Summary of Suburban Nation

The Rise of Sprawl and the Decline of the American Dream

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Suburban Nation book summary
Suburban spread is spreading, wrapping tentacles of traffic and congestion around underutilized central cities. But neighborhood planning can save lawn-mower-ville.


7 Overall

4 Applicability

8 Innovation

6 Style


Think of a typical suburb, and you’ll conjure images of congested traffic, tacky convenience stores and unattractive strip malls. This development pattern is suburban sprawl. Sprawl strictly segregates offices, homes, shopping centers and schools. Even simple errands require a car. Authors and urban planners Andres Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk decry sprawl as a costly, inefficient and deeply unsatisfying way to live. Heavy traffic in boomtowns like Atlanta, Orlando, and Phoenix demonstrates sprawl’s detrimental effects on the quality of life. The alternative is traditional neighborhood development, such as in San Francisco and Boston, where it’s possible to walk to stores and take mass transit to work. This cogent, if strident, manifesto against sprawl includes both the ugly truth and the beautiful alternative. recommends this book to executives and anyone else interested in the future and well being of the suburban neighborhoods that house their businesses and their families.

In this summary, you will learn

  • Why sprawl took over the traditional neighborhood
  • Why sprawl is a costly and unsatisfying way to live
  • How city planners can cure sprawl


is Sprawl?
Suburban sprawl has defined development in the U.S. since World War II. Sprawl is a rootless gathering of housing developments, strip malls, and office parks. Each type of property is strictly segregated, so that you can’t even go to the store to buy a gallon of milk on foot...
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About the Authors

Andres Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk head Duany Plater-Zyberk & Co., a Miami-based firm that has designed more than 200 neighborhoods and communities. Its best-known creations are Seaside, Florida, and Kentlands, Maryland. Plater-Zyberk is dean of the School of Architecture at the University of Miami. Jeff Speck is director of town planning at Duany Plater-Zyberk. He is a former investment banker and art historian.

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