Urban Sprawl
A Comprehensive Reference Guide
by David C. Soule, ed.
December 2005, 592pp, 7x10
1 volume, Greenwood

Hardcover: 978-0-313-32038-5
$96, £74, 84€, A132

Top scholars offer historical, legal, political, and socio-economic insights into the causes, effects, and solutions to urban sprawl in this even-handed account of the spreading suburbanization of America.

Urban sprawl is an occurrence that has gained much national attention in recent years. It is not only an issue of land use, but also a legal, political, and social concern. It affects our schools, the environment, and race relations. Comprehensive enough for high school students and also appropriate for undergraduate students, this book delves into the challenges of urban sprawl by looking to some of America’s top thinkers on the matter, including Robert Yaro, the President of the Regional Plan Association. Other cutting-edge articles include a preface about the emergence of sprawl by nationally syndicated columnist Neal Peirce, views about race and class by former mayor of Albuquerque David Rusk, and views from Curtis Johnson, president of the Citistates Group, about transportation dynamics. After reading a detailed definition of urban sprawl, students will then explore the dynamics, negative impact, analysis, other cross-cutting issues, and the agenda to deal with sprawl. Complete with a glossary, resources, and contact information for smart growth alliances, this book is extremely user-friendly even for students.

Soule offers an unbiased viewpoint of this national event, while still keeping the information accessible to students as well as those who have little background in the matter.


"Sprawl preoccupies US planners and citizens today, and this encyclopedia offers a clear, practical handbook of history, current issues, analytic models, and policy ideas within a general smart-growth perspective. The authors of the 22 chapters include academics, attorneys, practicing planners, and policy analysts from organizations such as Collaborative Economics and the Citistates Group; they are dominated by northeasterners, with some participation from others in western cities. The first eight essays provide contexts for the analysis of sprawl from history, law, planning, economics, politics, and social studies. Subsequent sections deal with sprawl as process, using Atlanta and the Twin Cities as case studies; models of measurement; and specific problems such as equity, environmental issues, costs, and relations to patterns of immigration and taxation. A final section looks at possible regional approaches to controlling sprawl, preserving natural resources, and promoting fair, smart growth. Useful appendixes offer Web and other resources, a glossary, and contacts with smart-growth groups....Recommended. All levels/libraries."—Choice, December 1, 2006

"The intended purpose is to provide students, planners and decision makers with the basics for understanding and addressing the problems of urban sprawl. The emphasis is upon encouraging regional equity and smart growth. Extensive supplemental materials include a lengthy glossary and bibliography, plus directories of relevant web sites, database resources and smart-growth alliances. This vital guide will serve both academic and public library audiences."—Lawrence Looks at Books, December 1, 2006

"Sprawl is a national event that is an issue not just of land use but a legal, political, and social concern as well, affecting schools, the environment, and human relations. Writing primarily for high school students and undergraduates, Soule and his contributors explore the dynamics and impacts of sprawl and how localities are dealing with it."—Reference & Research Book News/Art Book News Annual, May 1, 2006

"[A]n in-depth overview of urban sprawl history, economics, dynamics, and issues....College-level collections with urban studies or urban planning courses need to have this."—The Midwest Book Review - California Bookwatch, April 1, 2006
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