This 2-disc set is an unprecedented visual document of how sprawl happened, told through a series of historic films ranging from 1939's The City, created by famed planner Lewis Mumford, to No Time For Ugliness from 1965, produced by the American Institute of Architects. With specially-recorded commentary from notable authors, academics and architects like James Howard Kunstler, Andrés Duany, Jacky Grimshaw, and many more.
In planning circles, it is fashionable to debate the merits or drawbacks of the spread of suburban living that happened in the 20th century. What isn’t up for debate is that it happened- that from the early '40s until the beginning of the 21st century, the American pattern of development changed radically.
To get a modern perspective on what these films represent, we’ve recorded commentary tracks for each video with noted planners and authors. You can watch the films on their own, or with the voice of a noted expert guiding you through.
And more, from UC Berkeley's Prof. Robert Cervero:
The Story of Sprawl (3 min.)
Introduction by Tim Halbur of Congress for the New Urbanism
Chapter 1 - The City, 1939 (31:10 min.)
Commentary by: James Howard Kunstler, author of The Geography of Nowhere and Duncan Crary of Institute for Humanist Studies
Chapter 2 - Cities: How They Grow, 1952 (9:08 min.)
Commentary by: Anthony Flint, author of This Land:The Battle over Sprawl and the Future of America
Chapter 3 - Homes for Veterans, 1946 (Edited, 13:53 min.)
Commentary by: Mark D.Van Ells, author of To Hear Only Thunder Again: America's World War II Veterans Come Home
Chapter 4 - For the Living, 1949 (21:09 min.)
Commentary by: Prof. Jackie Leavitt and Prof. Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris of UCLA's Dept. of Urban Planning
Chapter 1 - Give Yourself the Green Light, 1954 (22:17 min.)
Commentary by: Prof. Robert Cervero of UC Berkeley's College of Environmental Design
Chapter 2 - The Changing City (16:05 min.)
Commentary by: Neal Peirce of the Citistates Group
Chapter 3 - No Time for Ugliness, 1965 (23:30 min.)
Commentary by: Andrés Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk of DPZ Associates
Chapter 4 - Community Growth: Crisis and Challenge, 1959 (16:02 min.)
Commentary by: John Norquist of Congress for the New Urbanism and Jacky Grimshaw of Center for Neighborhood Technology
Run Time: 2 hours, 36 minutes.
The Story of Sprawl is published by Planetizen Press, an imprint of Urban Insight, Inc. All video, audio content and artwork © 2009 by Urban Insight, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this DVD may be reproduced in any form by any means without permission in writing from the publisher.