April 2011

Author: Christopher B. Leinberger

Published: Nov 2007

Review: 5 stars *****

Christopher B. Leinberger dissects the past 100 years as it concerns the built environment in the United States and lays out the influences and reasons we find ourselves today in a ‘Sprawl’ filled country.  After the Great Depression and then WWII the country was ready for a change.  And change came with the onset of the automobile.  No longer did you have to live in the city which at that time was loud, crowded, diverse, and polluted.  The car made it possible for the middle class and up to live outside the city in what would become known as the suburbs.  Your own house, yard, car, and neighbors who were in the same income bracket as you, it became the American Dream, a great place to raise a family. 

That was over 60 years ago and we are still building suburbs.  And we are building them for many reasons that are hard to change.  Leinberger argues quite well that today there is a pent-up demand for walkable urbanism once again.  That sprawl has gotten out of hand no longer delivering the ‘American Dream’ it once offered.  Because ‘Sprawl’ has sprawled so much the need to drive everywhere for everything has become a big drag and decreases your quality of life.  Leinberger does a great and in-depth job at laying out the reasons why it is so hard to turn the tide from ‘Sprawl’ to ‘Walkable Urbanism’. But the facts seem clear that the tide needs to turn to provide ‘Walkable Urbanism’ to those who want it.

 This is not a book on how to do Walkable Urbanism but on WHY to do it.  I would highly recommend this book.

To learn more about the book visit their website below:



Here are a great set of podcasts by Brandt Hay (W. Brandt Hay Architect)

Brandt Hay sums it well here himself what the focus of these podcast are:

‘Introducing the New Urban Architect Podcast, a collection of interviews with design professionals about the role of architecture within the New Urbanism’


You can also subscribe to the podcast thru itunes.

Atlanta, Ga is a great example of a city creating seemingly never-ending outwardly expanding Sprawl.  But that does not mean that it is too late to bring walkable urbanism back into the picture as seen from the development of Glenwood Park on a 23 acre site just 2 miles out from downtown Atlanta.

Thanks to ‘American Makeover’ ( http://www.americanmakeover.tv ) for putting this video together.

For more info on Glenwood Park see their website at http://glenwoodpark.com/