Book: A Field Guide to Sprawl

In A Field Guide to Sprawl (W.W. Norton & Co. 2004), Dolores Hayden, professor of architecture and American studies at Yale, explains what terms like duck, ruburb, tower farm, big box, pig-in-a-python, and boomburb (at left) mean, along with dozens of other weird terms invented by real estate developers and designers that have come to characterize land use practices and the physical elements of sprawl... Based on the fact that sprawl is somewhat difficult to define, the book takes a look at the unfettered growth of the city into suburb and beyond, explains common building patterns, and illustrates the visual culture of the issue. Loads of aerial photographs paired with definitions convey the impact of excessive development and provide a vernacular—perhaps a necessary one—for us to begin the discussion of this blob-like phenomenon. Luckily, Dolores is rather snarky and humorous, because—hey—if you weren’t laughing, you’d be crying. Also check out WBUR (Boston's NPR station) for some great pics and entries from this book. $24.95 Via Dwell ::W.W. Norton & Co. [by MO]

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