Synopses & Reviews
A manifesto by America's most controversial and celebrated town planners, proposing an alternative model for community design.
There is a growing movement in North America to put an end to suburban sprawl and to replace the automobile-based settlement patterns of the past fifty years with a return to more traditional planning principles. This movement stems not only from the realization that sprawl is ecologically and economically unsustainable but also from a growing awareness of sprawl's many victims: children, utterly dependent on parental transportation if they wish to escape the cul-de-sac; the elderly, warehoused in institutions once they lose their driver's licenses; the middle class, stuck in traffic for two or more hours each day.
Founders of the Congress for the New Urbanism, Andres Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk are at the forefront of this movement, and in Suburban Nation they assess sprawl's costs to society, be they ecological, economic, aesthetic, or social. It is a lively, thorough, critical lament, and an entertaining lesson on the distinctions between postwar suburbia-characterized by housing clusters, strip shopping centers, office parks, and parking lots-and the traditional neighborhoods that were built as a matter of course until mid-century. It is an indictment of the entire development community, including governments, for the fact that America no longer builds towns. Most important, though, it is that rare book that also offers solutions.
“An essential text for our time . . . Not only a passionately argued, carefully reasoned dissection of the mess that is becoming man-made America but also a clear program of steps that can be taken to enhance the humanity of both our suburbs and our cities while conserving our rapidly dwindling countryside. 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
“[This book offers] a clear-eyed, closely reasoned description by its founders of the most important movement in American architecture and city making of this generation: the New Urbanism, based not upon the ‘nostalgia for which it has been unjustly criticized but upon solid architectural, historical, and sociological analysis, and hard common sense.”—Vincent Scully
"Suburban Nation dissects the physical design of the suburbs brilliantly . . . [the authors] set forth more clearly than anyone has done in our time the elements of good town planning."--Paul Goldberger, The New Yorker
"A powerful manifesto . . . No one has yet produced a work as pithy or likely to win converts to the cause as this briskly written and persuasive brief."--Alexander von Hoffman, The Boston Sunday Globe
“As compelling and important as Jane Jacobss The Death and Life of Great American Cities
and Venturi, Brown, and Izenours 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 couldnt ask for a better trio to guide you through any part of the American built environment.” —HAROLD HENDERSON, Planning
For a decade, Suburban Nation
has given voice to a growing movement in North America to put an end to suburban sprawl and replace the last centurys automobile-based settlement patterns with a return to more traditional planning. Founders of the Congress for the New Urbanism, Andres Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk are at the forefront of the movement, and even their critics, such as Fred Barnes in The Weekly Standard
, recognized that “Suburban Nation
is likely to become this movements bible.” A lively lament about the failures of postwar planning, this is also that rare book that offers solutions: “an essential handbook” (San Francisco Chronicle
). This tenth anniversary edition includes a new preface by the authors.
About the Author
and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk
lead a firm that has designed more than 200 new neighborhoods and community revitalization plans, most notably Seaside, Florida. Jeff Speck
is director of town planning for the firm.
Table of Contents
What is sprawl, and why? --The devil is in the details --The house that sprawl built --The physical creation of society --The American transportation mess --Sprawl and the developer --The victims of sprawl --The city and the region --The inner city --How to make a town --What is to be done --Appendix A:The traditional neighborhood development checklist --Appendix B:The congress for the new urbanism.