James Howard Kunstler

Rank: 
12

James Howard Kunstler is a prominent author and social critic on the problems of suburban development and the blighted American landscape. "The books I wrote represented to a large extent a personal struggle to understand why we could do such damage to our civilization," said Kunstler in an interview.

Kunstler began his lambast of the built environment of America in 1994 with The Geography of Nowhere, pointing to the rise of automobiles as the most prominent culprit. In his follow-up Home From Nowhere, Kunstler finds some answers in the work of the New Urbanists, a group to which he continues to have deep connections.

In 2005, Kunstler brought awareness to the issue of "peak oil" in his book The Long Emergency. Making the connection to land use, Kunstler argues that the loss of cheap oil will make the current American way of life obsolete and that the investment in an auto-oriented infrastructure has been "the greatest misallocation of resources in the history of the world."

More recently, he extended his ideas into fiction in a novel titled World Made By Hand(2008). Kunstler speaks frequently on these issues on college campuses and around the world, on his blog, and on his weekly podcast.