edited by Anthony Sutcliffe
University of Chicago Press, 1984
An ideal and welcome reference and reader for students of urbanism, Metropolis 1890-1940 examines perceptions of the city during the dramatic urban growth of this period. Metropolis looks at the policies adopted to deal with the new city and at the views of the city expressed in the art, architecture, literature, cinema, music, and ideology of the time. Internationally known experts discuss case studies of London, Paris, Berlin, the Ruhr, New York, Moscow, and Tokyo, and a postscript brings the reader up to date with a survey of postwar urbanism.

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The New Suburban History
Edited by Kevin M. Kruse and Thomas J. Sugrue
University of Chicago Press, 2006
America has become a nation of suburbs. Confronting the popular image of suburbia as simply a refuge for affluent whites, The New Suburban History rejects the stereotypes of a conformist and conflict-free suburbia. The seemingly calm streets of suburbia were, in fact, battlegrounds over race, class, and politics. With this collection, Kevin Kruse and Thomas Sugrue argue that suburbia must be understood as a central factor in the modern American experience. 

Kruse and Sugrue here collect ten essays—augmented by their provocative introduction—that challenge our understanding of suburbia. Drawing from original research on suburbs across the country, the contributors recast important political and social issues in the context of suburbanization. Their essays reveal the role suburbs have played in the transformation of American liberalism and conservatism; the contentious politics of race, class, and ethnicity; and debates about the environment, land use, and taxation. The contributors move the history of African Americans, Latinos, Asians, and blue-collar workers from the margins to the mainstream of suburban history.

From this broad perspective, these innovative historians explore the way suburbs affect—and are affected by—central cities, competing suburbs, and entire regions. The results, they show, are far-reaching: the emergence of a suburban America has reshaped national politics, fostered new social movements, and remade the American landscape. The New Suburban History offers nothing less than a new American history—one that claims the nation cannot be fully understood without a history of American suburbs at its very center.

