Edgeless Cities: Exploring the Elusive Metropolis

Overview

Edgeless cities are a sprawling form of development that accounts for the bulk of office space found outside of downtowns. Every major metropolitan area has them: vast swaths of isolated buildings that are neither pedestrian friendly, nor easily accessible by public transit, and do not lend themselves to mixed use. While critics of urban sprawl tend to focus on the social impact of "edge cities" —developments that combine large-scale office parks with major retail and housing —edgeless cities, despite their ...

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Edgeless Cities: Exploring the Elusive Metropolis

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Overview

Edgeless cities are a sprawling form of development that accounts for the bulk of office space found outside of downtowns. Every major metropolitan area has them: vast swaths of isolated buildings that are neither pedestrian friendly, nor easily accessible by public transit, and do not lend themselves to mixed use. While critics of urban sprawl tend to focus on the social impact of "edge cities" —developments that combine large-scale office parks with major retail and housing —edgeless cities, despite their ubiquity, are difficult to define or even locate. While they stay under the radar of critics, they represent a significant departure in the way American cities are built and are very likely the harbingers of a suburban future almost no one has anticipated.

Edgeless Cities explores America's new metropolitan form by examining the growth and spatial structure of suburban office space across the nation. Inspired by Myron Orfield's groundbreaking Metropolitics (Brookings, 1997), Robert Lang uses data, illustrations, maps, and photos to delineate between two types of suburban office development —bounded and edgeless. The book covers the evolving geography of rental office space in thirteen of the country's largest markets, which together contain more than 2.6 billion square feet of office space and 26,000 buildings: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Washington.

Lang discusses how edgeless cities differ from traditional office areas. He also provides an overview of national, regional, and metropolitan office markets, covers ways to map and measure them, and discusses the challenges urban policymakers and practitioners will face as this new suburban form continues to spread.

Until now, edgeless cities have been the unstudied phenomena of the new metropolis. Lang's conceptual approach reframes the current thinking on suburban sprawl and provides a valuable resource for future policy discussions surrounding smart growth issues.

Edgeless cities are a sprawling form of development that accounts for the bulk of office space found outside of downtowns. Every major metropolitan area has them: vast swaths of isolated buildings that are neither pedestrian friendly, nor easily accessible by public transit, and do not lend themselves to mixed use. While critics of urban sprawl tend to focus on the social impact of “edge cities”—developments that combine large-scale office parks with major retail and housing—edgeless cities, despite their ubiquity, are difficult to define or even locate. While they stay under the radar of critics, they represent a significant departure in the way American cities are built and are very likely the harbingers of a suburban future almost no one has anticipated.

Edgeless Cities explores America’s new metropolitan form by examining the growth and spatial structure of suburban office space across the nation. Inspired by Myron Orfield’s groundbreaking Metropolitics(Brookings, 1997), Robert Lang uses data, illustrations, maps, and photos to delineate between two types of suburban office development—bounded and edgeless. The book covers the evolving geography of rental office space in thirteen of the country’s largest markets, which together contain more than 2.6 billion square feet of office space and 26,000 buildings: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Washington.

Lang discusses how edgeless cities differ from traditional office areas. He also provides an overview of national, regional, and metropolitan office markets, covers ways to map and measure them, and discusses the challenges urban policymakers and practitioners will face as this new suburban form continues to spread.

Until now, edgeless cities have been the unstudied phenomena of the new metropolis. Lang’s conceptual approach reframes the current thinking on suburban sprawl and provides a valuable resource for future policy discussions surrounding smart growth issues.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"This book promises to be of interest to a wide specialist audience, ranging from urban theorists to city planners and developers." —Stefan Buzar, University of London, Regional Studies

"An informative look at a new form of city development that combines grand-scale office parks with major retail and housing, instead of having the traditional delineated boundaries between home and store." — The Bookwatch

"Robert Lang's Edgeless Cities is real research, not just another antisprawl rant." —Harold Henderson, American Planning Association, Planning, 10/1/2003

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780815706113
  • Publisher: Brookings Institution Press
  • Publication date: 2/28/2003
  • Series: Brookings Metro Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 196
  • Product dimensions: 6.70 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert E. Lang is co director of the Metropolitan Institute and a professor in the Urban Affairs and Planning graduate program at Virginia Tech.

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Table of Contents

Foreword
Preface
1 Introduction
2 Centrists versus Decentrists: The Debate over the New City
3 A Field Guide to the New Metropolis
4 The Battle for Number One: Downtown versus Edgeless Cities
5 Charting the Elusive Metropolis
6 Are Edge Cities Losing Their Edge?
7 The Many Faces of Sprawl
8 Facing the Reality of the Elusive Metropolis
App. A Data Sources
App. B Research Methods
App. C Downtown and Edge Cities: Comparison of the Lang and Garreau Categories
References
Index
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