- Series: James A. Johnson Metro Series
- Paperback: 142 pages
- Publisher: Brookings Institution Press; 1st U.S. Edition, 1st Printing edition (April 1, 1999)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0815760817
- ISBN-13: 978-0815760818
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.3 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 3 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,294,257 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Laws of the Landscape: How Policies Shape Cities in Europe and America (James A. Johnson Metro Series) 1st U.S. Edition, 1st Printing Edition
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"A fascinating study of how public policies have shaped cities, with emphasis on the difference between the U.S. and Europe. " Witold Rybczynski, New York Review of Books, 6/21/2001
"Nivola has performed a useful service in checking those of us who are so enamored of the urbanity and cultural sophistication of the European city that we tend to believe, naively, that all America needs is to copy the European policy model. " Martin Zimmerman, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 8/1/1999
"Anyone interested in the vexing question of how to improve urban life in America should read this book. " Keith Monroe, Winston-Salem Journal, 3/19/2000
"Intelligent, thoughtful-provoking, and well-written. If you love cities, this book deserves your attention. " Dennis McCarthy, Forum for Applied Research and Public Policy, 5/1/2000
"Nivola's willingness to acknowledge the tradeoffs in land-use policy represents a refreshing change from the current rhetoric.... His readable prose distills urban trends in a slim volume that is understandable to both policy analyst and novice reader. " Samuel R. Staley, Family Policy, 5/1/2000
"Packed with useful comparative information, analysis, and policy suggestions that could prove helpful to an American, European, and Japanese audience interested in the fate of metropolitan areas in developed countries. " Thomas Kontuly, Urban Studies, 7/1/2001
"Instead of trying to answer the question of who loses and who gains in the 'dumb growth' debate, Nivola provokes a more interesting discussion by unpackaging the unrelated but potent mix of 'accidental' urban policies that have led to over half the American population currently living beyond metropolitan boundaries. " Urban Age, 9/1/1999
"Laws of the Landscape should be the basis for every first-year planning course. It teaches that to understand suburbia, planners need to examine tax laws and their economic impacts more than colored land use maps and statistics. " Peter L. Abeles, BookNews, Citizens Housing and Planning Council of New York, 10/1/1999
"... well written, concise, and inexpensive. It is packed with useful comparative information, analysis and policy suggestions that could prove helpful to an American, European and Japanese audience interested in the fate of metropolitan areas in developed countries. This book should interest a broad cross-section of geographers, sociologists, economists and urban and regional planners." Thomas Kontuly, University of Utah, Urban Studies
About the Author
Pietro S. Nivola is a vice president of the Brookings Institution, where he is the director of Governance Studies. Among his previous books are Tense Commandments: Federal Prescriptions and City Problems (Brookings, 2002) and Agenda for the Nation, coedited with Henry J. Aaron and James M. Lindsay (Brookings, 2003).
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But Nivola is completely clueless as to why sprawl matters, or why we should care. The only anti-sprawl argument he seems to believe is that it contributes to global warming, probably one of the weaker anti-sprawl arguments (given the scientific uncertainties about (a) how much global warming exists, (b) how much global warming has to do with human-generated air pollution, (c) how much of that pollution is related to driving, and (d) how much of that driving is related to sprawl). Nivola barely addresses the social justice issues surrounding sprawl: he virtually ignores the strongest anti-sprawl argument, the toll taken on the carless poor and disabled.
In fact, Nivola even defends the social injustices wrought by sprawl, arguing that municipalities have a right to exclude the poor (even though only Congress has the power to exclude immigrants). He inexplicably quotes Plato to support his view that rich and poor should be segregated into separate cities, even though Plato actually criticized great inequalities of wealth.
Some of the possible alternatives for better city management hit me as a tad bit too idealistic and I felt Nivola's novel was written more from a European point-of-view as opposed to an American realist. Case in point is just convincing the American public which has grown up since birth to seek the goal of a nice suburban house and car to suddenly switch to the inner-city. But as I mentioned earlier, agree or disagree, it's an interesting book that provides an excellent overview of suburban/urban policies considering it is a fast and short read. The section on government subsidization policies that have contributed to urban sprawl is a definite read.