The Battle over Sprawl and the Future of America
Despite a modest revival in city living, Americans are spreading out more than ever—into "exurbs" and "boomburbs" miles from anywhere, in big houses in big subdivisions. We cling to the notion of safer neighborhoods and better schools, but what we get, argues Anthony Flint, is long commutes, crushing gas prices and higher taxes—and a landscape of strip malls and office parks badly in need of a makeover. This Land tells the untold story of development in America—how the landscape is shaped by a furious clash of political, economic and cultural forces. It is the story of burgeoning anti-sprawl movement, a 1960s-style revolution of New Urbanism, smart growth, and green building. And it is the story of landowners fighting back on the basis of property rights, with free-market libertarians, homebuilders, road pavers, financial institutions, and even the lawn-care industry right alongside them. The subdivisions and extra-wide roadways are encroaching into the wetlands of Florida, ranchlands in Texas, and the desert outside Phoenix and Las Vegas. But with up to 120 million more people in the country by 2050, will the spread-out pattern cave in on itself? Could Americans embrace a new approach to development if it made sense for them? A veteran journalist who covered planning, development, and housing for the Boston Globe for sixteen years and a visiting scholar in 2005 at the Harvard Design School, Flint reveals some surprising truths about the future and how we live in This Land.