Sprawl: A Compact History


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He makes a compelling case that in many cultures it is affluence, with its resulting expansion of available dwelling choices, that leads to peripheral urban expansion. So why, he asks, is it so odd to assume that similar choices would not be taken advantage of in the modern era, once resources and technologies made it possible, first by members of the merchant and business classes and finally by you and me?

Some anthropologists even theorize that humanity is biologically wired to thrive in, or be attracted to, smaller social groupings and natural settings, rather than enormous congregations of population. He would like to detoxify the term, and in part does so by accounting for its various definitions, meanings that shift across time and across perspectives on suburbanization.

And he points out that such mental associations still exist, and continue to support the sprawling instinct. The first six chapters Bruegmann uses to establish his position, outlining the difficulties of defining sprawl exactly, reviewing its many causes, challenging some of the accusations made by opponents, and offering examples of its persistence across urban history.

Thus, he methodically defends sprawl against the common supposition that it is unique to our time. The next four chapters are dedicated to a series of anti-sprawl campaigns over time. The final three chapters are devoted to what he terms remedies for sprawl, and he points out their very limited success.

On these pages he rightly notes the inevitability of winners and losers from any substantial efforts to control land use and urbanization. He notes that the overall density of the Portland metro area is significantly lower than that of Los Angeles, the longstanding poster child for uncontrolled sprawl.

And he worries, as others recently have, about various inequities that may have been inadvertent consequences of land-use policies, such as the rapid increase in land values—or the decline in transit usage following the switch from bus lines to light rail systems, a move that actually reduced the percentage of the population with convenient access to transit. And the cumulative burden upon the environment of pervasive urban sprawl cannot be wished away by its popular appeal. There is a not insignificant problem of multiplication that Bruegmann chooses to ignore. In turn, Gertler links this decline to an expansion of non-European customers who in turn operate under different assumptions about how these machines should be used.

In Chapter 6, Gertler sifts and sorts debates about tacit knowledge, codifiable knowledge, and their alleged geographies before reinterpreting the data in Chapters 3, 4, and 5 through a conceptual framework building on the works of Karl and Michael Polyani. Chapter 7 critiques claims that national industrial systems are converging in a world of falling transportation and communication barriers, and roots this critique in the realization that learning is the heart of the competitive dynamic although one might argue that a more generalized urge to accumulate underpins this particular motivation to learn.

Chapters 6 and 7 provide rich conceptual frameworks but provide no testable hypotheses, and I wonder if any of these highly theorized processes can be tested. While I think it is possible to study these processes, perhaps using ethnographic techniques, some suggestions on how to proceed here would contribute additional value added to the debate.

Overall, this book has three strengths. Midwest and southern manufacturing regions; and southwestern Germany. As such, it provides a model for how to conduct similar cross-national studies. Chapters 3, 4, and 5 provide excellent examples of mixed methods research in economic geography and a clear model for other scholars of economic development to emulate and innovate upon.

Second, it demonstrates how to use longitudinal qualitative case studies embedded within a largesse of data collected from numerous contexts as part of a larger research project. Third, it provides a clearly theorized regional political economy account of how institutions operate and shape path-dependent development. Likewise, the collection contains three weaknesses.

The biggest is that the literature reviews tend to reflect the times in which they were written: some chapters do not incorporate literature from later than Optimally, the research would have been updated to deal with any changes in the literature. Second, an even more transparent methodology would allow other researchers to extend data collection and ask the same research questions in different national or regional contexts, thereby making further cross- national comparisons possible. Finally, the book could use a concluding chapter. In summary, each chapter stands on its own, in part reflecting the fact that most of the chapters were previously published as articles—although this is a criticism, it is a criticism that should be leveled more widely throughout economic geography and not just at Pro- fessor Gertler.

Still, this book is worth owning and would be useful for teaching graduates and advanced undergraduates because of its clear examples that in turn are linked back to a very coherent and detailed conceptual framework. Savoie, Toronto: University of Toronto Press. ISBN He has had a long and distin- guished career in public service as a high-ranking civil servant in the Canadian government and continues to act as an adviser to provincial premiers and federal prime ministers.

Donald Savoie is also a passionate Maritimer, deeply concerned with the future of his region within Canada. Savoie seeks to explain why his region, the three Maritime Provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island, have historically been left behind, compared to the rest of Canada. The Maritimes continue to lag behind the rest of the nation, although their relative position has improved over the last four decades.

Why have the Maritimes lagged behind?

Urban Sprawl and Compact Cities

As befits an author whose training and experience lie in political science and public administration, Savoie sees the roots of the problem in politics. Savoie, like many Maritmers, feels that the region was dealt a raw deal at the time of Confederation Lacking a U. In this game, the Maritimes are necessar- ily losers. The thesis that the Maritimes were ill-served by the Confederation and that they were and still are a victim of politics is by no means new.

This is a recurrent theme in the great Canadian regional policy debate. The Maritimes are not alone. Every Canadian region has its list of historical grievances in which Ottawa is almost always the villain. Regional griping is quintessentially Canadian. Perhaps this is what makes our nation both so lovable and so difficult for outsiders to grasp. We adore debating the faults of our constitution and our regional relationships. How could it be otherwise in such a geographically absurd nation with two languages and six time zones?

