Dead End: Suburban Sprawl and the Rebirth of American Urbanism

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9780199360147: Dead End: Suburban Sprawl and the Rebirth of American Urbanism

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-ridden suburbs 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 advocacy organization 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 of land 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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About the Author:


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 on political and social topics in Dissent Magazine and is the author of The Polluters: The Making of Our Chemically Altered Environment.

Review:


"I've studied a lot of books on New Urbanism. Every once and a long while one of them opens my eyes to an entirely new way of thinking. Such is Dead End." --Robert Steuteville, Better! Cities & Towns


"Ben Ross' Dead End is a highly personal account of a larger journey that we are embarked on as a nation -- from sprawl to walkable communities, from anoxic, sterile neighborhoods to vibrant, transit-served urban areas that are the wellspring of innovation, economic development and cultural richness." --John Porcari, Former Deputy Secretary, United States Department of Transportation


"Ben Ross paints the big picture of the battle between sprawl and community from the historic perspective, to the current conflicts to a vision of better land use process. Always focused on the human perspective with subjects as diverse as Jane Jacobs and Pete Seeger to Snob Zoning and Agenda 21, Dead End is an exciting, easy read." --Parris N. Glendening, President, Smart Growth America's Leadership Institute, and former Governor of Maryland (1995-2003)


"This impressively researched and documented history explains the huge pressures for maintaining a status quo that supports sprawl and is unfriendly to walkable cities. Ross argues convincingly that rail transit is 'the political and mental key that opens the door to urban change.'" --Ross Capon, President & CEO, National Association of Railroad Passengers


"...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


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Book Description Oxford University Press Inc, United States, 2014. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. 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-ridden suburbs 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 advocacy organization 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 of land 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 urbanists, it will serve as a primer for anyone interested in how Americans actually live. Bookseller Inventory # BTE9780199360147

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Book Description Oxford University Press, USA May 2014, 2014. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. 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-ridden suburbs 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 advocacy organization 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 of land 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 urbanists, it will serve as a primer for anyone interested in how Americans actually live. 'A witty, readable, and highly original tour through the history of America's suburbs and cities to uncover the human impulses that keep sprawl spreading'--. Bookseller Inventory # 195149

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