The End of the Suburbs by Leigh Gallagher
The End of the Suburbs is a new book from Leigh Gallagher, assistant Managing Editor at Fortune Magazine, that bluntly assesses the future of suburbia. Gallagher says it's over; at least in the form it's taken for the last 50 years. She marshals demographic and consumer preference data in a driving narrative demonstrating that the large lot, separately-zoned and auto-centric suburb is doomed. Gallagher describes the success that tract housing giant Toll Brothers has had by incorporating urban infill into its product mix. She also cites CNU member John McLinden's successful suburban retro fit in Libertyville, Illinois and Sam Sherman's work in Philadelphia. Gallagher sees the comprehensive nature of market change exemplified in the way that Target and many of the other Big Boxers are embracing urbanism.
"Retailers," writes Gallagher, "experts when it comes to following moneyed consumers wherever they go, are all over this: hardly any new suburban shopping malls have been built since 2006, and big-box chains are packing up, slimming down, and squeezing smaller versions of themselves into denser communities."
The End of the Suburbs will be on sale August 1st. I secured an early review copy, and it reads crisp and fast at 210 pages and is packed with useful facts from researchers like Arthur Nelson and Chris Leinberger. New urbanists are featured throughout the book, including Chuck Marohn and his description of the sprawl-based Ponzi Scheme. Andrés Duany is featured throughout, and writes on the back cover that the book is "...the most convincing book yet on the lifestyle changes coming to our immediate future."
If you buy the book, I have a suggestion for you. After you read it, give it to your local mayor or council member. Local officials need to learn that walkable communities perform well in the market and generate the tax base that so many municipalities desperately need to pay for basic services. This book is poised to be a bestseller - it's probably the first book about new urbanism available at Walmart stores. So I encourage CNU members and friends to embrace The End of the Suburbs and use it in your advocacy efforts.
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