New Visions for Metropolitan America

New Visions for Metropolitan America

New Visions for Metropolitan America

New Visions for Metropolitan America


In this volume, the author analyzes the problems of urban America and presents economically sound alternatives to guide the growth and development of metropolitan areas without increasing traffic congestion and air pollution; endlessly raising taxes, or sacrificing the availability of affordable housing.

Copublished with the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy


For much of this century, but especially since World War II, the American Dream has centered on owning a car and a detached house in the suburbs with lawn, garden, responsive government, good schools, a quick commute to work, and fresh air. But as we approach the twenty-first century this dream has been compromised. Private cars have clogged roads and polluted the air, open space has given way to shopping malls, and the affordable bungalow has soared beyond the reach of many would-be homebuyers. The cause of many of these diverse problems is attributed to unplanned and unrestrained growth. The response in community after community has been stricter building codes, tougher zoning laws-- what is called growth management. But these attempts to tame unrestrained growth have themselves created problems. Communities practicing growth management have become isolated from the cities around which they cluster, and they have become exclusionary. More important, these policies have not solved these problems; they have merely dumped them on others.

In this book Anthony Downs analyzes the problems growth management confronts--and creates. By girdling core cities with a ring of exclusionary suburbs, growth management compresses inner-city populations, concentrates poverty, crime, and their attendant problems, and threatens the long-term health of the suburbs themselves. The author proposes a new vision of metropolitan growth, a vision that could slow or stop unconstrained suburban sprawl. He discusses alternatives for managing growth and their chances of implementation, focusing particularly on the regionwide nature of metropolitan problems and the prospects for regionwide solutions.

This study is one of a series being copublished by the Brookings . . .

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