Home from Nowhere: Remaking Our Everyday World for the 21st Century

Overview

In Home from Nowhere Kunstler explores the growing movement across America to restore the physical dwelling place of our civilization. Picking up where The Geography of Nowhere left off, Kunstler describes precisely how the American Dream of a little cottage in a natural landscape mutated into today's sprawling automobile suburb in all its ghastliness, and why "we are going to run shrieking from it to a better world." He locates in our national psychology the origin of Americans' traditional dislike for city ...
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1st Edition, Fine/Fine Clean, bright & tight. No ink names, tears, chips, foxing etc. Price unclipped. ISBN 0684811960

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New York, NY 2013 Hard cover First edition. New ed. STATED1ST ED., 1ST PRINTING New in new dust jacket. BRIGHT SHINY BRAND NEW, VERY VERY SLIGHTEST SURFACE RUB ON DJ Sewn ... binding. Cloth over boards. 318 p. Audience: General/trade. Read more Show Less

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Overview

In Home from Nowhere Kunstler explores the growing movement across America to restore the physical dwelling place of our civilization. Picking up where The Geography of Nowhere left off, Kunstler describes precisely how the American Dream of a little cottage in a natural landscape mutated into today's sprawling automobile suburb in all its ghastliness, and why "we are going to run shrieking from it to a better world." He locates in our national psychology the origin of Americans' traditional dislike for city life, and what this implies about our ability to get along with one another. Most important, Home from Nowhere offers real hope for a nation yearning to live in authentic places worth caring about. Kunstler calls for a wholehearted restoration of traditional architecture and town planning based on enduring principles of design. He declares that the public realm matters, and that it must be honored and embellished in order to make civic life possible. He argues that the idea of beauty must be readmitted to intellectual respectability. From Seaside on the Florida panhandle, a bold experiment to create a radically better form of land development, to the reclamation of inner city neighborhoods, Kunstler documents the movement to revive American communities and a shared sense of place - presenting the crisis of our landscape and townscape that is at the center of the debate about this nation's future.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In a slashing, fervent, practical, brilliant critique of the philosophyor lack thereofunderpinning today's dismal American cities and isolating suburbs, Kunstler argues that our streets, malls, parks, civic buildings and houses frustrate innate psychological needs, violate human scale and thwart our desire to participate in the larger world. An architectural design critic The Geography of Nowhere and a novelist, he champions "new urbanism," an architectural reform movement dedicated to producing cohesive, mixed-use neighborhoods for people of widely different incomes, neighborhoods resembling U.S. towns prior to WWII. Using photos and line drawings throughout, he highlights numerous new urbanism-inspired projects around the country, from Seaside, a resort town on the Florida panhandle, to redevelopment schemes in Providence, Memphis, Columbus and Corning, N.Y. He also lashes what he considers the major obstacles to new urbanism-banks that make loans only to projects creating more suburban sprawl; stifling zoning laws; and a property-tax system that punishes builders of quality and "rewards those who let existing buildings go to hell." First serial to the Atlantic. Oct.
Library Journal
Kunstler hits the ground running in this sequel to his highly acclaimed Geography of Nowhere LJ 5/1/93, which assailed in no uncertain terms the consumer wasteland that Americans now habitate. As in his previous work, Kunstler takes as his point of departure the insidious rise of the automobile as the first blow to the disintegration of our communities and moves toward proposals for restoring the civic dimension to our lives. He writes eloquently of the bitter legacy of slavery in forging today's urban black underclass and takes on the thorny, unsexy issues of zoning and property taxes. Kunstler has embraced the progressive philosophy of the "new urbanism," characterized by its sensitivity to building to human scale and demonstrated most effectively in the experiment of Seaside, Florida, designed by Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk and Adres Duany. His text offers numerous analyses of urban form via diagrams, graphs, and charts, e.g., how a street should be designed. His book is a jolly rant of fiercely held personal convictions that is intended to provoke his readers to action. An essential purchase.-Thomas P.R. Nugent, New York
Kirkus Reviews
A somewhat disjointed but still thought-provoking examination of the ways in which American cities and towns make us bad citizens.

In The Geography of Nowhere (1993) Kunstler took on the blandness and monoculture of the American suburb. Here he extends his sometimes scattershot argument to remark that while suburbs are "a profoundly uncivil living arrangement," our cities are increasingly remade as if to intentionally prevent the human interaction from which civil society grows. "It is hard," he writes, "to imagine a culture less concerned than ours with the things that make life worth living," like clean, tree-lined streets and self-contained neighborhoods. His argument is diffuse, sometimes unfocused, but Kunstler's call to reinvent our towns is nonetheless well taken. Along the way, he offers reports on communities attempting to fight back; analyzes the decline of the unzoned, multiple-use, Main Street in favor of compartmentalized residential, commercial, and industrial zones; looks at the segregation of the poor into housing projects that keep them from interacting with other social classes; and examines the advent of a modernist architectural aesthetic that says, he maintains, "We don't care what goes on outside our building." Among the high points in a book full of good observations is a clear discourse on property taxes, as well as Kunstler's rant that since WW II we have become, "by sheer inertia, a nation of overfed clowns, crybabies, slackers, deadbeats, sadists, cads, whores, and crooks." These are harsh words from a self-described old hippie, but Kunstler's attack on a society that seems bent on denying its problems is not at all unwelcome.

Give this good book, which dreams of life "in a nice town in a civilized country," to your local town planner.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780684811963
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • Publication date: 10/1/1996
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 9.46 (w) x 6.40 (h) x 1.06 (d)

Meet the Author

James Kunstler
James Howard Kunstler is the author of eight novels. He has worked as a newspaper reporter and an editor for Rolling Stone, and is a frequent contributor to The New York Times Sunday Magazine. He lives in upstate New York.
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