The Geography of Nowhere: The Rise and Decline of America's Man-made Landscapeby James Howard Kunstler
In elegant and often hilarious prose, Kunstler depicts our nation's evolution from
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The Geography of Nowhere traces America's evolution from a nation of Main Streets and coherent communities to a land where every place is like no place in particular, where the cities are dead zones and the countryside is a wasteland of cartoon architecture and parking lots.
In elegant and often hilarious prose, Kunstler depicts our nation's evolution from the Pilgrim settlements to the modern auto suburb in all its ghastliness. The Geography of Nowhere tallies up the huge economic, social, and spiritual costs that America is paying for its car-crazed lifestyle. It is also a wake-up call for citizens to reinvent the places where we live and work, to build communities that are once again worthy of our affection. Kunstler proposes that by reviving civic art and civic life, we will rediscover public virtue and a new vision of the common good. "The future will require us to build better places," Kunstler says, "or the future will belong to other people in other societies."
First published in 1993, The Geography of Nowhere has become a touchstone work in the past two decades, its incisive commentary giving language to the feeling of millions of Americans that our nation's suburban environments were ceasing to be credible human habitats. Since that time, the work has inspired city planners, architects, legislators, designers and citizens everywhere. In this special 20th Anniversary edition, dozens of authors and experts in various fields share their perspective on James Howard Kunstler's brave and seminal work.
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Meet the Author
James Howard Kunstler says he wrote The Geography of Nowhere, “Because I believe a lot of people share my feelings about the tragic landscape of highway strips, parking lots, housing tracts, mega-malls, junked cities, and ravaged countryside that makes up the everyday environment where most Americans live and work.”
Home From Nowhere was a continuation of that discussion with an emphasis on the remedies. A portion of it appeared as the cover story in the September 1996 Atlantic Monthly.
His next book in the series, The City in Mind: Notes on the Urban Condition, published by Simon & Schuster / Free Press, is a look a wide-ranging look at cities here and abroad, an inquiry into what makes them great (or miserable), and in particular what America is going to do with it’s mutilated cities.
This was followed by The Long Emergency, published by the Atlantic Monthly Press in 2005, is about the challenges posed by the coming permanent global oil crisis, climate change, and other “converging catastrophes of the 21st Century.”
His 2008 novel, World Made By Hand, was a fictional depiction of the post-oil American future. The sequel to that book, “The Witch of Hebron,” was published in 2010.
Mr. Kunstler is also the author of eight other novels including The Halloween Ball, An Embarrassment of Riches and Maggie Darling, all available as ebooks. He is a regular contributor to the New York Times Sunday Magazine and Op-Ed page, where he has written on environmental and economic issues.
Mr. Kunstler was born in New York City in 1948. He moved to the Long Island suburbs in 1954 and returned to the city in 1957 where he spent most of his childhood. He graduated from the State University of New York, Brockport campus, worked as a reporter and feature writer for a number of newspapers, and finally as a staff writer forRolling Stone Magazine. In 1975, he dropped out to write books on a full-time basis. He has no formal training in architecture or the related design fields.
He has lectured at Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Dartmouth, Cornell, MIT, RPI, the University of Virginia and many other colleges, and he has appeared before many professional organizations such as the AIA , the APA., and the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
He lives in Saratoga Springs in upstate New York. Visit him at Kunstler.com
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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If you want to understand how suburban sprawl became THE living arrangement in America and why it is one without a future, read this book. Kunstler writes vividly and with passion. He helps us understand why our physical environment is so depressing and inhumane, how it came to pass, and what we can do to fix it (hint: build walkable communities). He identifies clearly what's wrong and gives us a language to talk about it (the "nature band-aids" around wide avenues and highways).
I read this book for a class I'm taking. This is the thesis statement I came up with. The ruinous pattern of demolishing small towns, consequent communities and main streets with replacing them with hidious urban sprawls, superhighways, and parking lots has caused many problems over time.