Looking for the City on Its Edges
Publication date 5/6/2006
6 x 9 inches (15.2 x 22.9 cm), Paperback
176 pages, 50 b/w illustrations
Rights: World English;
Carton qty: 36;
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Sprawl. The word calls to mind a host of troublesome issues such as city flight, runaway suburban development, and the conversion of farmland to soulless housing developments. In Sprawltown, architectural historian Richard Ingersoll makes the surprising claim that sprawl is an inevitable reality of modern life that should be addressed more thoughtfully and recognized as its own new form of urbanism rather than simply being criticized and condemned.
In five thought-provoking chapters, covering topics such as tourism, film, and the automobile, Ingersoll takes the position that any solution to the problems of sprawl--including pressing issues like resource use and energy waste--must take into consideration its undeniable success as a social milieu. No screed against the suburb, this book offers a more sophisticated and nuanced view of the way we think about its rapid development and growth.
Richard Ingersoll teaches architectural history and urban design at Syracuse University in Florence and the Facolta di Architettura in Ferrara.
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"Finding order in disorder . . . (Ingersoll) attributes a kind of cinematic order to the disjointed ugliness of sprawl. It's an order 'composed of long shots, closeups, pans, tracking shots, and, above all, the accelerated montage of jump cuts.'"
The Architect's Newspaper:
"For Ingersoll, sprawl is as much a state of mind or form of life as it is a settlement pattern. . . .Although he doesn't come out and say it specifically, his astute analyses all point to the same conclusion: New Urbanist and Smart Growth tactics meant to combat the spread of sprawl are both very much a part of the process of commercialization and privatization at its core. "
"Lauding the car's purpose as the equivalent of a cinematic jump cut--a means of condensing distance, chronologically, geographically and narratively--Ingersoll is nearly giddy as he enthuses about Godard and Hitchcock, urban visionaries of a different sort whose films frequently move from one scene to another with great rapidity, like a car moving from point A to point B. . . . But it's more for his ingenuity that Ingersoll should be feted, for his questing spirit to find answers where answers are needed -- specificaly, in how we see things, or should try to, in lieu of sprawl."
"Acknowledging that sprawl banishes the idea of belonging to a civic whole, and usually takes ugly forms, Ingersoll the optimist accepts sprawl as a challenge. In time, he believes, it might define a 'new type of urban beauty, a new bond of citizenship, and a new sustainability.'"
"For a city dweller, the opening page of Ingersoll's inquiry into the nature of sprawl will either be cringe-worthy or woefully germane. . .Ingersoll condemns the tendency for people to simply throw their hands up in despair, and advocates a more thoughtful approach to dealing with sprawl."
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