July 7, 2004

A Field Guide To Sprawl

"I was struggling for words to describe places like Tysons Corner," Yale Professor Dolores Hayden told the New York Times, referring to the Virginia suburb's sprawl. "If you don't know what to call something, you don't know how to criticize it."

That, the Times explains, helped spark work on her new book to be published next month, A Field Guide To Sprawl.

"In addition to naming names, Hayden critiques a landscape based on unrestrained growth, one, she writes, championed by federal policies since the 1920s," according to the Times. "The idea for a field guide grew out of Hayden's own frustration as a scholar and a citizen. . . .[She] wound up serving on a citizens advisory committee examining encroaching development" in Guilford, Conn.

The town is "a very typical battleground for preserving the sense of place," she told the Times. Yet the town's zoning code "was so convoluted nobody could read it. After a while I got to see that a lot of it was designed to frustrate discussion rather than enable it."

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