Sunday, January 4, 2009

Suburban Nation or Let Us Talk of Many Things

Suburban Nation: The Rise of Sprawl and the Decline of the American Dream

Author: Andres Duany

A manifesto by America's most controversial and celebrated town planners, proposing an alternative model for community design.

There is a growing movement in North America to put an end to suburban sprawl and to replace the automobile-based settlement patterns of the past fifty years with a return to more traditional planning principles. This movement stems not only from the realization that sprawl is ecologically and economically unsustainable but also from a growing awareness of sprawl's many victims: children, utterly dependent on parental transportation if they wish to escape the cul-de-sac; the elderly, warehoused in institutions once they lose their driver's licenses; the middle class, stuck in traffic for two or more hours each day.

Founders of the Congress for the New Urbanism, Andres Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk are at the forefront of this movement, and in Suburban Nation they assess sprawl's costs to society, be they ecological, economic, aesthetic, or social. It is a lively, thorough, critical lament, and an entertaining lesson on the distinctions between postwar suburbia-characterized by housing clusters, strip shopping centers, office parks, and parking lots-and the traditional neighborhoods that were built as a matter of course until mid-century. It is an indictment of the entire development community, including governments, for the fact that America no longer builds towns. Most important, though, it is that rare book that also offers solutions.

Publishers Weekly

Like "an architectural version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, our main streets and neighborhoods have been replaced by alien substitutes, similar but not the same," state Duany, Plater-Zyberk and Speck in this bold and damning critique. The authors, who lead a firm that has designed more than 200 new neighborhoods and community revitalization plans, challenge nearly half a century of widely accepted planning and building practices that have produced sprawling subdivisions, shopping centers and office parks connected by new highways. These practices, they contend, have not only destroyed the traditional concept of the neighborhood, but eroded such vital social values as equality, citizenship and personal safety. Further, they charge that current suburban developments are not only economically and environmentally "unsustainable," but "not functional" because they isolate and place undue burdens on at-home mothers, children, teens and the elderly. Adapting the precepts that famed urbanologist Jane Jacobs used to critique unhealthy city planning, Duany, Plater-Zyberk and Speck call for a revolution in suburban design that emphasizes neighborhoods in which homes, schools, commercial and municipal buildings would be integrated in pedestrian-accessible, safe and friendly settings. While occasionally presenting unsupported claims--such as that gated communities (of which there are now more than 20,000 in the U.S.) deprive children of gaining "a sense of empathy" in a diverse society--their visionary book holds out hope that we can create "places that are as valuable as the nature they displaced." (Mar.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|

Entertainment Weekly - Harlan

Lucidly detailing the environmental, aesthetic, and social costs of sprawl, the authors deliver a passionate, stylish manifesto on community quality of life.

WQ Magazine - Suzannah Lessard

Suburban Nation is a little like a New Urbanist town: smooth, adept, controlling in the way that tacitly excludes alternative views of reality.

What People Are Saying

Kurt Anderson
I usually find missionaries and visionaries tiresome, or scary. But the authors of this book are different. Their diagnosis of late-twentieth-century American ugliness is full-bore, but their prescriptions are nuanced and sensible. Their single-mindedness about what's right is tempered by a hard-earned knowledge of what's practical. They even have a sense of humor. Suburban Nation, as inspiring as it is useful, may be the best guide to reforming the free market ever published. It made me feel like a citizen again.
—Kurt Anderson, author of Turn of the Century

Witold Rybczynski
One does not have to agree with all the arguments in this impassioned critique of suburbia to admire-and learn from-the authors' proven commitment to improving our built environment. An important book by America's premier town planners.
—Witold Rybczynski, author of City Life and The Most Beautiful House in the World

Vincent Scully
Vincent Scully, Sterling Professor Emeritus of the History of Art, Yale University

A clear-eyed, closely reasoned description by its founders of the most important movement in American architecture and city making of this generation: the New Urbanism, based not upon the "nostalgia" for which it has been unjustly criticized but upon solid architectural, historical, and sociological analysis and hard common sense.

Richard Moe
Richard Moe, President, National Trust for Historic Preservation

For anyone interested in fighting sprawl and promoting smart growth, this important new book is essential reading. Andres Duany, Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, and Jeff Speck have put flesh on the bones of the New Urbanism movement and given much-needed impetus to the promise it holds for America.

