Quotes on sprawl from ‘Suburban Nation’

I’ve been reading “Suburban Nation: The Rise of Sprawl and the Decline of the American Dream,” and have been appreciating the authors’ analysis of suburban planning. Who knows if I’ll agree with their solutions.

Here are some quotes from the beginning of the book:

Since each piece of suburbia serves only one type of activity, and since daily life involves a wide variety of activities, the residents of suburbia spend an unprecedented amount of time and money moving from one place to the next.

Why the country’s planners were so uniformly convinced of the efficacy of zoning — the segregation of the different aspects of daily life — is a story that dates back to the previous century and the first victory of the planning profession. At that time, Europe’s industrialized cities were shrouded in the smoke of Blake’s “dark, satanic mills.” City planners wisely advocated the separation of such factories from residential areas, with dramatic results. … This segregation, once applied only to incompatible uses, is now applied to every use.

The problem with suburbia is that, in spite of all its regulatory controls, it is not functional: it simply does not efficiently serve society or preserve the environment.

So far, I can recommend the book. It’s certainly written at a reasonable level for the interested layman.

Photo by Millicent Bystander on Flickr

One Comment

  1. I have been a fan of your blog for a while. My wife and I are planning to move to Ft. Wayne in the late sumer and I ran across your blog while doing some research on the city, the culture, blogosphere, and religious context of the city. It is very refreshing to see other Christian defending and arguing for an urbanist point of view.

    I had actually just started rereading this book when I saw your first comment on it. In my opinion, book only gets better. It is direct and gives info support to prove credibility, yet not so much that the point is drowning in a sea of proofs and justifications.

    On a side note – my wife and I are looking for apartments in Ft. Wayne. Are there any locations or specific apartments that you would recommend?


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