Dead End: Suburban Sprawl and the Rebirth of American Urbanism

Paperback | December 14, 2015

byBenjamin Ross

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More than five decades have passed since Jane Jacobs wrote her classic The Death and Life of Great American Cities, and since a front page headline in the New York Times read, "Cars Choking Cities as 'Urban Sprawl' Takes Over." Yet sprawl persists, and not by mistake. It happens for a reason.As an activist and a scholar, Benjamin Ross is uniquely placed to diagnose why this is so. Dead End traces how the ideal of a safe, green, orderly retreat where hardworking members of the middle class could raise their children away from the city mutated into the McMansion and strip mall-riddensuburbs of today. Ross finds that sprawl is much more than bad architecture and sloppy planning. Its roots are historical, sociological, and economic. He uses these insights to lay out a practical strategy for change, honed by his experience leading the largest grass-roots mass transit advocacyorganization in the United States. The problems of smart growth, sustainability, transportation, and affordable housing, he argues, are intertwined and must be solved as a whole. The two keys to creating better places to live are expansion of rail transit and a more genuinely democratic oversight ofland use.Dead End is, ultimately, about the places where we live our lives. Both an engaging history of suburbia and an invaluable guide for today's urbanist, it will serve as a primer for anyone interested in how Americans actually live.

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More than five decades have passed since Jane Jacobs wrote her classic The Death and Life of Great American Cities, and since a front page headline in the New York Times read, "Cars Choking Cities as 'Urban Sprawl' Takes Over." Yet sprawl persists, and not by mistake. It happens for a reason.As an activist and a scholar, Benjamin Ross ...

Benjamin Ross was president of Maryland's Action Committee for Transit for 15 years, which grew under his leadership into the nation's largest grass-roots transit advocacy group. He is a consultant on environmental problems and served on committees of the National Academy of Sciences and EPA Science Advisory Board. He writes frequently...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:256 pages, 9.21 × 6.1 × 0.79 inPublished:December 14, 2015Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:019026330X

ISBN - 13:9780190263300

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Table of Contents

Introduction - Escape from the suburbsPart I - Getting Hooked1. The strange birth of suburbia2. Planners and embalmers3. Government-sponsored sprawl4. Ticky-tacky boxes5. Jane Jacobs vs. the planners6. Saving the city7. The age of the nimbyPart II - The Sprawl Addiction8. Spreading like cancer9. The war of greed against snobbery10. A new thirst for city life11. Backlash from the right12. The language of land usePart III - How to Kick the Habit13. Struggles for smart growth14. Democratic urbanism15. Affordable housing in an ownership economy16. On track toward livable citiesAfterword

Editorial Reviews

"...exceedingly readable and thoroughly engaging. This fantastic book effectively channels the spirit of Jane Jacobs in both erudition and dedication to the life of cities in the US. Highly recommended." --CHOICE