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New York, Chicago, Los Angeles
America’s Global Cities
Janet Abu-Lughod
University of Minnesota Press, 2001
A renowned scholar compares America's three global cities. "Abu-Lughod nicely characterizes the distinctive feel and experience of the three cities. She works her way through the history, the statistics, and the economic forces, but she ends up on the sidewalk, marveling at the complexity that has been created by an extraordinary history, and enamored of it. What is most urgent about her book is not so much her analysis of the urban condition as her devotion to cities. The city has been under attack by theorists and sprawlers for a long time now, but this fine book provides necessary examples of how the city may be intelligently loved." --Nathan Glazer in The New Republic "In a pathbreaking analysis, Abu-Lughod demonstrates the historical roots of what is usually described as a contemporary phenomenon." --MultiCultural Review "Substantial, in-depth comparison of more than one large city by a single urban scholar, while not unprecedented, is a difficult project to execute competently. Abu-Lughod has done a commendable job. One can only hope that others will follow her pioneering work and provide comparative and historical analyses of other global cities." --Urban Geography "For those of us who are interested in historical-geographical approaches to comparative urbanization, Janet Abu-Lughod's new work, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles: America's Global Cities, comes as a welcome relief. This impressive volume provides a comprehensive, readable, and lively interpretation of the three leading U.S. metropolitan areas. Although Abu-Lughod is a trained urban sociologist, she has a keen sensitivity to historical, spatial, economic, political, and cultural considerationsits real strengths lie in an exhaustive review of empirical evidence from the three metropolises and a rich illustration of points with abundant maps, tables, and figures. Abu-Lughod excels in profiling the trajectories of America's three largest city-regions. I find the book to be a tour de force, the worthwhile result of many years of study and observation. Happily, the book presents the material in a straightforward way and is remarkably free of the jargon that sometimes plagues global-city studies. I hope the book receives wide circulation. Abu-Lughod, after a long scholarly career in urban studies, may have achieved her magnum opus in this ambitious study of America's three preeminent global cities." --Geographical Review "Janet Abu-Lughod's book is both a fascinating history of New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles and a history of the United States from a new perspective. The stories of the three cities are beautifully overlapped but consistent in themselves, related to one another but self-sufficient. This is a very American book-despite the author's wealth of experience abroad. Her forte is the new narrative she weaves from existing research. The book provides a remarkably systematic and organized narrative of urbanization in the 19th and 20th centuries. It is also replete with a collection of individual anecdotal evidence and an impressive multitude of single conceptual and metaphorical observations that are often hidden in the empirical material presented throughout the book. This book represents an outstanding achievement. It will be-and deserves to be-an instant classic. Abu-Lughod's major opus is expressive of a life's work among the great American urbanists and planners of the 20th century. Abu-Lughod is a living example of what the best of urbanism can produce in a largely suburban America. In this sense, the book gives planners a giant source of inspiration: the big picture in long waves. The city lives despite itself." --Roger Keil, Journal of the American Planning Association "Janet L. Abu-Lughod's book is the first to compare these cities in an ambitious in-depth study that takes into account each city's unique history, following their development from their earliest days to their current status as players on the global state." --Bulletin of Science, Technology & Society New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles--for all their differences, they are quintessentially American cities. They are also among the handful of cities in the world that can truly be called "global." Janet L. Abu-Lughod's book is the first to compare them in an ambitious in-depth study that takes into account each city's unique history, following their development from their earliest days to their current status as players on the global stage. Unlike most other global cities, New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles all quickly grew from the nearly blank slate of the American landscape to become important beyond the nation's borders early in their histories. As a result, Abu-Lughod is able to show the effect of globalization on each city's development from its beginnings. While all three are critical to global economics and the spread of American culture to the farthest reaches of an increasingly interlinked world, their influence reflects their individual histories and personalities. In a masterful synthesis of historical and economic information, Abu-Lughod clarifies how each city's global role is--and will be--affected by geography, ethnicity of population, political institutions, and tradition of governance. New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles are more than global players: they are also home to forty million people. Abu-Lughod closes the book with a set of vignettes that captures the cities' differences as perceived by one who has lived in them. Bringing together the local and the global in thoroughly unexpected and enlightening ways, this important volume offers fascinating insight into these vital urban centers. "Comparative urbanism has few practitioners as distinguished as Janet L. Abu-Lughod. In this monumental study, Professor Abu-Lughod rescues Los Angeles from eccentricity by placing it in comparative context alongside the two most accepted urban paradigms of the United States: New York and Chicago. In doing so, she has added a new city--the City of Angels--to the front ranks of American cities and has significantly enhanced our understanding of New York and Chicago as well." --Kevin Starr, State Librarian of California "This breathtaking tour through the history of the three largest cities of the United States synthesizes the essentials of their varied history in a readable, lively form. New York, Chicago, Los Angeles is the first book I have seen by a single author who has lived in and become intimately knowledgeable about each of the cities, has plumbed their history, examined statistics, and pulled together a comparison that places the data and accounts in the context of personal experience. Abu-Lughod concludes the book with a set of human vignettes that captures differences and similarities among the cities, in the lived experience of a user and employer of each of the cities." --Peter Marcuse, Columbia University "A masterful comparative history of the three cities. Abu-Lughod's scholarship is impeccable and her book extremely well written." --John Friedmann, Professor Emeritus, UCLA, author of Endangered Dreams: The Great Depression and California and The Dream Endures: California Enters the 1940s. Janet L. Abu-Lughod, professor emerita of sociology of Northwestern University and the Graduate Faculty of the New School for Social Research, has been writing about and studying cities for more than fifty years. Her books include From Urban Village to East Village: The Battle for New York's Lower East Side; Changing Cities: Urban Sociology; Before European Hegemony: The World System A.D. 1250-1350; Rabat: Urban Apartheid in Morocco; and Cairo: 1001 Years of the City Victorious, among many other publications. In 1999 she received the Robert and Helen Lynd Award (American Sociological Association, Section on Community and Urban Sociology) for distinguished lifetime contributions to the study of cities.

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The Patchwork City
Class, Space, and Politics in Metro Manila
Marco Z. Garrido
University of Chicago Press, 2019
In contemporary Manila, slums and squatter settlements are peppered throughout the city, often pushing right up against the walled enclaves of the privileged, creating the complex geopolitical pattern of Marco Z. Garrido’s “patchwork city.” Garrido documents the fragmentation of Manila into a mélange of spaces defined by class, particularly slums and upper- and middle-class enclaves. He then looks beyond urban fragmentation to delineate its effects on class relations and politics, arguing that the proliferation of these slums and enclaves and their subsequent proximity have intensified class relations. For enclave residents, the proximity of slums is a source of insecurity, compelling them to impose spatial boundaries on slum residents. For slum residents, the regular imposition of these boundaries creates a pervasive sense of discrimination. Class boundaries then sharpen along the housing divide, and the urban poor and middle class emerge not as labor and capital but as squatters and “villagers,” Manila’s name for subdivision residents. Garrido further examines the politicization of this divide with the case of the populist president Joseph Estrada, finding the two sides drawn into contention over not just the right to the city, but the nature of democracy itself.

