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As anyone who has flown into Los Angeles at dusk or Houston at midday knows, urban areas today defy traditional notions of what a city is. Our old definitions of urban, suburban, and rural fail to capture the complexity of these vast regions with their superhighways, subdivisions, industrial areas, office parks, and resort areas pushing far out into the countryside. Detractors call it sprawl and assert that it is economically inefficient, socially inequitable, environmentally irresponsible, and aesthetically ugly. Robert Bruegmann calls it a logical consequence of economic growth and the democratization of society, with benefits that urban planners have failed to recognize. In his incisive history of the expanded city, Bruegmann overturns every assumption we have about sprawl. Taking a long view of urban development, he demonstrates that sprawl is neither recent nor particularly American but as old as cities themselves, just as characteristic of ancient Rome and eighteenth-century Paris as it is of Atlanta or Los Angeles. Nor is sprawl the disaster claimed by many contemporary observers. Although sprawl, like any settlement pattern, has undoubtedly produced problems that must be addressed, it has also provided millions of people with the kinds of mobility, privacy, and choice that were once the exclusive prerogatives of the rich and powerful. The first major book to strip urban sprawl of its pejorative connotations, Sprawl offers a completely new vision of the city and its growth. Bruegmann leads readers to the powerful conclusion that "in its immense complexity and constant change, the city-whether dense and concentrated at its core, looser and more sprawling in suburbia, or in the vast tracts of exurban penumbra that extend dozens, even hundreds, of miles-is the grandest and most marvelous work of mankind." “Largely missing from this debate [over sprawl] has been a sound and reasoned history of this pattern of living. With Robert Bruegmann’s Sprawl: A Compact History, we now have one. What a pleasure it is: well-written, accessible and eager to challenge the current cant about sprawl.”—Joel Kotkin, The Wall Street Journal “There are scores of books offering ‘solutions’ to sprawl. Their authors would do well to read this book.”—Witold Rybczynski, Slate
A history of the expanded city and of urban sprawl offers a new vision of the city and its growth and refutes commonly held assumptions about sprawl in suburbia, urban areas, and other locales near major urban centers.
There is a wealth of research and literature explaining suburban sprawl and the urgent need to retrofit suburbia. However, until now there has been no single guide that directly explains how to repair typical sprawl elements. The Sprawl Repair Manual demonstrates a step-by-step design process for the re-balancing and re-urbanization of suburbia into more sustainable, economical, energy- and resource-efficient patterns, from the region and the community to the block and the individual building. As Galina Tachieva asserts in this exceptionally useful book, sprawl repair will require a proactive and aggressive approach, focused on design, regulation and incentives. The Sprawl Repair Manual is a much-needed, single-volume reference for fixing sprawl, incorporating changes into the regulatory system, and implementing repairs through incentives and permitting strategies. This manual specifies the expertise that’s needed and details the techniques and algorithms of sprawl repair within the context of reducing the financial and ecological footprint of urban growth. The Sprawl Repair Manual draws on more than two decades of practical experience in the field of repairing and building communities to analyze the current pattern of sprawl development, disassemble it into its elemental components, and present a process for transforming them into human-scale, sustainable elements. The techniques are illustrated both two- and three-dimensionally, providing users with clear methodologies for the sprawl repair interventions, some of which are radical, but all of which will produce positive results.
Considered one of the city's most notorious industrial slums in the 1940s and 1950s, Brownstone Brooklyn by the 1980s had become a post-industrial landscape of hip bars, yoga studios, and beautifully renovated, wildly expensive townhouses. In The Invention of Brownstone Brooklyn, Suleiman Osman offers a groundbreaking history of this unexpected transformation. Challenging the conventional wisdom that New York City's renaissance started in the 1990s, Osman locates the origins of gentrification in Brooklyn in the cultural upheavals of the 1960s and 1970s. Gentrification began as a grassroots movement led by young and idealistic white college graduates searching for "authenticity" and life outside the burgeoning suburbs. Where postwar city leaders championed slum clearance and modern architecture, "brownstoners" (as they called themselves) fought for a new romantic urban ideal that celebrated historic buildings, industrial lofts and traditional ethnic neighborhoods as a refuge from an increasingly technocratic society. Osman examines the emergence of a "slow-growth" progressive coalition as brownstoners joined with poorer residents to battle city planners and local machine politicians. But as brownstoners migrated into poorer areas, race and class tensions emerged, and by the 1980s, as newspapers parodied yuppies and anti-gentrification activists marched through increasingly expensive neighborhoods, brownstoners debated whether their search for authenticity had been a success or failure.
