Book | Suburban Nation by Andres Duany

9780865477506

Duany, Andres, Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, and Jeff Speck. Suburban Nation: The Rise of Sprawl and the Decline of the American Dream. 10th anniversary ed. New York: North Point Press, 2010.

The Author

Andrés Duany (born September 7, 1949) is an American architect and urban planner.

Duany was born in New York City but grew up in Cuba until 1960.[1] He attended The Choate School (now Choate Rosemary Hall) and received his undergraduate degree in architecture and urban planning from Princeton University. After a year of study at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris, he received a master’s degree in architecture from the Yale School of Architecture.[1]

andres_duanyIn 1977, Duany was co-founder of the Miami firm Arquitectonica, with his wife, Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, Bernardo Fort-Brescia, Laurinda Hope Spear, and Hervin Romney. Arquitectonica became famous for its signature style, a dramatic, expressive ‘high tech’ modernism. The firm’s Atlantis Condominium was featured prominently in the opening credits of “Miami Vice.”

Duany and Plater-Zyberk founded Duany Plater Zyberk & Company (DPZ) in 1980, headquartered in Miami, Florida.[1] DPZ became a leader in the national movement called the New Urbanism, which seeks to end suburban sprawl and urban disinvestment. The firm first received international recognition in the 1980s as the designer of Seaside, Florida and Kentlands, Maryland, and has completed designs and codes for over two hundred new towns, regional plans, and community revitalization projects. At DPZ, Duany also led the development of comprehensive municipal zoning ordinances that prescribe appropriate urban arrangement for all uses and all densities.

Duany is a co-founder and emeritus board member of the Congress for the New Urbanism, established in 1993.[1] He has co-authored two books: “Suburban Nation: The Rise of Sprawl and the Decline of the American Dream” and “The New Civic Art.” Duany has worked as visiting professor at many institutions and holds two honorary doctorates.

He also helped design Cornell, a community in Markham, Ontario, Canada.

In 2001, he and Plater-Zyberk were awarded the Vincent Scully Prize by the National Building Museum in recognition of their contributions to the American built environment.[2]

He was featured in the Canadian documentary Radiant City (2006) on suburban sprawl.[1]

My Thoughts

Suburban Nation is designed to promote the propaganda and argument behind the Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU). This organization has a clearly defined picture of what urban planning should look like in metropolitan areas and what it should not. The CNU pits the virtues of the Traditional Neighborhood plan against the evils of the Suburban Sprawl. Suburban Nation is a one-sided argument that articulates the details of why Traditional Neighborhood plans are the preferred model and how they can be administered in the future.

Five components of sprawl:

  1. housing subdivisions
  2. Shopping centers
  3. office parks
  4. civic institutions
  5. roadways[2]

all things thing are divided through single-purpose zoning laws, thus making everyone dependent upon automobile transportation to get from one sector to the other. This is discriminating to non-drivers–the youth, the elderly, and those not able to afford a car in particular–making them unnecessarily dependent upon drivers.

This book is important for my research for two reasons:

1. It articulates a strong voice in the debate over metropolitics and the future of urban/suburban planning.

2. It makes some very important points about the need for communication, justice, and sustainability in city planning which I think are endemic to the doctrine of the Trinity and communicative rationality.

Some various reviews of this book:

http://urbantimes.co/magazine/2011/08/suburban-nation-book-review-a-classic-title-revisited/

http://www.fee.org/the_freeman/detail/suburban-nation-the-rise-of-sprawl-and-the-decline-of-the-american-dream-by-andres-duany-elizabeth-plater-zyberk-and-jeff-speck#axzz2bIXfYqvn

The following is the checklist for an ideal Neighborhood, according to the CNU:

 

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[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrés_Duany (accessed August 9, 2013)

[2] Andres Duany, Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, and Jeff Speck, Suburban Nation: The Rise of Sprawl and the Decline of the American Dream, 10th anniversary ed. (New York: North Point Press, 2010).