Sprawl: History Or Myth?

A critical review of Robert Bruegmann's book 'Sprawl: A Compact History' asserts that Bruegmann's work exemplifies several common myths about sprawl.
September 19, 2006, 11am PDT | Michael Lewyn
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The most unusual part of Bruegmann's book is his use of history to defend the status quo; he implies that the urge for sprawl is eternal, based on precedents as far apart as ancient Rome and America today. But this theory overlooks the differences between pedestrian-friendly cities with some sprawling development and cities in which automobile-dependent sprawl is the only choice available to most consumers.

In addition, Bruegmann underestimates the role of government subsidies and regulation in creating the American status quo, and understates the harmful social effects of sprawl, especially the effect of automobile-dependent development upon nondrivers.

Thanks to Michael Lewyn

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Published on Monday, September 18, 2006 in Social Science Research Network
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