The Patchwork City illuminates how segregation, class relations, and democracy are all intensely connected.  It makes clear, ultimately, that class as a social structure is as indispensable to the study of Manila—and of many other cities of the Global South—as race is to the study of American cities.

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Planning the Urban Region
A Comparative Study of Policies and Organizations
Peter Self
University of Alabama Press, 1982
Provides a comparative framework for analyzing issues of urban planning and government

In tandem with an analysis of the basic purpose and rationale of urban planning, Peter Self discusses the achievements and failures of different types of planning authorities. Planning the Urban Region surveys in turn the planning of city governments, metro governments, and regional bodies as they attempt to guide the growth and character of large urban areas—within whose sprawl live roughly one-half of the populations of Western countries—with examples drawn from the United States, Great Britain, Canada, Australia, Sweden, and France.
Self argues that the urban region is at a political and organizational crossroads, as it must grapple with the problems of urban sprawl: the social effects of land use and housing, conflicts between local communities and the metro organizations, environmental issues, and the capacity of governmental systems to handle complex issues. Planning the Urban Region is a valuable contribution to the literature on the future of cities and urban regions and should materially inform the debate on the place of public planning in shaping that future.

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Regional and Metropolitan Growth and Decline in the US
William H. Frey
Russell Sage Foundation, 1988
During the 1970s, several striking population shifts attracted widespread attention and colorful journalistic labels. Urban gentrification, the rural renaissance, the rise of the Sunbelt—these phenomena signaled major reversals in long-term patterns of population distribution. In Regional and Metropolitan Growth and Decline in the United States, authors Frey and Speare place such reversals in context by examining a rich array of census data. This comprehensive study describes new population distribution patterns, explores their consequences, and evaluates competing explanations of current trends. The authors also provide an in-depth look at the changing race, status, and household demographics of the nation's largest cities and discuss the broad societal forces precipitating such changes. Frey and Speare conclude that the 1970s represented a "transition decade" in the history of population distribution and that patterns now emerging do not suggest a return to the past. With impressive scope and detail, this volume offers an unmatched picture of regional growth and decline across the United States. A Volume in the Russell Sage Foundation Census Series.

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The Regional City
Peter Calthorpe and William Fulton
Island Press, 2001

Most Americans today do not live in discrete cities and towns, but rather in an aggregation of cities and suburbs that forms one basic economic, multi-cultural, environmental and civic entity. These “regional cities” have the potential to significantly improve the quality of our lives--to provide interconnected and diverse economic centers, transportation choices, and a variety of human-scale communities. In The Regional City, two of the most innovative thinkers in the field of land use planning and design offer a detailed look at this new metropolitan form and explain how regional-scale planning and design can help direct growth wisely and reverse current trends in land use. The authors:

  • discuss the nature and underpinnings of this new metropolitan form
  • present their view of the policies and physical design principles required for metropolitan areas to transform themselves into regional cities
  • document the combination of physical design and social and economic policies that are being used across the country
  • consider the main factors that are shaping metropolitan regions today, including the maturation of sprawling suburbs and the renewal of urban neighborhoods
Featuring full-color graphics and in-depth case studies, The Regional City offers a thorough examination of the concept of regional planning along with examples of successful initiatives from around the country. It will be must reading for planners, architects, landscape architects, local officials, real estate developers, community development professionals, and for students in architecture, urban planning, and policy.

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Second Tier Cities
Rapid Growth beyond the Metropolis
Ann Markusen
University of Minnesota Press, 1999

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The Social Production of Urban Space
By M. Gottdiener
University of Texas Press, 1994

From reviews of the first edition:

"This is perhaps the best theoretically oriented book by a United States urban sociologist since the work of Firey, Hawley, and Sjoberg in the 1940s and 1950s.... Gottdiener is on the cutting edge of urban theoretical work today." —Joe R. Feagin, Contemporary Sociology

Since its first publication in 1985, The Social Production of Urban Space has become a landmark work in urban studies. In this second edition, M. Gottdiener assesses important new theoretical models of urban space—and their shortcomings—including the global perspective, the flexible accumulation school, postmodernism, the new international division of labor, and the "growth machine" perspective.

