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Sprawl, Justice, and Citizenship: The Civic Costs of the American Way of Life download epub

by Thad Williamson


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Thad Williamson’s book analyzing urban sprawl is a triumph of content over form.

Thad Williamson’s book analyzing urban sprawl is a triumph of content over form. It is an analysis of urban policy that utilizes a fluid and sophisticated understanding of political.

Sprawl, Justice, and Citizenship will not only be the most comprehensive work in print on the subject, it will bethe first to offer a empirically rigorous critique of the most popular form of living in America today. Must the strip mall and the eight-lane highway define twentyfirst-century . life? the possibility that they might is depressing to many concerned Americans.

Thad Williamson's book analyzing urban sprawl is a triumph of content over form. He is co-winner of the American Political Science Association's Harold Lasswell Award for best dissertation in public policy in 2004, and lead co-author of Making a Place for Community. A definitive analysis of sprawl that should be widely read by urbanists of all stripes. -Contemporary Sociology.

Americans find many of the more substantial criticisms of sprawl easy to ignore because they often come across as. .Yet, while he highlights the deleterious effects of sprawl on civic life in America, he is also evenhanded.

Americans find many of the more substantial criticisms of sprawl easy to ignore because they often come across as snobbish in tone. Yet as Thad Williamson explains, sprawl does create real, measurable social problems. Utilizing a landmark 30,000-person survey, he shows that sprawl fosters civic disengagement, accentuates inequality, and negatively impacts the environment.

Williamson Thad (EN). Must the strip mall and the eight-lane highway define 21st century American life? That is a central question posed by critics of suburban and exurban living in America. Yet despite the ubiquity of the critique, it never sticks-Americans by the scores of millions have willingly moved into sprawling developments over the past few decades. Americans find many of the more substantial criticisms of sprawl easy to ignore because they often come across as snobbish in tone.

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Sprawl, justice, and citizenship. the civic costs of the American way of life. Introduction : sprawl as a moral issue. Defining, explaining, and measuring sprawl. Counting costs and benefits : is sprawl efficient? Do people like sprawl (and so what if they do?) Is sprawl fair?

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Must the strip mall and the eight-lane highway define 21st century American life? . and Citizenship: The Civic Costs Of The American Way Of Life.

Sprawl, Justice, and Citizenship: The Civic Costs Of The American Way Of Life.

Must the strip mall and the eight-lane highway define 21st century American life? That is a central question posed by critics of suburban and exurban living in America. Yet despite the ubiquity of the critique, it never sticks-Americans by the scores of millions have willingly moved into sprawling developments over the past few decades. Americans find many of the more substantial criticisms of sprawl easy to ignore because they often come across as snobbish in tone. Yet as Thad Williamson explains, sprawl does create real, measurable social problems. Utilizing a landmark 30,000-person survey, he shows that sprawl fosters civic disengagement, accentuates inequality, and negatively impacts the environment. Yet, while he highlights the deleterious effects of sprawl on civic life in America, he is also evenhanded. He does not dismiss the pastoral, homeowning ideal that is at the root of sprawl, and is sympathetic to the vast numbers of Americans who very clearly prefer it. Sprawl, Justice, and Citizenship is not only be the most comprehensive work in print on the subject, it will be the first to offer an empirically rigorous critique of the most popular form of living in America today.

Comments: (3)

Saimath
Prompt delivery, nice goods. Thanks.
Umor
This book makes two intertwined arguments: one suggesting that sprawl may be good for suburbanites (based on a survey of 30,000 Americans living in a wide variety of places) and another suggesting that even if sprawl is good for suburbanites, it might not be good for society as a whole.

The survey data addresses three clusters of issues: overall happiness, social trust, and political engagement. As to the first, residents of low-density, vehicle-dependent suburbs appear to have higher self-reported levels of happiness than urbanites (not surprisingly given that many urbanites live in crime-ridden, low-income neighborhoods). But when affluence and a variety of other factors are controlled for, this relationship disappears (at least according to Williamson). On the other hand, suburbanites trust their neighbors more than urbanites even when affluence is controlled for. But this claim, even if true, doesn't prove very much. It seems to me quite natural that residents of socially homogenous suburbs will trust each other more than residents of more diverse urban environments. But is this higher level of trust balanced out by lower levels of trust towards people of different races/classes/neighborhoods? If so, suburbanites are not as well off as Williamson thinks. Finally, the survey addresses political participation: although suburbanites vote as often as urbanites, they are less likely (controlling for affluence, etc.) to engage in higher-intensity political participation.

Williamson's use of surveys, though quite interesting, suffers from one significant defect: although he provides readers with regression tables, he does not explain his raw data in terms accessible to nonprofessionals. What does it mean, for example, that factor X has a .209 relationship with political participation, while factor Y has a .594 relationship? Perhaps because Williamson assumed he was writing for an audience of political scientists, he does not explain these issues in any way that I could understand.

He then addresses the justice of sprawl, primarily (though not solely) from two points of view: leftist egalitarianism and civic republicanism. From an egalitarian perspective, one's opportunities should not be affected by accidents of geography. Thus, sprawl is unjust because it reduces the level of opportunities open to carless city residents, who live far away from new suburban jobs, cannot reach those jobs due to inadequate public transit, and have worse public services because they live in cities with no tax base. And because residents of sprawl tend to be less supportive of redistributionist politics, sprawl ensures that these problems will never be remedied. (Williamson should have addressed whether city/suburb mergers, such as Jacksonville's annexation of hundreds of square miles of suburbia, remedy these defects).

Williamson is more interested in civic republicanism - the theory that political participation in itself makes us more fully human. From this perspective, sprawl fails because residents of sprawl tend to be less politically involved.

But Williamson's views are unlikely to be persuasive to anybody to the right of, say, Dennis Kucinich. Most Americans mix libertarianism and utilitarianism, and thus are unlikely to place either equal opportunity or political participation as among their highest priorities.
Hurus
This book examines "sprawl" empirically, comparing the results of a massive survey to different political ideologies (utilitarian, libertarian, and civic republican). Williamson is relatively accessible while retaining high academic standards, and his findings are illuminating, giving a grounded and reasonable critique of sprawl that should appeal to a broad political spectrum. I cannot recommend this book highly enough to students of urban geography, environmental studies, or political science, and hope that students from other fields could find the time to give Williamson's book a try.
Sprawl, Justice, and Citizenship: The Civic Costs of the American Way of Life download epub
Social Sciences
Author: Thad Williamson
ISBN: 0195369432
Category: Other
Subcategory: Social Sciences
Language: English
Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (May 12, 2010)
Pages: 416 pages