Urban Sprawl

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Sprawl suburbia is where most Americans live now, and are stuck in traffic. They are gridlocked and fuming, not just in drive-time but even on a run to that no-name convenience store or to a soccer game.

This is the moment, we’re told, when suburban citizens are looking again at the anywhere strip mall, the desolation of their downtowns, the disappearance of greenlands, and wondering why we live here. Just maybe the presidential votes in the “Shady Oaks” cul-de-sac will go to the man, George Bush or Al Gore, who understands, and has an alternative design for growth.

Waste, isolation, emptiness, ugliness, the squalor of public spaces that come with all that development beyond the highway: these are familiar old knocks on the new addresses that millions chose and many still love. But there’s a backlash of anxiety and anger that may be bigger this campaign year than crime, schools or health care.
(Hosted by Christopher Lydon)


Jeff Speck, author of Suburban Nation

and David Lee, professor of Urban Planning and Design at Harvard University.