We Quebecers have developed Ottawa-bashing into a national art form. Blaming the East or Central Canada as it is also called is a must for any westerner worth his salt. There are even recent noises that oil-rich Alberta is thinking of seceding. And even Ontario seems to have gotten into the act recently with its premier complaining that it is getting a bad fiscal deal from Ottawa.

Something must be right in a nation where everybody seems to think they are getting a raw deal.

Harvard Design Magazine: Sprawl: A Compact History by Robert Bruegmann

Savoie puts the Maritime case very convincingly. His recurrent argument, however, almost always comes back to politics. This is not his cup of tea, and he has no compunctions about saying so. This is not a book about regional economics. Thus, the book does not seek provide an analysis of the Maritime economy, its industrial structure and economic geography.

For the author, these are seemingly secondary matters. What matters for Savoie in the end are power relationships and public policy. The reader will have guessed that the Maritimes are the small dogs, stuck in the same pen with the Big Digs. The chief strength of the book lies in the descriptions of the application and the daily politics of Canadian regional development policies from the first timid steps in the s to the present day. Savoie is an insider and it shows. He knows what he is writing about. This is not an altogether happy tale. Four chapters 4 to 7 are dedicated to telling it. Non-Canadians can be forgiven for getting lost in this bureaucratic maze.

These policy chapters do, however, provide a useful lesson, which goes well beyond the purely Canadian case. It is almost impossible in a parliamentary type democracy to long sustain a policy that openly favours a specific region i. Politics will simply not allow it.

Sprawl : a compact history / Robert Bruegmann

As MPs represent constituencies, whose interests they defend, political compromise and give- and-take require that each constituency has its turn at the trough. In Canada, as elsewhere, this has been the undoing, in the end, of many regionally directed development programmes. Savoie does a superb job of portraying the inner workings of the Ottawa bureaucracy, although the reader might be forgiven for suspecting that he has somewhat overstated his case.

But then perhaps this is the way the game is played. Savoie should know. Even paranoiacs have enemies, as someone once said. He basically argues in favour of more flexible wage rates and labour markets. If the Maritimes are to be competitive, given their location disadvantage in North America, they must offer a compensating cost advantage. Were they an independent nation, they could devalue their currency, but this is not an option. Ergo, wages must be allowed to fall or at least become more responsive to market conditions if the Maritime economy is to create sufficient jobs in the future.

Savoie correspondingly argues in favour of regionally modulated wages for federal civil servants and for changes in the current unemployment insurance programme, introducing greater incentives to work. From a strictly economic perspective, it is difficult to find fault with this line of reasoning. But are such prescriptions politically feasible?

Elections have been lost for less. But, that a politically savvy observer like Savoie should propose this path may mean that times have changed. This was also an inexhaustible source of office humour. Garrison and David M. The Transportation Experience first took shape as an organizing theme and series of notes used in courses taught by William Garrison, Professor Emeritus of Civil and Envi- ronmental Engineering, at the University of California, Berkeley.

Together, Garrison and Levinson have undertaken a work of monumental scope, drafting complex connections across modes, documenting the qualities of mature systems, and suggesting approaches to improving current conditions. Each part of the book begins with a useful and brief summary of its contents.

The preface is also of interest, with Garrison making an appeal for academic innovation, suggesting that the interdisciplinary quality of transport merits the creation of a separate discipline. The Transportation Experience begins with unique views on policy, planning, deploy- ment, and management. The authors then discuss the origins, cycles of development, and key policy issues associated with the various modes of transport.


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Each chapter typically closes with a re-tracing of modal histories and thoughtful discussion of future prospects. Throughout the book, profiles e. As is often the case with any scholarly work of this scope, exclusions are inevitable. With this in mind, The Transportation Experience stresses transport supply, and travel demand in the aggregate, giving less attention to microscopic behavioral response to policy and supply-side adjustments.

Exceptions include discussions surrounding the value of time Chapter 22 , where attention is given briefly to induced demand, and the varied impacts of information and communication technologies ICT. In Chapter 19, where focus turns toward energy and the environment, emphasis is placed on the interface between technology, energy, and the environment. Popular views and policy tools targeting fleet characteristics, auto-use, and sustainability are also discussed.

“Sprawl, A Compact History”: The Liveblog, part 1

Observations concerning relationships between urban form, transport, energy, and the environment e. Never- theless, the authors draw attention to critical issues e. Evidence of similar research can be found in Canada, Europe, South America, and elsewhere e.

web.difccourts.ae/qu-dice-el-caballo-cuando-establecemos-los-lmites.php In the end, the reader is left to sort out how these recent activities fit within and shape the contemporary transportation experience. In the final analysis, The Transportation Experience: Policy, Planning, and Deployment is an exceptional text, crafted by two scholars who have made important and varied contributions to the study and practice of transportation.

Garrison in particular is widely recognized for his role in shaping the study of transportation across disciplines Black The Transportation Experience is essential reading for students and professional scholars with interests in transportation and planning. Ronald N. Kanaroglou, and E. Urban form, energy and the environment: A review of issues, evidence and policy. Urban Studies 7— Black, W. Transportation: A geographical analysis. New York: The Guilford Press. Miller, E.

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