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War on the Dream: How Anti-Sprawl Policy Threatens the Quality of Life 0th Edition

2.7 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0595399482
ISBN-10: 0595399487
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Wendell Cox is an international demographic, urban policy, and transport consultant. He is a visiting professor at the Conservatoire National des Arts et Metiers in Paris and served terms on the Los Angeles County Transportation Commission and the Amtrak Reform Council. Cox lives in the metropolitan St. Louis area.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 280 pages
  • Publisher: iUniverse, Inc. (November 3, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0595399487
  • ISBN-13: 978-0595399482
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #473,929 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
One of the many errors in this book is the ignorance of the health and environmental costs of a commuter culture. Not only does it feed climate change, but when people live so far from jobs and grocery stores that they have to drive everywhere, they get very little exercise. Look at the far greater health of cities like Copenhagen, Minneapolis, and Portland, where people bike (MOST people bike or walk to work). Denser urban development and protection of rich farm land from concretization, with protected nearby green spaces to walk and run in…these are much healthier places to live, they have far less air pollution (and less respiratory disease and asthma, less cancer from automobile emissions, and more time spent with their families instead of tense driving. It certainly takes parks and greens pace to make dense urban living a pleasure, but in dense cities one also has museums and architecture, lectures, and other stimulating activities that keep the mind and imagination alive. The remaining air pollution problems of cities are caused mostly by the suburban commuters who insist on single vehicle driving, rather than taking the train and reading, then walking from the station to work.
We've learned a lot since the 1950s. But the author of this book hasn't. And one wonders if he is on the payroll of the oil industry, the highway lobby, etc. Urban sprawl is simply not sustainable, and the sooner we learn that, the better.
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Format: Paperback
Its really unfortunate that people are looking to this book for advice.

Cox fails to see that the quality of life in the suburbs is only good for those that can afford it. The middle, lower-middle, and lower class struggle to make ends meet in the suburbs. Ask any real estate investor and they will tell you that the majority of the cheapest homes are the ones farthest from common daily amenities like schools, work, and places to shop.

This means that those looking to buy a home, and are not well off financially, or maybe they just started a family and money is tight, they will buy up the ones farthest away from those amenities. Sometimes it is hardly their choice whether they want to live that far away or not, it is only what they can "afford." The problem with this is that because they live so far from amenities, they must drive to get to them. This means more money from their pocket. The costs associated with owning a vehicle, or multiple vehicles, is only continuing to rise. We all can see the gas prices. We all know they have risen steadily for years. The price of gas coupled with maintenance, registrations, emissions, car accidents, and insurance add up very quickly.

Those of us that advocate for smart growth, new urbanism, neo-urbanism, whatever you want to call it, care about people. I truly care for others and I can see the suburban American dream is not for everyone. It used to be more affordable in the 70's and 80's. Now, many people struggle to have a life beyond paying for their car and a home. Also, our policies do not dictate removal of current suburbs, they will always exist. Those that can, and choose, to afford it can do so freely.

We encourage choice and opportunity.
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Format: Paperback
This book is a must read for anyone concerned about regulatory takings, private property rights, and social engineering. Mr. Cox provides hard data to answer the "but it looks pretty" arguments that plague current planning and zoning philosophy. I discovered his book while looking for answers after a proposed "Smart Growth" zoning ordinance in my Township threated my property thru regulatory takings. Mr. Cox's focus is on the true costs and economic realities too often ignored when our elected officials blindly follow the latest fads. The text is information heavy but definately worth the time and energy. It's like a crash corse in history, economics, social engineering, as it pertains to planning and zoning. This book will make you proud of where we come from and concerned about where we are going.
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As a planning student, I read this book to get a different view from the mainstream on how to meet the housing demands of the world's growing population. While the book is well researched, I generally found his arguments to be weak and/or flawed on many levels. The author advocates unending urban sprawl, while it is easy to demonstrate that unending sprawl is socially, economically and environmentally unsustainable. He also tries to develop an unhelpful fear campaign about higher density living. This book deserves to go in the recycle bin.
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