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Sprawl Repair Manual [Paperback]

by Galina Tachieva
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

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Book Description

September 24, 2010 1597267325 978-1597267328

There is a wealth of research and literature explaining suburban sprawl and the urgent need to retrofit suburbia. However, until now there has been no single guide that directly explains how to repair typical sprawl elements. The Sprawl Repair Manual demonstrates a step-by-step design process for the re-balancing and re-urbanization of suburbia into more sustainable, economical, energy- and resource-efficient patterns, from the region and the community to the block and the individual building. As Galina Tachieva asserts in this exceptionally useful book, sprawl repair will require a proactive and aggressive approach, focused on design, regulation and incentives. The Sprawl Repair Manual is a much-needed, single-volume reference for fixing sprawl, incorporating changes into the regulatory system, and implementing repairs through incentives and permitting strategies. This manual specifies the expertise that’s needed and details the techniques and algorithms of sprawl repair within the context of reducing the financial and ecological footprint of urban growth.


The Sprawl Repair Manual draws on more than two decades of practical experience in the field of repairing and building communities to analyze the current pattern of sprawl development, disassemble it into its elemental components, and present a process for transforming them into human-scale, sustainable elements. The techniques are illustrated both two- and three-dimensionally, providing users with clear methodologies for the sprawl repair interventions, some of which are radical, but all of which will produce positive results.

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Sprawl Repair Manual + The Smart Growth Manual + Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America, One Step at a Time
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Editorial Reviews


“The successful strategies and highly effective illustrations of prototypical solutions in the Sprawl Repair Manual are extremely useful to both citizens and professionals eager to communicate the many advantages of reconfiguring sprawl into more compact, complete, and connected places. Packed with ideas, this book is a great read and will be a must-have reference for years to come!”
(Ellen Dunham-Jones Professor in the School of Architecture at the Georgia Institute of Technology 2010-04-23)

“Haphazard, dysfunctional land use has wreaked havoc on our landscape, waterways, and atmosphere.  To achieve sustainability, we must seize every opportunity to fix the damage, and this wonderfully illustrated book provides us with the tools, step by step and place by place.  Environmentalists as well as planners need to learn from its teachings.”
(Kaid Benfield Director of Smart Growth, NRDC, Co-founder, LEED for Neighborhood Development 2010-04-23)

"[Tachieva] brings a wealth of knowledge, insight and pragmatism to the contents of the manual, and the techniques for repairing sprawl at all levels of the built environment. This is an important book for anybody who is contemplating being involved in the task of repairing sprawl. Its strength is in the compelling urban design ideas and proposals that are communicated via the wealth of illustrations in the book....the author and the firm have to be congratulated for publishing this book at this time that clearly inspires and illuminates the potentials for sprawl repair."
(Urban Design International)

“The Sprawl Repair Manual is so far the only complete physical planning manual for handling the impending transformation of suburbia into vital human communities. It is not only hugely instructive but formidably inspirational.”
(Leon Krier Master Planner of Prince Charles' Poundbury Project in Dorset, UK 2010-04-21) --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Galina Tachieva is a partner and director of town planning at the central office of Duany Plater-Zyberk & Company, in Miami, Florida. She is originally from Bulgaria, and received a master’s degree in architecture from the University of Architecture and Civil Engineering in Sofia and a master’s in urban design from the University of Miami, Florida. Galina submitted a “Sprawl Repair Kit,” which contains some of the ideas and drawings from her book, to the 2009 Re-Burbia competition sponsored by the blog Inhabitat and DWELL magazine, where it won the People’s Choice Award.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Island Press (September 24, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1597267325
  • ISBN-13: 978-1597267328
  • Product Dimensions: 9.8 x 7.7 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #132,234 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Important book! November 23, 2010
In the world of sustainable development there has been plenty of talk. Scientists, from all research areas, continually attempt to model optimal solutions for coupled human and environmental systems. Yet while they wonder how these coupled systems will balance out, there are solutions being implemented today that might just prove optimal for years to come. Tachieva has created a superior product, using time-tested traditional neighborhood design strategies to heal communities ailing from all the symptoms of sprawl. The Sprawl Repair Manual is a book of detailed illustrations and case examples which are recognizable and clear. It demonstrates sprawl elements and their deficiencies, then restructures the element in minor, yet important, ways which promote density, accessibility, walkability, serviceability (plus several other -abilities). Appropriately, Tachieva uses a context sensitive approach; recognizing that not all areas will benefit from increased density, she also provides "devolution" options for reduction of physical structure and increase of natural preserves or agricultural areas. Chapter Three is a beautifully crafted tool for regional development, which should be required reading for all regional planners.

I believe it is important to note that while many sustainable development projects encourage population density to reduce the amount of resources and land used per person, Tachieva's Sprawl Repair Manual provides sustainable design solutions for all transect zones and densities. She recognizes the importance of choice, never implying that people should just scrap their half-acres all together and live in the cities.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars highly technical but excellent March 5, 2011
This book, like Retrofitting Suburbia by Ellen Dunham-Jones and June Williamson, is about how to make automobile-dependent suburban areas more walkable. But this book differs from Retrofitting Suburbia in a couple of ways. First, this book is much more technical than Retrofitting Suburbia, and thus most useful to people who have read that book and other new urbanist works.

Second, while Retrofitting Suburbia is focused on "easy retrofits" such as decaying suburban areas, this book is more encyclopedic, discussing more farfetched situations (such as redevelopment of residential streets). For example:

*One section focuses on how to alter a residential subdivision. Answer: create a mixed-use square near the area's major street, including small shops (so people have something worth walking to) and multifamily housing (so more customers can support that commerce). If homeowners can't walk to the shops because most streets are cul-de-sacs, create new streets connecting cul-de-sacs to each other, and connecting residential streets to the square.

*Another section focuses on shopping centers surrounded by parking lots. The authors suggest "perimeter buildings"- that is, surrounding the existing shops with buildings in front of sidewalks so pedestrians can reach them without crossing parking lots. New streets will connect the perimeter buildings with the existing shops and with each other, thus turning big box stores into walkable neighborhoods. What about parking? Parking would be provided through garages in the interior of the development and through on-street parallel parking.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars under-emphasized need August 12, 2012
By Randall
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is a very helpful resource, but a close examination of many of its before-after visuals (such as on page 115)reveals that as many as a half-dozen parking garages appear in the after scenarios, enabling the high densities to be achieved, with resultant walkability. My only criticism of the book is that so many examples are dependent on multi-story parking garage provision, which is way beyond the means of many communities. Readers should be aware of this, and endeavor to create designs that would work with surface parking, the only feasible alternative in many locales. Surface parking is shown in one example on page 125, but the vast majority of examples involve parking structures.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Would recommend the hard copy September 22, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Great book, but if you have the option, get the hard copy instead of the Kindle version. The illustrations aren't nearly as legible on screen as on paper.
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