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

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Oxford University Press, May 12, 2010 - Political Science - 416 pages
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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.

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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? Liberal Egalitarianism and Sprawl
Liberal Egalitarianism in a CuldeSac? Sprawl Liberal Virtue and Social Solidarity
Sprawl Civic Virtue and the Political Economy of Citizenship
You Cant March on a Strip Mall Sprawl and Political Disengagement
Sprawl the Environment and Climate Change
Reforming Sprawl and Beyond

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About the author (2010)

Thad Williamson is Assistant Professor of Leadership Studies and Political Science at the University of Richmond. 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.

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