Book Review: The Cul-De-Sac Syndrome by John F. Wasik

Author: John F. Wasik
Title: The Cul-De-Sac Syndrome
Publication Info: New York : Bloomberg Press, c2009.
ISBN: 9781576603208


A new and timely book explores the housing crisis that has contributed to worldwide economic collapse over the past year.  Wasik deals out a fair share of blame to Wall Street, banks, home buyers, and governments, but chalks up the main problem to the unsustainable nature of larger houses being built in ever-increasing numbers at greater distances from the urban core.  The whole lifestyle of such homes is destructive to people’s health and happiness, the earth, and our bank accounts.  Much of the first part of the book is nothing new to anyone who has read anything about the destructive nature of suburbia and sprawl.  The second part of the book is more interesting where Wasik describes some innovative ways of sustainable development, starting with how houses are constructed and reclaiming cities and near suburbs (while eschewing so-called “green” buildings).  It’s an interesting overview with some good ideas but it feels a bit rushed an incomplete.  Granted though it is a continuing story.  Hopefully Wasik will be able to add a happy coda to future editions.

Recommended books: The Death and Life of Great American Cities by Jane Jacobs; Asphalt Nation: How the Automobile Took Over America and How We Can Take It Back by Jane Holtz Kay
Rating: ** 1/2

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