I should probably come clean and say that the phenomenom known as urban sprawl is a fairly new thing to me. I first learned of the actual term and what it was at the House of Art (Kunsthaus) in Graz, Austria about 18 months ago. I don’t know what kind of problems Austria has with sprawl, but it turns out that the United States has been enjoying(?) sprawl and its effects for some time now.
If you’re also just discovering sprawl, or looking to hone your already seasoned sprawl-spotting/identifying superpowers to a new level of precision, then be sure to check out perhaps the most accessible book on the subject: Dolores Hayden’s A Field Guide to Sprawl. The book was first published in 2004, but as of 2006 is now available in paperback, which should be good news for people, like myself, who love saving a couple of bucks, but who are rarely able to.
This book is a quick, enjoyable – at times amusing – read that identifies with beautiful color photos by Jim Wark the different types of sprawl, then gives a simple definition and explanation of what you’re looking at. After reading this book you will possess the necessary skills to then begin participating in the “Great American Pastime” known as Sprawl-Watching! Impress your friends with such sophisticated, high-brow terms as LULU, Ball Pork, Pod, and Boomburb. Believe me, they’ll be impressed – or not speak to you ever again. Either way, don’t miss noticing the wonderful, spreading world of sprawl.