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This Land

Paperback
, 312 pages

24 halftones

ISBN:
9781421407814
August 2012
$24.95

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This Land

The Battle over Sprawl and the Future of America

Despite a modest revival in city living, Americans are spreading out more than ever—into "exurbs" and "boomburbs" miles from anywhere, in big houses in big subdivisions. We cling to the notion of safer neighborhoods and better schools, but what we get, argues Anthony Flint, is long commutes, crushing gas prices and higher taxes—and a landscape of strip malls and office parks badly in need of a makeover.

This Land tells the untold 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 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, homebuilders, road pavers, financial institutions, and even the lawn-care industry right alongside them.

The subdivisions and extra-wide roadways are encroaching into the wetlands of Florida, ranchlands in Texas, and the desert outside Phoenix and Las Vegas. But with up to 120 million more people in the country by 2050, will the spread-out pattern cave in on itself? Could Americans embrace a new approach to development if it made sense for them?

A veteran journalist who covered planning, development, and housing for the Boston Globe for sixteen years and a visiting scholar in 2005 at the Harvard Design School, Flint reveals some surprising truths about the future and how we live in This Land.

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.

"Engaging, vivid and provocative work. 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."

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

" This Land offers a provocative and insightful overview of the challenges of sprawl. "

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

"Well researched, well written... very personable and readable. Recommended for all readers."

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

"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."

"Cear, well-written overview of the sprawl debate."

"With evidence growing regarding the impact of density on innovation and economic growth, Anthony Flint's excellent This Land couldn't come along at a better time. It's an essential read for those working to understand and build more vibrant and livable communities."

"A revealing portrait of how America lives today. His trenchant chronicling of the emerging smart growth movement's challenge to the suburban sprawl ethos is a clarion call for a national conversation about how the country should grow."

"Among the hundreds of books about metropolitan growth, This Land stands out as an extremely engaging and perceptive chronicle of the current state of the smart growth and new urbanist movements. Highlighting the fundamental American tension between individual and collective purposes, Flint compellingly articulates the challenges ahead."

"This important book is spot-on in its analysis of America's deepening land use problems and refreshingly upbeat in its account of win-win solutions arising around the country. Flint's fingertip knowledge of detail is especially to be admired."

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

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