Sprawl, Justice, and Citizenship: The Civic Costs of the by Thad Williamson

By Thad Williamson

Needs to the strip mall and the eight-lane street outline twenty first century American lifestyles? that may be a imperative query posed by means of critics of suburban and exurban residing in the United States. but regardless of the ubiquity of the critique, it by no means sticks-Americans by way of the ratings of hundreds of thousands have willingly moved into sprawling advancements during the last few many years. americans locate a number of the extra mammoth criticisms of sprawl effortless to disregard simply because they typically stumble upon as snobbish in tone. but as Thad Williamson explains, sprawl does create actual, measurable social difficulties. using a landmark 30,000-person survey, he exhibits that sprawl fosters civic disengagement, accentuates inequality, and negatively affects the surroundings. but, whereas he highlights the deleterious results of sprawl on civic existence in the United States, he's additionally evenhanded. He doesn't push aside the pastoral, homeowning excellent that's on the root of sprawl, and is sympathetic to the monstrous numbers of usa citizens who very essentially like it. Sprawl, Justice, and Citizenship is not just be the main complete paintings in print at the topic, it is going to be the 1st to provide an empirically rigorous critique of the most well-liked kind of dwelling in the United States today.

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Extra resources for Sprawl, Justice, and Citizenship: The Civic Costs of the American Way of Life

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A second, more specific response calls into question the assumption that current socio-spatial patterns are simply a product of market forces responding to individual preferences. Instead, as Jonathan Levine has stressed, sprawl has been endemically shaped by a variety of government interventions, including subsidies at the federal level and restrictive, exclusionary zoning at the local level. In short, the practical policy choice we face is not between a supposed free market and a planned regime but between one form of planned regime and another.

The widely assumed narrative trajectory of the successful American life pivots on the critical moment when a household is able to accumulate enough capital or credit to acquire a private home in a comfortable environment, preferably with good public schools. ) Politicians and other defining, explaining, and measuring sprawl | 37 commentators often take for granted that a crucial aim of public policy is to facilitate the pursuit of this ideal, whether from a conservative direction (defending the value of existing homeowners’ property) or a liberal one (using government to help citizens realize their dream of homeownership).

Making this observation does not require a strong judgment that these policies are wrong, nor does arguing that these policies were popular when they were adopted suffice to defend their continuation in the present. The democratic process (with its manifold imperfections) generated one set of policies aimed at a specific set of goals in the past that helped produce sprawl; that same process might in the future create policies aimed at quite different ends. 7. Affluence and preference for private space and automobiles.

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