Going beyond the limitations of these and older theories, Gottdiener proposes a model of urban growth that accounts for the deconcentration away from the central city that began in the United States in the 1920s and continues today. Sociologists, political scientists, economists, geographers, and urban planners will find his interdisciplinary approach to urban science invaluable, as it is currently the most comprehensive treatment of European and American work in these related fields.


front cover of Sprawl
A Compact History
Robert Bruegmann
University of Chicago Press, 2005
As anyone who has flown into Los Angeles at dusk or Houston at midday knows, urban areas today defy traditional notions of what a city is. Our old definitions of urban, suburban, and rural fail to capture the complexity of these vast regions with their superhighways, subdivisions, industrial areas, office parks, and resort areas pushing far out into the countryside. Detractors call it sprawl and assert that it is economically inefficient, socially inequitable, environmentally irresponsible, and aesthetically ugly. Robert Bruegmann calls it a logical consequence of economic growth and the democratization of society, with benefits that urban planners have failed to recognize.

In his incisive history of the expanded city, Bruegmann overturns every assumption we have about sprawl. Taking a long view of urban development, he demonstrates that sprawl is neither recent nor particularly American but as old as cities themselves, just as characteristic of ancient Rome and eighteenth-century Paris as it is of Atlanta or Los Angeles. Nor is sprawl the disaster claimed by many contemporary observers. Although sprawl, like any settlement pattern, has undoubtedly produced problems that must be addressed, it has also provided millions of people with the kinds of mobility, privacy, and choice that were once the exclusive prerogatives of the rich and powerful.

The first major book to strip urban sprawl of its pejorative connotations, Sprawl offers a completely new vision of the city and its growth. Bruegmann leads readers to the powerful conclusion that "in its immense complexity and constant change, the city-whether dense and concentrated at its core, looser and more sprawling in suburbia, or in the vast tracts of exurban penumbra that extend dozens, even hundreds, of miles-is the grandest and most marvelous work of mankind."

“Largely missing from this debate [over sprawl] has been a sound and reasoned history of this pattern of living. With Robert Bruegmann’s Sprawl: A Compact History, we now have one. What a pleasure it is: well-written, accessible and eager to challenge the current cant about sprawl.”—Joel Kotkin, The Wall Street Journal
“There are scores of books offering ‘solutions’ to sprawl. Their authors would do well to read this book.”—Witold Rybczynski, Slate

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The Urban Origins of Suburban Autonomy
Richardson Dilworth
Harvard University Press, 2005

Using the urbanized area that spreads across northern New Jersey and around New York City as a case study, this book presents a convincing explanation of metropolitan fragmentation—the process by which suburban communities remain as is or break off and form separate political entities. The process has important and deleterious consequences for a range of urban issues, including the weakening of public finance and school integration. The explanation centers on the independent effect of urban infrastructure, specifically sewers, roads, waterworks, gas, and electricity networks. The book argues that the development of such infrastructure in the late nineteenth century not only permitted cities to expand by annexing adjacent municipalities, but also further enhanced the ability of these suburban entities to remain or break away and form independent municipalities. The process was crucial in creating a proliferation of municipalities within metropolitan regions.

The book thus shows that the roots of the urban crisis can be found in the interplay between technology, politics, and public works in the American city.


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When City and Country Collide
Managing Growth In The Metropolitan Fringe
Tom Daniels
Island Press, 1999

Strips of urban and suburban "fabric" have extended into the countryside, creating a ragged settlement pattern that blurs the distinction between rural, urban, and suburban. As traditional rural industries like farming, forestry, and mining rapidly give way to residential and commercial development, the land at the edges of developed areas -- the rural-urban fringe -- is becoming the middle landscape between city and countryside that the suburbs once were.

When City and Country Collide examines the fringe phenomenon and presents a workable approach to fostering more compact development and better, more sustainable communities in those areas. It provides viable alternatives to traditional land use and development practices, and offers a solid framework and rational perspective for wider adoption of growth management techniques.

The author:

  • reviews growth management techniques and obstacles to growth management
  • examines the impact of federal spending programs and regulations on growth management
  • presents a comprehensive planning process for communities and counties
  • discusses state-level spending programs and regulations
  • illustrates design principles for new development
  • looks at regional planning efforts and regional governments
  • discusses ways to protect farmland, forestland, and natural areas to help control sprawl

The book also features a series of case studies -- including Albuquerque, New Mexico; Larimer County, Colorado; Chittenden County, Vermont; and others -- that evaluate the success of efforts to control both the size of the fringe and growth within the fringe. It ends with a discussion of possible futures for fringe areas.

When City and Country Collide is an important guide for planners and students of planning, policymakers, elected officials, and citizens working to minimize sprawl.


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