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This Land: The Battle over Sprawl and the Future of America Hardcover – April 21, 2006


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press; 1 edition (April 21, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801884195
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801884191
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,021,722 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Engaging, vivid and provocative work. Written with analytical rigor but also a crafty journalistic eye for the human-interest story that crystallizes an abstract theme, this book merits inclusion in any library.

(Library Journal)

A panoramic and extraordinarily up-to-date account of the struggle over how America builds.

(Philip Langdon New Urban News)

This Land offers a provocative and insightful overview of the challenges of sprawl.

(Boston Globe)

Those who truly hate sprawl and want to fight back would be well advised to read this book.

(Audubon)

Well researched, well written... very personable and readable. Recommended for all readers.

(Northeastern Naturalist)

Flint provides a historical perspective on how we became a suburban nation... with the easy-flowing, narrative skill of a journalist.

(Lawrence Bluestone Architecture Boston)

As an inquiry into the backlash against 'smart growth'... it offers valuable insights and unsettling observations from the frontlines of the battles over land use and suburban development.

(Tom Urbaniak Urban Affairs Review)

Cear, well-written overview of the sprawl debate.

(Jackie Begley Berkeley Planning Journal)

With evidence growing regarding the impact of density on innovation and economic growth, Anthony Flint's excellent This Land couldn't come along at a better time. It's an essential read for those working to understand and build more vibrant and livable communities.

(Richard Florida, author of The Rise of the Creative Class and The Flight of the Creative Class)

A revealing portrait of how America lives today. His trenchant chronicling of the emerging smart growth movement's challenge to the suburban sprawl ethos is a clarion call for a national conversation about how the country should grow.

(Ben Bradlee Jr., author and former Deputy Managing Editor of the Boston Globe)

Among the hundreds of books about metropolitan growth, This Land stands out as an extremely engaging and perceptive chronicle of the current state of the smart growth and new urbanist movements. Highlighting the fundamental American tension between individual and collective purposes, Flint compellingly articulates the challenges ahead.

(Ann Forsyth, Director, Metropolitan Design Center)

This important book is spot-on in its analysis of America's deepening land use problems and refreshingly upbeat in its account of win-win solutions arising around the country. Flint's fingertip knowledge of detail is especially to be admired.

(E. O. Wilson, Pellegrino University Professor Emeritus at the Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University)

This Land is an important discussion of the future of America, its cities, and what lies outside of it.

(Midwest Book Review)

From the Back Cover

This Land is the story of development in America—how the landscape is shaped by a furious clash of political, economic, and cultural forces. It is the story of the burgeoning anti-sprawl movement, a 1960s-style revolution of New Urbanism, smart growth, and green building. And it is the story of landowners fighting back on the basis of property rights, with free-market libertarians who have since morphed into the Tea Party, home builders, road pavers, financial institutions, and even the lawn-care industry right alongside them.

Anthony Flint's updated introduction explores the burst housing bubble of 2008, when the epicenters of sprawl—Florida, Arizona, Nevada, California's Central Valley, the intermountain West—were hardest hit. After the crisis they became home to foreclosures and zombie subdivisions.

"Those who truly hate sprawl and want to fight back would be well advised to read this book."— Audubon

"A provocative and insightful overview of the challenges of sprawl."— Boston Globe

"Flint provides a historical perspective on how we became a suburban nation... with the easy-flowing, narrative skill of a journalist."— Architecture Boston

"As an inquiry into the backlash against 'smart growth'... it offers valuable insights and unsettling observations from the frontlines of the battles over land use and suburban development."— Urban Affairs Review