Andrew Ross
The ideas set forth in this book amount to a revolution in design. They will be hailed or denounced; copied or spurned; realized or aborted. But they cannot be ignored, not if we care about the landscapes and localities where a majority of Americans now life.
—Andrew Ross, American Studies Program, New York University, and author of The Celebration Chronicles

James Howard Kunstler
A book of luminous intelligence and wit. The fiasco of suburbia has never been so clearly described. This is not just a manifesto on architecture and civic design but a major literary event.
— James Howard Kunstler, author of The Geography of Nowhere and Home from Nowhere

Robert A. M. Stern
Robert A. M. Stern, Dean, Yale School of Architecture

Suburban Nation is an essential text for our time, as compelling and important as Jane Jacob's The Death and Life of Great American Cities and Venturi, Brown, and Izenour's Learning from Las Vegas. This book is not only a passionately argued, carefully reasoned dissection of the mess that is becoming man-made America but also a clear program of steps that can be taken to enhance the humanity of both our suburbs and our cities while conserving our rapidly dwindling countryside. Everyone who cares about the future of our American way of life should read this book.

Andrew Cuomo
This book packs a powerful punch: The city of the future turns out to be the old neighborhood. Sprawl, the dominant pattern of the past, doesn't have to be the wave of the future. Whether or not you subscribe to all of its arguments, Suburban Nation draws attention to the need to radically re-think the way our cities grow- both in our inner cities and on the urban edge.

Joseph P. Jr., Riley
Joseph P. Riley, Jr., Mayor, City of Charleston

Neighborhoods, towns, and cities that make the heart sing; how do we create them? The answers can be found in this wonderful book.

Read also Modelling the Middle Ages or Understanding Consumption

Let Us Talk of Many Things: The Collected Speeches

Author: William F Buckley Jr

Let Us Talk of Many Things, first published in 2000, brings together Buckley’s finest speeches from throughout his career. Always deliciously provocative, they cover a vast range of topics: the end of the Cold War, manners in politics, the failure of the War on Drugs, the importance of winning the America’s Cup, and much else. Reissued with additional speeches, Let Us Talk of Many Things is the ideal gift for any serious conservative.

Library Journal

In his 74 years, Buckley has racked up a dazzling list of achievements: author of more than 30 novels and nonfiction works, founder of the National Review, host of the PBS series Firing Line, and syndicated columnist appearing in more than 300 newspapers. Add to that list well-paid public speaker for half a century. At his peak, Buckley delivered more than 70 lectures annually, and today he still gives about 20 lectures a year. Ninety-five speeches from his repertoire of 184 delivered between the 1950s and 1990s are reprised in this volume. For those well acquainted with Buckley's conservative views, there is little new to recommend this volume, except perhaps the brief introductory remarks that he has added before each speech. For true Buckley believers, however, any volume that bears his name is incentive enough. An optional purchase except for specialized collections in modern U.S. conservative thought and for libraries serving patrons hungry for more Buckley.--William D. Pederson, Louisiana State Univ., Shreveport Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

The Weekly Standard - Charles R. Kesler

Buckley's speeches are superbly readable. Full of argument, wit, and occasionally drama, they provide lessons for aspiring orators and speechwriters.

What People Are Saying

Peter Robinson
Peter Robinson, Hoover Institution

Let Us Talk of Many Things is an astonishing book. Each speech is completely, compellingly, wonderfully readable--every single one of them.

George Will
George Will

Since young Buckley took Yale to task almost 50 years ago, he has been taking the English language out for invigorating romps. As a result, his collected speeches are a high-spirited tour through the great controversies that have shaped both politics and culture. If you doubt that, or wonder why it is that Bill Buckley is the most consequential journalist and most skillful controversialist of our time, this delightful volume is for you. It is also for any reader who relishes wit in the service of moral convictions.

Ed Koch
Ed Koch

Reading Bill Buckley's collected speeches, which cover the last half of the 20th century, is an exhilarating experience. The cogency of his arguments and his delivery are so extraordinarily persuasive that if this collection is as widely read as it should be, it will cause havoc in liberal salons. This is one of the few books devoted to the thoughts of one person that will be read from cover to cover.

