From Publishers Weekly
A mere glance through the pages of this book offers a quick education about the excesses of the recently built environment. By its very nature, sprawl is hard to identify and track, but Hayden, a Yale professor of architecture and American studies, provides a combination of informed but breezy text and 75 large, crisp color images that greatly simplify the task of "decoding everyday American landscapes." Organized alphabetically, with a big two-page spread for each entry, the book moves from "alligator" (an investment that "eats" cash flow, represented here by the vast and ghostly grid of an unbuilt New Mexico suburb) to "zoomburb" (a suburb on steroids, illustrated here by Arizona's spiraling Sun City). Along the way, the reader comes to the depressing understanding that troubling phenomena one might have thought strictly local or temporary—for instance, houses where the garage is the dominant projecting feature—are common enough to have acquired names, in this case "snout house." But more than a set of colorful terms—all of which, from "ball pork" to "parsley round the pig" are carefully sourced—this book is a concise guide to not only sprawl itself but to the powerful political and financial forces that sustain it. If the book has one problematic aspect, it is that Wark's aerial photographs are often so vividly beautiful that they risk aestheticizing their often grim subjects—but their seductive quality serves to draw the viewer into Hayden's passionately sustained argument.
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“A landmark contribution to this literature.” (Boston Globe)
“[P]rovides a great hawk’s-eye overview of exactly what uncontrolled growth has done to the American landscape…a must-read.” (The Statement)
“A flair for words and a collection of stunning photographs. . . . Captivating.” (New Urban News)
“May well establish Ms. Hayden as the Roger Tory Peterson of Sprawl.” (New York Times)
“A concise guide to not only sprawl but to the powerful political and financial forces that sustain it.” (Publishers Weekly)
“[T]he images are fascinating and, in many cases, a frightening testament to human impact on the landscape.” (Ben Brain - Amateur Photographer)
“You have to know what to call something before you can do anything about it. So if you really hate the way urban blight is despoiling virgin landscapes, take a look at this snappy pictorial guide to developer slang, US-style, which could rival Dr Seuss for verbal inventiveness.” (Civic Focus Magazine)
“Educational as well as humorous…a great stocking stuffer for the environmentalist in the family.” (Village Books Newsletter)
“[T]he often beguiling beauty of sprawl photographed from the air.” (Nicholas A. Phelps - Environment & Planning B: Planning & Design)
“A wonderful guide to the terrible things being done to the American landscape.” (Eric Schlosser, author of Fast Food Nation)