America has become a nation of suburbs. Confronting the popular image of suburbia as simply a refuge for affluent whites, The New Suburban History rejects the stereotypes of a conformist and conflict-free suburbia. The seemingly calm streets of suburbia were, in fact, battlegrounds over race, class, and politics. With this collection, Kevin Kruse and Thomas Sugrue argue that suburbia must be understood as a central factor in the modern American experience. Kruse and Sugrue here collect ten essays—augmented by their provocative introduction—that challenge our understanding of suburbia. Drawing from original research on suburbs across the country, the contributors recast important political and social issues in the context of suburbanization. Their essays reveal the role suburbs have played in the transformation of American liberalism and conservatism; the contentious politics of race, class, and ethnicity; and debates about the environment, land use, and taxation. The contributors move the history of African Americans, Latinos, Asians, and blue-collar workers from the margins to the mainstream of suburban history. From this broad perspective, these innovative historians explore the way suburbs affect—and are affected by—central cities, competing suburbs, and entire regions. The results, they show, are far-reaching: the emergence of a suburban America has reshaped national politics, fostered new social movements, and remade the American landscape. The New Suburban History offers nothing less than a new American history—one that claims the nation cannot be fully understood without a history of American suburbs at its very center.
When it comes to large-scale public housing in the United States, the consensus for the past decades has been to let the wrecking balls fly. The demolition of infamous projects such as Pruitt-Igoe in St. Louis and the towers of Cabrini-Green in Chicago represent to most Americans the fate of all public housing. Yet one notable exception to this national tragedy remains. The New York City Housing Authority, America's largest public housing manager, still maintains over 400,000 tenants in its vast and well-run high-rise projects. While by no means utopian, New York City's public housing remains an acceptable and affordable option. The story of New York's success where so many other housing authorities faltered has been ignored for too long. Public Housing That Worked shows how New York's administrators, beginning in the 1930s, developed a rigorous system of public housing management that weathered a variety of social and political challenges. A key element in the long-term viability of New York's public housing has been the constant search for better methods in fields such as tenant selection, policing, renovation, community affairs, and landscape design. Nicholas Dagen Bloom presents the achievements that contradict the common wisdom that public housing projects are inherently unmanageable. By focusing on what worked, rather than on the conventional history of failure and blame, Bloom provides useful models for addressing the current crisis in affordable urban housing. Public Housing That Worked is essential reading for practitioners and scholars in the areas of public policy, urban history, planning, criminal justice, affordable housing management, social work, and urban affairs.
Drawing on remarkably frank, in-depth interviews with 160 successful men in the United States and France, Michele Lamont provides a rare and revealing collective portrait of the upper-middle class - the managers, professionals, entrepreneurs, and experts at the center of power in society. Her book is a subtle, textured description of how these men define the values and attitudes they consider essential in separating themselves - and their class - from everyone else. For Lamont, the boundaries of class are not marked by economics alone. She goes beyond crude categories of status and simple measures of taste, wealth, and possessions to reveal the role of moral and cultural distinctions in setting the boundaries between the upper-middle class and those above and below. Central to her analysis - and to the identity of the men she interviewed - is the idea of a virtuous or worthy person: members of the upper-middle class constantly define themselves and others by making distinctions along this moral dimension. There are important differences, however, within the upper-middle class and between national cultures. Living in a cosmopolitan city like New York or Paris is different than living in a more provincial center like Indianapolis or Clermont-Ferrand; those working in the profit sector hold very different values than do those working for nonprofit organizations; and American men place more emphasis on financial success than do their French counterparts, who value personal integrity and cultural refinement more. Unprecedented in its comparative reach, Money, Morals, and Manners is an ambitious and sophisticated attempt to illuminate the nature of social class in modern society. For allthose who downplay the importance of unequal social groups, it will be a revelation.

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