This Land: The Battle over Sprawl and the Future of America by Anthony Flint

By Anthony Flint

Despite a modest revival in urban residing, american citizens are spreading out greater than ever—into "exurbs" and "boomburbs" miles from wherever, in significant homes in titanic subdivisions. We dangle to the idea of more secure neighborhoods and higher colleges, yet what we get, argues Anthony Flint, is lengthy commutes, crushing fuel costs and better taxes—and a panorama of strip shops and workplace parks badly wanting a makeover.

This Land tells the untold tale of improvement in America—how the panorama is formed by means of a livid conflict of political, monetary and cultural forces. it's the tale of burgeoning anti-sprawl circulate, a 1960s-style revolution of recent Urbanism, clever progress, and eco-friendly construction. And it's the tale of landowners struggling with again at the foundation of estate rights, with free-market libertarians, homebuilders, street pavers, monetary associations, or even the lawn-care correct along them.

The subdivisions and extra-wide roadways are encroaching into the wetlands of Florida, ranchlands in Texas, and the wilderness outdoor Phoenix and Las Vegas. yet with as much as one hundred twenty million extra humans within the kingdom by means of 2050, will the spread-out trend collapse on itself? may perhaps americans embody a brand new method of improvement if it made feel for them?

A veteran journalist who coated making plans, improvement, and housing for the Boston Globe for 16 years and a traveling pupil in 2005 on the Harvard layout college, Flint unearths a few staggering truths concerning the destiny and the way we are living in This Land.

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Extra info for This Land: The Battle over Sprawl and the Future of America

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By 1920, Los Angeles, home to more cars than anywhere else in the world, was the first city essentially planned around the car. The filmmaking capital actually had an extensive network of streetcars, but when private cars started jostling with the trolleys and competing for space the 1,100 miles of rail got the boot. In one of the stories that antisprawl activists love to tell, General Motors, Firestone, and Standard Oil bought up the trolley cars and forced a conversion to buses. GM was convicted of conspiracy for the ploy, repeated in some fashion in forty-five other cities.

Olmsted’s influence was felt here as well, leading to strict codes regulating landscaping and the distances homes should be set back from the street. ” Howard wanted to make a middle landscape available to everyone—a blend of town and country, connected to each other by transit routes. Howard suggested there were three “magnets” for human habitation—town, country, and the town-country mix. The extensive green space and lower densities served as a tonic for urbanism’s perceived excesses, although a significant premium remained on proximity to urbanity and culture.

The postwar suburban hegemony—and the abandonment of the traditional, more compact, town center–style neighborhoods built until World War II—is reflected in images from the Eisenhower age, of tail fins and manicured lawns and driveways and garages and television sets glowing in climate-controlled living rooms. Boosted by innovations in communications and advertising, spread-out suburban living was heavily marketed. One magazine ad for General Motors boasted that better cars made cities “explode .

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