A blueprint for better communities

  • PROTECTEd: The Flatirons in Boulder, Colorado

    NRDC photo
  Westerners who are fed up with polluted water and air, strip malls that eat up open space, and automobile-dependent lifestyles can look to a new book by the Natural Resources Defense Council for guidance on how to counter the poorly planned patterns of growth we now know as urban sprawl.


In a series of 35 detailed case studies, Solving Sprawl describes how creative developers and designers collaborated to plan energy-efficient, close-knit cities and suburbs. Each study lists the major players involved and the "smart-growth" features of these communities: vibrant downtown centers, varied housing and transportation options, and amenities for people of all social stations.


One example highlighted in the book is the 19th-century Denver Dry Goods Building. Once a wreck, the rejuvenated brick building now houses popular retailers, the Visitors Bureau, affordable apartments, and posh condominiums.


The opening chapter identifies a common thread that unites the successful communities celebrated in the book; they share "a vision of where they want to go and of what things they value in their community." Solving Sprawl reaffirms that with compassion and careful planning, we can restore both fragmented lands and people.


Check out Solving Sprawl online at www.nrdc.org or call 212/727-4486 to order the 200-page book for $20.


You may also order the book on-line at www.islandpress.org/books/detail.tpl?command=search&db;=IslandPress.db&SKU;=1-893340-33-3.