This Land: The Battle over Sprawl and the Future of America / Edition 1

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This Land is the story of development in America—how the landscape is shaped by a furious clash of political, economic, and cultural forces. It is the story of the burgeoning anti-sprawl movement, a 1960s-style revolution of New Urbanism, smart growth, and green building. And it is the story of landowners fighting back on the basis of property rights, with free-market libertarians who have since morphed into the Tea Party, home builders, road pavers, financial institutions, and even the lawn-care industry right alongside them.

Anthony Flint's updated introduction explores the burst housing bubble of 2008, when the epicenters of sprawl—Florida, Arizona, Nevada, California's Central Valley, the intermountain West—were hardest hit. After the crisis they became home to foreclosures and zombie subdivisions.

"Those who truly hate sprawl and want to fight back would be well advised to read this book."— Audubon

"A provocative and insightful overview of the challenges of sprawl."— Boston Globe

"Flint provides a historical perspective on how we became a suburban nation... with the easy-flowing, narrative skill of a journalist."— Architecture Boston

"As an inquiry into the backlash against 'smart growth'... it offers valuable insights and unsettling observations from the frontlines of the battles over land use and suburban development."— Urban Affairs Review

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
In this engaging, vivid, and provocative work, journalist Flint (Boston Globe) consolidates years of covering the causes and effects of sprawl (unplanned suburban expansion calling for increased reliance upon cars). His sympathies for those attempting to prevent further sprawl are apparent, but he still approaches various groups with a dispassionately critical eye, examining the so-called New Urbanists dedicated to walking neighborhoods, smart-growth proponents focused on transportation structures, and even Earth Liberation Front activists deemed terrorists by the FBI. Flint acknowledges the various shortcomings of these disparate efforts but saves his most severe criticism for "Sprawl, Inc.," the powerful coterie of libertarians, academics, and developers who use misleading rhetoric to label any government intervention social engineering, thus blithely disregarding both the intentional government policies that initially shaped suburbanization and the continuing, often hidden subsidization of sprawl. Concluding with suggestions intended to frame sprawl opposition as conservative rather than liberal, Flint neglects affordable housing but generally makes a creative and convincing case. Written with analytical rigor but also a crafty journalistic eye for the human-interest story that crystallizes an abstract theme, this book merits inclusion in any library and may spark discussion as misguided housing patterns reach crisis proportions.-Whitney Strub, UCLA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Midwest Book Review

This Land is an important discussion of the future of America, its cities, and what lies outside of it.

New Urban News - Philip Langdon

A panoramic and extraordinarily up-to-date account of the struggle over how America builds.

Architecture Boston - Lawrence Bluestone

Flint provides a historical perspective on how we became a suburban nation... with the easy-flowing, narrative skill of a journalist.

Urban Affairs Review - Tom Urbaniak

As an inquiry into the backlash against 'smart growth'... it offers valuable insights and unsettling observations from the frontlines of the battles over land use and suburban development.

Berkeley Planning Journal - Jackie Begley

Cear, well-written overview of the sprawl debate.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801884191
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
  • Publication date: 4/7/2006
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 312
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.06 (d)

Meet the Author

Anthony Flint is a fellow and director of public affairs at the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He is the author of Wrestling with Moses: How Jane Jacobs Took on New York's Master Builder and Transformed the American City.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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