Suburban Nation: The Rise of Sprawl and the Decline of the American Dream

Front Cover
Macmillan, Apr 16, 2001 - Architecture - 293 pages
165 Reviews
A manifesto by America's most controversial and celebrated town planners, proposing an alternative model for community design.

There is a growing movement in North America to put an end to suburban sprawl and to replace the automobile-based settlement patterns of the past fifty years with a return to more traditional planning principles. This movement stems not only from the realization that sprawl is ecologically and economically unsustainable but also from a growing awareness of sprawl's many victims: children, utterly dependent on parental transportation if they wish to escape the cul-de-sac; the elderly, warehoused in institutions once they lose their driver's licenses; the middle class, stuck in traffic for two or more hours each day.

Founders of the Congress for the New Urbanism, Andres Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk are at the forefront of this movement, and in Suburban Nation they assess sprawl's costs to society, be they ecological, economic, aesthetic, or social. It is a lively, thorough, critical lament, and an entertaining lesson on the distinctions between postwar suburbia-characterized by housing clusters, strip shopping centers, office parks, and parking lots-and the traditional neighborhoods that were built as a matter of course until mid-century. It is an indictment of the entire development community, including governments, for the fact that America no longer builds towns. Most important, though, it is that rare book that also offers solutions.

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
4 stars
3 stars
2 stars
1 star

Great book, very educational. - Goodreads
I've only read the intro and already love it. - Goodreads
This is a great introduction to New Urbanism. - Goodreads
the book that helped set me on my research direction! - Goodreads
I use it all the time for reference. - Goodreads

Review: Suburban Nation: The Rise of Sprawl and the Decline of the American Dream

User Review  - Paul - Goodreads

A natural stairstep from Jane Jacobs "Life and Death of Great American Cities". This fantastically interesting book is an overview of how sprawl came to be and what it's doing to us as a people. As ... Read full review

Review: Suburban Nation: The Rise of Sprawl and the Decline of the American Dream

User Review  - Eliza - Goodreads

Probably the finest, well sritten book ever - about urban sprawl and why governments can so negatively impede progress! Read full review


What Is Sprawl and Why?
The Devil Is in the Details
The House That Sprawl Built
The Physical Creation of Society
The American Transportation Mess
Sprawl and the Developer
The Victims of Sprawl
The City and the Region
The Inner City
How to Make a Town
Development Checklist
The Congress for the New Urbanism
Sources of Illustrations

Common terms and phrases

References to this book

All Book Search results »

About the author (2001)

Andres Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk lead a firm that has designed more than 200 new neighborhoods and community revitalization plans, most notably Seaside, Florida. Jeff Speck is director of town planning for the firm.

Bibliographic information