Sprawl, Justice, and Citizenship: The Civic Costs of the American Way of Life

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Oxford, England 2010 Hard cover New in new dust jacket. Glued binding. Cloth over boards. With dust jacket. 404 p. Contains: Tables, black & white. Audience: General/trade.

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Must the strip mall and the eight-lane highway define 21st century American life? That is a central question posed by critics of suburban and exurban living in America. Yet despite the ubiquity of the critique, it never sticks-Americans by the scores of millions have willingly moved into sprawling developments over the past few decades. Americans find many of the more substantial criticisms of sprawl easy to ignore because they often come across as snobbish in tone. Yet as Thad Williamson explains, sprawl does create real, measurable social problems. Utilizing a landmark 30,000-person survey, he shows that sprawl fosters civic disengagement, accentuates inequality, and negatively impacts the environment. Yet, while he highlights the deleterious effects of sprawl on civic life in America, he is also evenhanded. He does not dismiss the pastoral, homeowning ideal that is at the root of sprawl, and is sympathetic to the vast numbers of Americans who very clearly prefer it. Sprawl, Justice, and Citizenship is not only be the most comprehensive work in print on the subject, it will be the first to offer an empirically rigorous critique of the most popular form of living in America today.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A timely, novel study of sprawl and its multifaceted impacts on society...This work is an especially important and welcome contribution to the literature on sprawl because it eloquently makes the connection among sprawl, liberal egalitarianism, and civic participation in ways not previously seen. Without a doubt, Williamson has provided one of the most provocative and balanced works on sprawl to date. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All readership levels." —CHOICE

"Thad Williamson's book analyzing urban sprawl is a triumph of content over form. The book is unusual... A definitive analysis of sprawl that should be widely read by urbanists of all stripes." —Contemporary Sociology

"Williamson combines a rich comparative discussion of these three strands of normative political theory with empirical data... [and] has given us an important and thorough assessment of the 'core values at stake in the debate' (p. 10) about sprawl and urban form." —Political Science Quarterly

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195369434
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 5/12/2010
  • Pages: 416
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Thad Williamson is Assistant Professor of Leadership Studies and Political Science at the University of Richmond. He is co-winner of the American Political Science Association's Harold Lasswell Award for best dissertation in public policy in 2004, and lead co-author of Making a Place for Community.

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction: Sprawl as a Moral Issue
2. Defining, Explaining, and Measuring Sprawl
3. Counting Costs and Benefits: Is Sprawl Efficient?
4. Do People Like Sprawl (And So What If They Do?)
5. Is Sprawl Fair? Liberal Egalitarianism and Sprawl
6. Liberal Egalitarianism in a Cul-de-Sac? Sprawl, Liberal Virtue, and Social Solidarity
7. Sprawl, Civic Virtue, and the Political Economy of Citizenship
8. You Can't March on a Strip Mall: Sprawl and Civic Disengagement
9. Sprawl, the Environment, and Climate Change
10. Reforming Sprawl, and Beyond

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