Sprawl: A Compact History

By Robert Bruegmann | Go to book overview

BIBLIOGRAPHIC ESSAY

The notes sections of this book contain an extensive bibliography, a good deal of which is technical in nature or difficult to find in most libraries. I have not included most of that literature in this short bibliographic essay. Instead, I have tried to gather, here, a short list of easily accessible works in English that allow some further exploration of this vast topic.


Descriptions of Sprawl

Although the literature on sprawl is extensive, so far most of it has been largely unsatisfactory because observers have tended to rush to judgment before trying to understand or even describe it. Certainly one of the most successful attempts at a description to date is a great classic in geographic literature written nearly a half century ago: Jean Gottmann's Megalopolis: The Urbanized Northeast Seaboard of the United States (New York: Twentieth Century Fund, 1961). Gottmann's was a pioneering effort to understand the urban landscape as a large interlocking system rather than as a set of discrete cities surrounded by countryside. More recently, a fascinating attempt to describe some aspects of American sprawl is Joel Garreau's Edge City (New York: Doubleday, 1991). Although Garreau, a writer for the Washington Post, was looking only at one specific kind of development at the urban periphery, and many of his conclusions are problematic, he had the advantage over most other writers on the topic of being willing to go out to look and listen. His report on what he saw is still very much worth reading. The best European book to date on sprawl, particularly as it affects the historic cities of Western Europe, is Cities without Cities: An Interpretation of the Zwischenstadt (London: Spon Press, 2003) by Thomas Sieverts, an architect and planner, former professor at the University of Darmstadt, and head of a

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