Once the American Dream and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Buy New
  • List Price: $24.95
  • Save: $2.59 (10%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Only 7 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Gift-wrap available.
Once the American Dream: ... has been added to your Cart
Trade in your item
Get a $4.00
Gift Card.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Once the American Dream: Inner-Ring Suburbs of the Metropolitan United States Paperback – February 3, 2012

See all 3 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
"Please retry"
"Please retry"
$19.99 $13.97

Frequently Bought Together

Once the American Dream: Inner-Ring Suburbs of the Metropolitan United States + Edgeless Cities: Exploring the Elusive Metropolis (James A. Johnson Metro Series)
Price for both: $42.11

Buy the selected items together


Best Books of the Month
Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Temple University Press; Reprint edition (February 3, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 159213937X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1592139378
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,072,852 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"An engaging contemporary study of twenty years of suburban change in the U.S., Once the American Dream is more comprehensive than earlier works on suburbs, focusing on differences among suburbs rather than the city/suburban differences. The breadth of stories told against the analysis helps provide good insights and makes the national picture more local to readers. Hanlon ably demonstrates how to apply useful methodologies to the study of contemporary metropolitan geography." David L. Phillips, Professor Urban and Environmental Planning, University of Virginia "[Hanlon] offer[s] a detailed analysis of the inner-ring suburbs of the 100 largest urban areas and a comprehensive overview of the research to date on the forces shaping these communities...She provides detailed case studies of Dundulk, Maryland, and Cleveland Heights, Ohio, which exemplify some of the problems facing these vulnerable inner-ring communities... This book serves as the most comprehensive view to date of the state of the inner-ring suburbs." City and Community "Hanlon's book...is well researched and clear in focus. It's also very timely, given the state of the housing market in the United States, and the evolving sense of place that is changing for aging suburbs as well as certain neighborhoods in certain cities - especially the aging, industrial urban areas of the Northeast and, to a lesser degree, the upper Midwest." Plan Philly "This book will be useful for courses covering metropolitan or suburban development, courses that are increasingly offered in urban studies programs. In compact form, it synthesizes much of what we know about patterns of development and decline in U.S. urban regions. It provides a useful summary of much of the literature on older suburbs. A particularly helpful feature for students and other newcomers to the topic is a full-page table summarizing the results of over a dozen important studies on the topic. Hanlon makes skillful use of concrete examples found in specific suburbs around the United States to illustrate points she is making." Contemporary Sociology, January 2012 "Hanlon's study is theoretically informed, empirically rich, and carefully assesses its findings. In fact, the book may set a new standard in research on contemporary suburban developments in North America... Once the American Dream is an extremely welcome addition to the existing stock of literature on the suburbs. Moreover, it offers a new understanding of the contemporary role and status of U.S. Suburbs...which has scarcely been addressed before. In just under 200 pages, it concisely presents dense and carefully developed content. In the context of suburban decline, it may become as classical a contribution to the literature as some of [the] previous works that had emphasized the rise of the suburbs." - Urban Geography, October 2010

Book Description

At one time, a move to the suburbs was the American Dream for many families. However, despite the success of Levittown, NY,impoverished “inner-ring” suburbs—those closest to the urban core of metropolitan cities—like Lansdowne, MD, are in decline. As aging housing stock, foreclosures, severe fiscal problems, slow population growth, increasing poverty, and struggling local economies affect inner-ring suburbs, what can be done to save them?

Once the American Dream analyzes this downward trend, examining 5,000 suburbs across 100 different metropolitan areas and census regions in 1980 and 2000. Hanlon defines the suburbs’ geographic boundaries and provides a ranking system for assessing and acting upon inner-ring suburban decline. She also illuminates her detailed statistical analysis with vivid case studies. She demonstrates how other suburbs, particularly those in the outer reaches of cities, flourished during the 1980s and 1990s. Once the American Dream closes with a discussion of policy implications and recommendations for policymakers and planners who deal with suburbs of various stripes.
--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

More About the Author

Bernadette Hanlon is Assistant Professor of City and Regional Planning at the Knowlton School of Architecture at Ohio State University. She is the author of Once the American Dream: Inner-ring suburbs in the metropolitan United States, and she is co-author of Cities and Suburbs: New Metropolitan Realities in the U.S. She has written numerous articles in such journals as the International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Urban Geography, City and Community and Urban Studies. For more information about her work, please visit wwww.bernadettehanlon.com.

Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
5 star
4 star
3 star
2 star
1 star
See the customer review
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Bingo Buchanan on May 20, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Hanlon's book is a great contribution to the study of suburban decline in the United States. The book is well researched and well-sourced, and Hanlon provides an excellent review of the history of the suburbs and the three major theories of suburban change. The original research is presented in a very logical and orderly fashion, and seems a bit better-balanced than some other research on suburban decline. The only shortcoming I see with the actual study is that Hanlon makes the assertion that housing size and preferences might be related to decline and stability, but doesn't really test it. It might be a limitation in the data she employed, but it is testable using the publicly accessible Census data. Other than that, it's a very good book, content-wise.

In form, however, the book has some shortcomings. The actual physical book has some typos, but it isn't terrible. The Kindle version of the book is a mess. There are several points in the first four or five chapters where words are missing, partially-missing, or clearly out of order. Some sentences required multiple reads to untangle. I don't remember those errors being in the physical book. I think it's a problem with the Kindle version. It's a drawback.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again