Friday, February 08, 2008

To the Best of Our Knowledge: To Sprawl or Not To Sprawl

To the Best of Our Knowledge
Host: Steve Paulson
"To Sprawl or Not To Sprawl"

Subdivisions. Industrial Parks. Strip Malls. Gridlock. Sprawl is socially unequal, environmentally irresponsible, and aesthetically ugly. Right? In this hour of To the Best Of Our Knowledge, we'll look at the costs and – YES – the benefits of suburban sprawl. Because maybe, just maybe, sprawl is a good thing.


Joel Hirschhorn is the author of "Sprawl Kills: How Blandburbs. Steal Your Time, Health and Money." He obviously thinks urban sprawl is a terrible idea and tells Steve Paulson all the reasons why.


Robert Bruegmann makes the case for the opposite point of view in his book "Sprawl: A History." He says societies have always grown and ours looks the way it does because suburbs represent the way Americans like to live.

Also, urban sprawl is a staggering problem in China as a result of the on-going Chinese industrial revolution. Photographer Edward Burtynsky traveled to China to document its "Manufactured Landscapes," and film-maker Jennifer Baichwal documented his trip in her film of the same name. Baichwal talks with Steve Paulson about the scale of China's ecological problems and the beauty of Burtynsky's images.


Novelist Tom Perrotta reads from "Little Children" and "The Abstinence Teacher," and talks with Anne Strainchamps about life in the suburbs, where everything is nice, and nobody wants a pedophile to move into the neighborhood.

To Listen to the Episode

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