More About the Author

Anthony Flint is author of "Modern Man: The Life of Le Corbusier, Architect of Tomorrow," a narrative nonfiction account of the father of modern architecture, published by Amazon Publishing http://www.apub.com/. He is also author of "Wrestling with Moses: How Jane Jacobs Took On New York's Master Builder and Transformed the American City" (Random House 2009) and "This Land: The Battle over Sprawl and the Future of America" (Johns Hopkins, 2006), and co-editor of "Smart Growth Policies: An Evaluation of Programs and Outcomes" (Lincoln Institute, 2009). A veteran journalist, primarily at The Boston Globe, he writes about architecture, urban planning and sustainability. He is a regular contributor to CityLab http://www.citylab.com/authors/anthony-flint/, part of The Atlantic magazine, as well as The Boston Globe, The New Republic, GlobalPost, Next City, Planning magazine, Planetizen, Citiwire, Architecture Boston, and many other publications; author of the blogs At Lincoln House at www.lincolninst.edu, This Land at Boston.com, and Developing Stories at the author's website www.anthonyflint.net. Currently a fellow and director of public affairs at the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy (www.lincolninst.edu), a think-tank in Cambridge, Mass., he served as a policy advisor in the Office for Commonwealth Development, the Massachusetts state agency coordinating growth policy, and has been a fellow at The Rockefeller Foundation's Bellagio Center and The American Library in Paris, and a visiting scholar and Loeb Fellow at the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University. He is curator and speaker at TEDxBeaconStreet and TEDxTampaBay. His next book, . On Twitter @anthonyflint and on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/anthonyflint.author. "Wrestling with Moses" won a Christopher Award in 2010.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By O. Paschke on September 9, 2006
Format: Hardcover
'This Land' by Anthony Flint is written by a journalist in a journalistic style. The core of this book is devoted to the battle of ideologies over land use in America: the smart growth movement advocating for control on suburban growth, the new urbanists insisting on the need to rethink our zoning laws currently favoring inefficient sprawl, and property right advocates and lobbyists fighting to gain full control over what can be developed on their property. This story spanning over essentially half a century is told using a myriad of anecdotes and examples from all across America. One such story relates how land owners request compensations for lost revenues (equated to governmental takings) resulting from the restrictions on development outside urban growth boundaries. Flint remains critical and objective, avoiding an overt endorsement of anyone in particular. Many of the themes discussed in books such as `Suburban Nation' or `The Geography of Nowhere' are covered, but with a journalistic tone and restraint.

Beyond merely covering the familiar arguments, he suggests, somewhat surprisingly, that smart growth is itself a `conservative idea'. Our current growth practices are not truly a reflection of the free market; they are highly subsidized by way of highway investments and the costly expansion of public services by local governments (e.g. roads, sewers, schools, fire and police departments). Instead of building on brown sites and urban infills, cities expand on greenfields further and further away stretching tax dollars up to a point of imminent bankruptcy.

This book's strength is in providing a non-partisan account of the political and economical battles over land use in America.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jonathan Davies on September 6, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I find Anthony Flint very balanced and insightful in this book. I like the fact that this book's author, in addition to explaining how and why sprawl came about in the first place, the drawbacks of sprawl, and the solutions to it, also explains the reasons why there is so much resistance to the alternatives to sprawl, and the solutions to that resistance.
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful By G. Flint on July 10, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Fascinating treatment of the burgeoning struggle of urban sprawl (now exurban sprawl) vs. planned development in 21st century America. Another "inconvenient truth, blending the source of the energy crisis, "green" concerns, local food production, and legal armageddon over eminent domain.

Lively writing from a former Boston Globe reporter.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on August 19, 2006
Format: Hardcover
THIS LAND: THE BATTLE OVER SPRAWL AND THE FUTURE OF AMERICA charts the evolution of development in America: a process which holds political, social and economic clashes and influences throughout the process. From the roots of the anti-sprawl movement in the 1960s to issues of property and personal rights, developer rights, finances and more, THIS LAND comes from a journalist who covered planning and housing for the Boston Globe for sixteen years. His background lends to a wide-ranging survey of defenders and contenders of sprawl.

Diane C. Donovan

California Bookwatch
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