Walter Cronkite
Walter Cronkite

The book is perfect for either the bathroom or a desert island-either for a quick fix or the one book for a lifetime of isolation.

Andrew Ferguson
Andrew Ferguson, The Weekly Standard

In one of the speeches collected here, Bill Buckley instructs a class of eighteen-year-olds on their paramount responsibility-to enjoy yourself as you go. There lies the key to Buckley's extraordinary career, which like this book spans a half century (and counting), from pre-Korea to post-Lewinsky. Whether as novelist, editor, prose stylist, or public speaker, he always makes clear the pleasure he derives from intellectual engagement. The pleasure is infectious, and anyone who reads this exhilarating book will catch it too.

Charles Colson
Bill Buckley, master wordsmith, takes us on an enchanting journey through the years. Wonderful wit and wisdom, given in eloquent prose.

John Kenneth Galbraith
William Buckley does indeed talk here of many things, with deft mention of the many cabbages and kings that he has addressed politically over these years. As ever, sheer delight from humor and prose, whatever the political faith.

George Nash
Readers of all persuasions will read this splendid anthology for sheer pleasure. Wise historians will study it as an invaluable guide to the intellectual life of our times.

Milton Friedman
A remarkable and moving record of a passionate life devoted to the cause of freedom-a record not by a third party or based on recollection, but embedded in a cornucopia of eloquent, speeches capturing the spirit of the time.

Elliot Abrams
This is Buckley at his eloquent best-his patented combination of icy wit with a deeply serious intellectual analysis. In these speeches-which include everything from Buckley's Class Day Remarks at Yale in 1950, to eulogies, debates and commencement addresses-there emerges the history of social change and political upheaval in this half century. But this is no languorous look back, no mellow memoir: These entries were written and spoken in the heat of battle, and they show it. Ignoring the maxim de mortuis nihil nisi bonum, Buckley skewers two generations of frauds, mountebanks, fellow travelers, and just plain liberals. But you can't read just one. In fact, I bet you can't resist reading entry after entry aloud just for the sheer fun of it.

Table of Contents:
Notes from the Lecture Circuit: A New Yorker Essayxxi
The Fifties
Today We Are Educated Men: An address to fellow graduates3
The Trojan Horse of American Education?: A defense of private schools7
The Artist as Aggressor: On congressional investigations13
Only Five Thousand Communists?: Welcoming the House Committee on Un-American Activities to town16
Should Liberalism Be Repudiated?: Debating James Wechsler20
The Sixties
In the End, We Will Bury Him: Protesting Khrushchev's visit33
Scholar, Fighter, Westerner: Introducing Jacques Soustelle38
The Lonely Professor: Saluting O. Glenn Saxon41
An Island of Hope: Defending Taiwan's independence42
Norman Mailer and the American Right: A debate48
What Could We Learn from a Communist?: An appeal to the Yale Political Union58
Who Did Get Us into This Mess?: Debating Murray Kempton68
The Impending Defeat of Barry Goldwater: Off the record, to the Young Americans for Freedom74
A Growing Spirit of Resistance: To the New York Conservative Party78
The Free Society--What's That?: Applauding Henry Hazlitt85
Buckley versus Buckley: A self-interview, on running for mayor of New York88
The Heat of Mr. Truman's Kitchen: Celebrating National Review's tenth anniversary93
On Selling Books to Booksellers: Addressing the American Booksellers Association96
The Aimlessness of American Education: In defense of small colleges100
"You Have Seen Too Much in China": To a concerned organization108
The Duty of the Educated Catholic: To a high-school honors society112
Did You Kill Martin Luther King?: To the American Society of Newspaper Editors117
Life with a Meticulous Colleague: Saluting William A. Rusher123
On the Perspective of the Eighteen-Year-Old: To graduating high-school students128
Words to the Counterrevolutionary Young: Addressing the Young Americans for Freedom133
The Seventies
On the Well-Tempered Spirit: A commencement address145
Resolutely on the Side of Yale's Survival: At a twentieth reunion149
The Republic's Duty to Repress: To a conference of judges152
"That Man I Trust": Appreciating James L. Buckley163
The World That Lenin Shaped: On visiting Brezhnev's Soviet Union168
John Kerry's America: To the cadets of West Point179
The West Berlin of China: Upon Taiwan's expulsion from the United Nations184
Affection, Guidance, and Peanut Brittle: A special toast189
On Preserving the Tokens of Hope and Truth: Saluting Henry Regnery191
Without Marx or Jesus?: To the American Society of Newspaper Editors197
The "Leftwardmost Viable Candidate": Debating John Kenneth Galbraith202
The Terrible Sadness of Spiro Agnew: To the New York Conservative Party208
The High Cost of Mr. Nixon's Deceptions: To the New York Conservative Party211
On Serving in the United Nations: Testimony to a Senate committee213
No Dogs in China: At the National War College218
The Courage of Friedrich Hayek: Addressing the Mont Pelerin Society223
The Protracted Struggle against Cancer: To the American Cancer Society235
A Salutary Impatience: A commencement address238
Cold Water on the Spirit of Liberty: Replying to President Carter242
The Reckless Generosity of John Chamberlain: A tribute249
A Party for Henry Kissinger: A birthday toast252
What Americanism Seeks to Be: To the Young Republicans255
The Eighties
His Rhythms Were Not of This World: Remembering Allard Lowenstein261
The Rudolph Valentino of the Marketplace: Saluting Milton Friedman263
The Greatness of James Burnham: To a friend and mentor268
Halfway between Servility and Hostility: At a historic college272
Earl Warren and the Meaning of the Constitution: Addressing a class of future lawyers275
Sing a Song of Praise to Failure: At a graduate business school277
How Leo Cherne Spent Christmas: An introduction287
10 Downing Street: The Girls Club of Britain: A transatlantic salute290
Moral Distinctions and Modern Warfare: Parsing nuclear war292
Democracy and the Pursuit of Happiness: A commencement address301
The Genesis of Blackford Oakes: On the distinctively American male308
Waltzing at West 44th Street: An ode to the America's Cup316
The Blood of Our Fathers Ran Strong: Celebrating National Review's thirtieth anniversary320
The Distinguished Mr. Buckley: Introducing a best-selling novelist322
On Her Way to the Cross: Remembering Clare Boothe Luce324
Out of Oppression, a Political Poet: Introducing Vladimir Bukovsky329
The Massive Eminence of Dr. Sakharov: A salute332
Towards a Recovery of Gratitude: To the Intercollegiate Studies Institute334
A Hero of the Reagan Revolution: Applauding Jack Kemp337
The Pagan Love Song of Murray Kempton: An appreciation339
The Nineties
Dismantling the Evil Empire: On the end of the Soviet Union347
The Simon Persona: A tribute to a critic351
A Distinctive Gentility: Recollections of Yale353
Time to Go to Bed: A valedictory360
Taxation and the Rule of Law: Analyzing Reaganomics364
Can Eastern Europe Be Saved?: To the Philadelphia Society369
Singularly Humane: Introducing Aileen Mehle375
"If He Gives the Blessing...": A toast to Monsignor Eugene Clark378
We Won. What Now?: At the end of the Cold War380
The Politics of the Common Man: On modern political manners383
"Better Redwoods than Deadwoods": Encountering Arthur Schlesinger Jr.387
The Architectural Splendor of Barry Goldwater: A tribute389
From Wm to Wm: Remembering William F. Rickenbacker392
O. J. Simpson and Other Ills: Analyzing current concerns397
The Drug War Is Not Working: To the New York City Bar Association404
Let Us Now Praise Famous Men: To the twelfth International Churchill Conference409
The Underperformance of the Press: The Theodore H. White Memorial Lecture416
The Mother Hen of Modern Conservatism: Introducing Lady Thatcher426
Who Cares If Homer Nodded?: To the graduating class429
How to Work, How to Read, How to Love: Remembering Richard Clurman434
A Serene Gravity: Acknowledging Walter Cronkite435
The Special Responsibility of Conservatives: To the International Conservative Congress437
The Personal Grace of J. K. Galbraith: A birthday tribute443
A Man Who Looks the Beggar in the Face: Saluting William E. Simon445
Forgiving the Unforgivable: On President Clinton's problem447
The Animating Indiscretions of Ronald Reagan: A birthday tribute457
Preserving the Heritage: On the Heritage Foundation's twenty-fifth anniversary464

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